I guess I should have expected this, actually. What with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe right now, and our Governor here in Oregon (Kate Brown) being one to act on the side of extreme caution, I pretty much expected our RenFaire season in Oregon to quickly get cancelled.
Well, it finally happened. All large gatherings in Oregon, including Renaissance Faires and related events, have been cancelled through September 2020, by order of the Governor.
Now then, My Lovely Bride™ and I weren’t planning to attend any such events in person this year, as we both have pre-existing conditions that would make catching this particular plague very, very bad for our health. Instead, we made sure to spend money with our favorite vendors already, and will hopefully see them all again in 2021!
But the problem is that this could be devastating to the survival of certain events, let alone many of the businesses that depend upon these festivals. I’ve mentioned before how these vendors need our financial support, but so do the performers and artists, and when it comes right down to it, the event owners do, too!
While there are ways to support the vendors for these events via online purchases, it gets a bit more difficult to help out performers and artists, unless they can find a venue to perform online, such as Twitch or YouTube, while being large enough to earn any money that way.
But what about the events themselves? I know that many may have “rainy day” funds to help them weather this particular storm, but others most certainly do not. Some that were already in a precarious financial position before the plague hit, may certainly be forced to close permanently by this forced cancellation.
“But why can’t they just postpone until later in the year?”
Simple: This is the Pacific Northwest. Of all the many things people know about this portion of the US, the #1 feature has to be our trees. We are pretty much known for being covered in lush, temperate forests. But shortly behind that, at a close #2, would be our weather.
It rains here. A lot.
Rain itself won’t ruin a Faire, especially not one of our Faires, because everyone is used to it. But there’s a difference between relatively warm weather with occasional rain, which we get from mid-Spring through early Autumn. But after September ends, the weather becomes much more unpredictable, not to mention colder. This makes running a Faire from October onward very difficult.
Couple in the encroaching holidays at the end of the year, and it quickly becomes mostly impossible to postpone an event past September. So basically, the RenFaire (and related events) season, is over here in Oregon. Some events may still happen in other nearby states, such as Washington or California, but I frankly doubt it, at this point.
I feel for my friends who can only sit and watch, as their livelihood is devastated. I understand why this cancellation had to happen, but that won’t pay the bills for people who now have near to, or no income at all for the rest of the year.
Anyway, if you have the means, and are a fan of events like these, please look online and see what you can do to help. Buy from Faire vendors. Tip performers who are working on Twitch or YouTube, or join their Patreon, if they have one. And although it may not be enough, commit to supporting as many Faires as you can, once they are allowed to open again.