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September 21, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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September 21, 2011

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Page 12 0 • • • Westbrook native Linda Clayton plays a big part in the Minnesota Renaissance Festival near Shakopee By Tam Merchant Sentinel Tribune SPECIAL Imagine you are a serf, peas- ant, or a noble person living between the four- teenth and seventeenth century in Europe. Being able to watch the pageantry of royalty including long bow and jousting events put on for the royalty of the time. Well for seven weekends starting August 20 through October second, Westbrook native Linda Clayton takes part in the annual festival as one of the main characters. Clayton's current character is Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, Countess of New Castle. She plays the Renaissance queen and is in the Linda Clayton as Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, greets her loyal subjects with King Henry at Fair event. Submitted photo. a recent with the King and Queen, and is in fact so talented she could paint blindfolded.., unfortunately for her she sometimes fell opening asleep while painting. Clayton said, "she really wasn't very ceremonies good at it" painting. each day of the"Doing the queen character is really fun," said Clayton. ........ ~ festival. She plays "The kids think I am a real queen I give them special her part opposite of coins which we have minted especially for the Renaissance King Henry who is In order to get the coin I make them promise they will played by John Behr of Minneapolis. always believe in themselves, and that they can do anything This is her third year if they believe in themselves." playing the queens part. Before As one of the 300 street characters she is paid for the that she played an insane painter, seven weekends in early fall. "If you break it down it proba- Antonia, who painted what she saw, bly is less than minimum wage," she chuckled. argued with her bird Arabella, had tea "We pay for our own costumes there is a lot of care to keep them clean and neat. Before each show she needs help dressing, it takes about 35 minutes to get all of the compo- nents on and cinched up in a corset," she said. Clayton said the economy has affected attendance some this year, but she noted that families can save money by packing their own lunch and eating it in the parking lot. Otherwise there is lots of food vendors selling all types of food. She said the prices are quite reasonable. The opening and closing of the fair is signified by cannon fire. She said, "I got to fire the cannon one time. Sometimes it is loud enough to set off car alarms, it's a lot of tim." During the day we do a Knighting ceremony for the kids, both boys and girls can participate. "I really enjoy being able to empower the kids -- because they really believe you can see the sparkle in their eyes when you talk to them" she said. Clayton learned through a class- mate, Jackie Fallen Klasse, of Monticello, Countess of Newcastle that a 17 year girl from that area has ter- Renaissance minal cancer. She (Clayton) learned that the girl had started a "bucket list" and wanted to attend the Renaissance. So she (Clayton) and her fellow characters let her be queen for a day at the festival Saturday, September 17. "We hope we made it a very special weekend for her," said Clayton. The Renaissance continues the following two weekends. It is held rain or shine Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The festival offers something for almost every- one regardless of age. If you have not been to the Renaissance before, it is something you really must do at least once. Who knows someday you might be King or Queen. It happened for Clayton. 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