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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Pleasure Faire: 1972

Pleasure Faire: 1972

A lusty moment during the Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire at Black Point Forest in Novato, California that I caught on 35mm Ektachrome. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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History of Eyeglasses.

Spectacles were invented in Italy in 1284, considerably prior to the Renaissance, the period (more or less) represented at a Renaissance Faire, which was actually post-medieval. The glasses appear to be reasonably period correct - wrist watches are another faux pas to be guarded against at such affairs. (Ben Franklin is credited with the invention of bifocal lenses, a century or two later).

Re: Spectacles!

That's probably true and it looks like they're getting steamed-up.


After being able to refocus my gaze (it took me a while) I noticed the fellow on the left is sporting a pair of glasses that didn't exist in medieval times.

No shame?

I wouldn't be ashamed of those, either!

Ye Olde Wardrobe Malfunction

Getting close.

Some women have NO shame

Thank God!

Black Point 1957

15 years prior, when I was living in Novato, Black Point was most infamous for all the fatal traffic accidents that occurred at the cutoff there.

Alright, which one of you Tulls is Jethro?

I'll bet that nowadays, these events are heavily populated by patrons whose costumes would be much more evocative of Hogwarts than the Elizabethan period.

I'll have what she's having.

Pleasure, indeed!

Our Paths May Have Crossed

I went to that RF that same year for the first time (I lived in San Jose). I was a junior in high school and taking a class in Shakespeare. We went to the RF as a field trip for the class, and it was fun and exciting, considering we were already so focused on all things Shakespeare (the teacher was one of those "cool" teachers who made the class very interesting).

Four years later

... and *I* could have been in this picture! My best friend in Junior High was heavily into this kind of thing. My mom brought us there as a You're in High School Now present in '76. I still remember the small crystal ball in the black velvet bag I bought there.

No Enlargement Needed

I usually click on "View Full Size" so I don't miss any details. Didn't really need to for this one.


Was a very good year -- for a 14 year old.

A role in the hay

I used to attend this faire every year when I was a kid. This photo was taking after I stopped going, around 1970. I even worked there in the Games Of Chance booths. My mom's boyfriend Jean was a knight and fought in a lot of the tournaments. He had a really unique fighting style -- didn't use a longsword and shield like everybody else. He used two short swords and his skill as a black belt Akido expert. It seemed like he won every time by going over the other guy's shield somehow.

Every Sunday at the end of the day when the faire was closing, a band of evil knights would sweep through and abduct a maiden and take her up a hill to a "castle" (hay bales!). One good knight would go through the faire and call for brave fellows to join him in saving the honor of the maiden. They would charge up the hill and assault the hay bale castle and free the maiden. Once Jean got knocked down the hill and lost his car keys so he hotwired his Volkswagen for the drive back to S.F.

Lots of memories in this photo.


WOW! I actually once attended the Black Point Faire when it was at that location (I think it moved in the late '90s) and the scenery hadn't changed much since this picture, though it was taken before I was born.


Living in Phoenix, we have started calling our dust storms "haboobs." My apologies, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the merry maiden "busting out" laughing at this reenactment of the "Globe" theatre.

That's quite a set

of teeth on that fair maiden.

Someone call the cops

This scene is being stolen!

Looney Tunes

I attended my one and only "Medieval Fair" several years ago. It started out believable with jousting on horses, blacksmithing, art sales, musicians, etc. but along the way there appeared Middle Eastern belly dancing, mermaids and fortune tellers, mystical crystal and jewelry sales and barbecued turkey legs with corn on the cob. I'm no historian but I think the authenticity was being compromised for commercial reasons. Still everybody was having loads of fun and most of the women were wearing very revealing clothing. However, one medieval attendance goes a long way and I probably won't go to another.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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