Gypsies, Pirates, and a King

Copyright 2009 by Kathy Hughes


“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

-Albert Einstein


It’s that time of the year!  Make-believe, fun, frolic, festivals, and fairs.  Colors, smells, sounds and excitement all invite your inner child to come out and play.  Did you ever like to play dress-up?  You have the chance to do just that if you like, even though you’re a grown-up now.  And add to that historical re-enactments, drama, combat and royalty.

 I will be a volunteer at the Illinois Renaissance Festival in Danville the last weekend in August (see details of the festival at the end of this article).  When you enter the festival, you will feel as if you were transported by a time machine and whisked away to 16th century England.

King Henry the Eighth will perform a wedding.  Pirates will be running amok.  A Viking ship will be on the river (you can take a ride).  Gypsies will be singing and dancing.  Samurai combat teams will be performing. 

Dramas from the era will be onstage, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury will have a short community service to involve and educate festival-goers in the religious ceremonies of Old England. 

And of course there will be Music!  Music!  Music!  And people calling you, “M’lord and M’lady.”

Can you guess where I am going with all of this?  Yo!  Let’s PLAY!!  What a creative art adventure this festival will be! 

  I’m thinking I will let my inner gypsy out.  I can wear wild crazy colors and lots and lots of necklaces.  Hey!  Maybe I will even add bells!  Do gypsies bow or curtsy when the king passes by?  Can gypsies carry a magic wand?  You know what??  I can if I want to!

Art and imagination are everywhere at a Renaissance Festival.  Be free.  Be magical.  Take lots of pictures.  Make sketches from them.  Sing spontaneously.

You can be a character in a huge interactive festival, performing your own script as you go.  Eat a turkey leg.  Wear a flower in your hair.  It will do wonders for your spirit. 

See the sights, smell the smells, soak in the joys and pleasures of the season.  Stop by and say “Hi!”  I will be the one wearing bells!


The 2009 Illinois Renaissance Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30, at Ellsworth Park in Danville.  Gates open at 11:00 am each day.  Admission is $8.00, seniors and children $6.00, and $20.00 for a family of up to five people.  Military personnel and veterans, and kids under six are admitted free.  Parking is also free.  For more information, send an email to  Visit the Illinois Renaissance Festival website at

Kathy Hughes teaches non-judgmental art and creativity classes for adults at the Kaleidoscope Art Studio in Rantoul on Tuesday mornings and at Hobby Lobby in Champaign on Thursday mornings.  Sessions meet 10:00-11:30 and are $10 per class.  Kathy has taught art in the public schools for over 15 years and is a member of the Creativity Coaching Association.  For more information (and to read her past Active Seniors articles) visit her website at  Call her at 351-1680, or email