by Erin Rado
Ren Faire folks live interesting lives. They spend most of the year on the road traveling to one show after another. They cross the country, stopping for a few weeks to work and perform before literally pulling up stakes and heading to the next destination.
It's not for the faint of heart. It takes determination and stamina. It takes a love of freedom and courage to face the unknown. The income is far from certain, as are the elements and the practicalities of daily life. Basically, you gotta love it to do it.
But where would renaissance faires be without these tried and true travelers? Who would push the giant swings, or tell stories to children, or juggle the machetes of death, or sing sea shanties?
And what are ren folks supposed to do when disaster strikes, as it has with COVID-19? The life they know disappears overnight, and now they are caught on the road with no place to stay. There's no safety net. There may be a few campgrounds that allow long-term stays, but long-term does not mean permanent.
Sure, maybe some have relatives who will take them in, but not everyone does. And what about laundry or a shower or a hot meal?
There are a few non-profit organizations that help ren folk, such as RESCU, which helps with medical resources and RCEAF, which helps with referrals to financial, legal and professional resources. However, there is one unique group which helps match ren folks with places to stay, and that is the Rennie Relocation Resource.
The Rennie Relocation Resource is a small, but active, Facebook group that helps weary renaissance workers find safe havens. The group kicked into high gear this March when shows across the country simply stopped. Through January and February, things were going just fine, but then came the first week of March and suddenly faire folk were told to vacate their campsites. That's it. Just go, and go now. But where?
One after another the April/May shows cancelled, and rennies across the country had to scatter. Then the entire Festival season shut down and the need for safe havens became paramount.
So, the Rennie Relocation Resource started asking, “Does anyone have a driveway?” “Does anyone have a big back yard?” “ Would anyone mind if some ren folk camped on your property for a while?”
And people responded. Some homeowners welcomed ren folk onto their property. Some large space owners even put up generators and privies. And the Rennie Relocation Resource deserves credit for quite a few of those essential connections.
The Rennie Relocation Resource is a private Facebook group. They keep it private because they take the time to vet both the people seeking help and the people offering space. They do their best to make certain everyone is legit, and then they make the matches. Faire folk and people with open space are able to strike their own arrangements, and rennies have a place to call home for a while.
It's a specific mission which is in dire need.
You can contact the Rennie
Relocation Resource at: facebook.com/groups/ rennierelocationresource.
Ask to join, and the admins will reach out to you. The group is not a 501c3 and they are not actively asking for donations, but like all resource groups, they appreciate all the help they can get.
You can donate to tax-deductible non-profits such as RCEAF or other help groups like the Rennie Relief Fund. Ren folks in need of assistance can apply to these groups for aide.
“Don't sit in the rain. We'll help you find a place,” says Rennie Relocation Resource admin Cat Cooke.
That really sums up the heart and soul of this dedicated group.