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AMERICANS EMBRACE 16TH CENTURY FANTASY EXPERIENCE

 AMERICANS EMBRACE 16TH CENTURY FANTASY EXPERIENCE
 CORNWALL, Pa., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans have embraced the


16th century in their flight from continuing news of the recession, unemployment fears and other such concerns of everyday life.
 Renaissance fairs, themed festivals recreating 16th century country celebrations, now appear across the United States. Most often, Queen Elizabeth I presides over the festivities. Entertainment consists of scores of colorfully costumed performers from the Royal Court to jousting knights, jugglers, jesters, magicians, swordsmen and a variety of often unique specialty acts, including a nationally recognized sword swallower.
 The fairs first appeared in this country in the 1960s and are now a $400 million a year industry attracting more than 12 million people annually.
 "A brief escape from reality to fantasy" was cited by fair owners as the major reason why people attend Renaissance fairs. This was one of the findings of a survey of the top 20 American Renaissance fairs conducted on behalf of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Lancaster County, Pa.
 Gross revenues for the fairs range from $100,000 for the smallest fair to more than $2.7 million for the larger fairs. Employees range from as few as 100 to more than 2,500. Patrons who attend Renaissance fairs are families with annual incomes from $25,000 to $60,000 annually. Eighty percent live within 100 miles of the fairs they attend. Including admission to the festival, they are likely to spend more than $30 per person on food, crafts or games.
 While annual attendance varies, most fairs reported attendance in the 175,000 to 225,000 range. The lowest reported was 25,000 and the highest 400,000.
 Since fairs generally operate for seven to eight weekends and only on Saturdays and Sundays, per-day attendance at the largest sites would compare to the larger amusement parks in the country. Yet, the fairs are independently owned and operated without any apparent association with any of the traditional amusement parks.
 It appears that quietly, but steadily, the Renaissance fairs have carved out a significant niche in the amusement and entertainment markets in which they operate. That they are likely to create an ever- larger economic impact both locally and nationally seems equally certain even if the primary reason why patrons will continue to attend such events is for the very illusory reason of hoping to "escape reality."
 /delval/
 -0- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Carl Andrews of Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, 717-233-8853/ CO: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire ST: Pennsylvania IN: ENT SU:


MJ-CC -- PH012 -- 8582 08/10/92 14:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1992
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