103 thoughts on “King Richard’s No Faire!

  1. Blair Boudreau

    After reading the article and the comments I will not go to King Richard’s UNFaire. Oh, and incidentally, I went MANY years ago (twenty maybe?) and thought it unfair back then too.

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  2. Brian Harvard

    I still enjoy coming back to this article every few years just to read the comments. We (The Connecticut Renaissance Faire) still have a “bring your own picnic lunch” policy, allow folks to bring it right inside the gates and we always allow re-entry.

    Cheers!

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    1. jik Post author

      Welcome! My family still hasn’t made it to the CT Faire, but we hope to!

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  3. Jody Regan

    My husband and I took our young children to this faire in Carver, MA many years ago. Although the prices were somewhat lower, we did feel it was a rip off to spend almost $100.00 for the four of us to get in, and then have to pay separately for everything we did, or the kids wanted to do. We went along with it because we were already there, had paid to get in, and the kids were so excited. My husband and I also enjoyed most things British, Tudor, and medieval,; we traveled to the British Isles every year while in college, twice a year after college when we were working full time, and yearly after we married, until we had children 7 years later. One of the problems we encountered at the faire, was with our daughter. She was born with significant physical and developmental disabilities. She was fed through a g- Tube, supplemented by small amounts of baby soft foods by mouth. It was a very hot day, and we had to give her bottled water through her g-tube twice, as well as medications several times. We asked many employees if there was a first aid station, or a ” quiet ” place we could go for this purpose, and we were repeatedly told no. One employee actually said ” the aid station is where sick or injured visitors go, and I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate having to see ” THAT”. We then asked if we could go to our car to give the meds and water, and were told yes, but we could not come back in without paying again. We caused such a LOUD STINK at that point that someone finally allowed us to go to our car with an employee escorting us, and we had to follow him back in. Our car was broiling after being in an unshaded parking lot for several hours, and it was quite unpleasant for all of us. When it was time for us to eat, we had to sit at a crowded table, and I fed my daughter her “baby” food aware of all the rude stares from children AND adults. She didn’t have the strength or coordination to handle a utensil properly, never mind bringing it to her mouth without spilling it. I’m always amazed at the amount of adults who stare at my daughter, and see their children doing it, and don’t teach them not to; and, even though we have someone with a disability, we had noticed our children staring at others with obvious disabilities on occasion. We always put a gentle, quiet stop to it, and later taught them how rude it was, and tried to teach them to be empathetic; try to understand how the disabled person felt. Eventually, ( after asking us) they often approached the disabled, said hello and introduced themselves. We were rewarded with many grateful smiles from the person and their family/ caretaker’s. O.K., back to the faire, we kept our game face on, for the kid’s sake so they could enjoy the rest of the faire. At least the whole trip wasn’t ruined; we spent 5 wonderful days on Cape Cod, and on the way home we enjoyed a great day at Plimoth Plantation, where we were accorded every possible courtesy. I wish all our outings were like that one at Plimoth Plantation; and in fact most of them were. When I read about your situation, trying to eat Kosher, it made my blood boil to think that another family was treated poorly by King Richard’s Faire. With enough people writing hopefully things will change, and perhaps they already have; it has been over 15 years. Jody
    I want to add that over the years while our children were young, we travelled all over with them, and although things were not always perfect, we were never treated as rudely as we were at King Richard’s Faire.
    * Sorry, I did not intend to run my mouth off on the disability thing, really just wanted to let you and others know what happened to us at King Richard’s Faire.

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  4. Lina

    Just so you know, you are operating under the assumption that the Faire owns the food booths, which they do not. The food vendors control their own menus. Until extremely recently (2013) it was very difficult for merchants to accept credit cards on faire sites as they had to have electricity for the booth (which actually costs them about 1700.00 more for the booth space than a non-electric spot) and a machine where card information would be entered manually and then also called in by the end of the day. With many customers in line this isn’t often a feasible option for vendors or impatient customers waiting in line. There are usually ATM machines everywhere however where it takes moments to withdraw cash to pay with. The policy of not allowing you back in is absurd however and I would have simply mentioned this rather than the lack of suitable menu options to management. In the future calling ahead of time may be helpful also to see if you would be expected to eat in the parking lot if you could then return with a hand stamp or something.

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    1. jik Post author

      …you are operating under the assumption that the Faire owns the food booths…

      No, I’m not, nor do I see how this is relevant.

      I did not criticize the faire for not having kosher food available. I hardly expect them to sell kosher food to cater to the extremely small minority of visitors who need it, just as I don’t expect them to sell food to cater to people with rare medical conditions which affect what they are able to eat. I have no bone to pick with any of the food vendors.

      My complaint was then, and remains to this day, that it is greedy, predatory, and obnoxious that the faire does not allow people with dietary restrictions to bring in their own food, and greedy, predatory, and obnoxious that they do not allow people to leave and re-enter the faire.

      (Oh, and in the case of dietary restrictions due to medical conditions, in addition to being greedy, predatory, and obnoxious, it’s also probably a violation of the ADA.)

      Reply
  5. Patti

    I have taken my family to the faire for the last 15 years. After stumbling upon this article we will no longer be going to this faire

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  6. Kevin

    [Deleted comment asking questions that have already been asked and answered. If you don’t have time to read what others have already written before commenting, then please don’t bother to comment. Thank you. – ed.]

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  7. Jaime

    I’ve lived within a half hour drive of King Richard’s Faire all my life. My boyfriend works there currently. Most of the entertainers do not even get paid by the Faire for working there. What they make in tips is what they make, and that’s it. It’s $27 per person to get in now, and the food prices are ridiculously high. I love going myself, but never go unless I am able to get free passes. No matter how much I enjoy it, I will not pay $27 to get it, plus food, etc. Also, the games and a few of the shops are owned by Mogul Games, not King Richards Faire. That is why there is a separate charge for the games, they do not get paid by the Faire to be there. If you ask me, the family that owns the Faire is unbelievably greedy. They’ll milk out of you every last penny they can get. They should realize that better customer service makes your patrons happier and more willing to spend money. I know a lot of people that work there and the people that runs the games and booths are great. But the Faire itself is ridiculous.

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    1. Justicar Dan

      That “Faire” could make more money if they tweak a couple recipes on the existing menu. I’m a celiac and so glad I found this website so I can save myself a lot of gas, time, and money. And I will tell others with special diets not to waste a trip. They would have to walk around all day smelling mutton and turkey that they can’t eat – all because of ONE minor ingredient or seasoning. Make it fun, the fried food is usually in a separate booth from the mutton anyway, but make something accessible for us. Millions of people eat gluten-free and kosher food every day without knowing it. Those that run KRF are greedy yet ignorant and I feel bad for some of the entertainers that have to avoid certain food. The faire in Connecticut is likely the better choice. Thank you, JIK

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  8. Bad experience

    I have been going to the fair for years and will go again despite the polices of the buffoons who run the place.

    I had been at the fair 1/2 hour with my wife and niece when I got an emergency call that I had to respond too. I went to the gate to asked to be stamped so that when I returned I could get back in. They told me they do not allow that.
    I explained to them that I was called to work for an emergency and needed to go seeing how I was only there 30 minutes I asked for a refund they refused. I found the management staff rude and had to literally control my anger at the uncaring responses. I know violence isn’t the way to go but I wanted to knock the Ass**** out. Regardless of the buffoons who defend the policies of the fair (they most likely are the buffoons who are responding that work there on management)

    Outside of that it’s actually a fun time there the shows are hilarious the food sucks like any other amusement facility.

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    1. jik Post author

      … and will go again despite the policies of the buffoons who run the place.

      Why?

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    2. Ben

      My question exactly. Why would you give money to someone who treated you like a chump?

      Reply
  9. ruth

    Mr. JIK,
    Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life and being “brave” enough to inform us of these barbaric practices at KRF. It has been some years since the incident but I want to inform you of what has transpired in my own circle since then. I am very connected with people. I orchestrate a mom’s group here in the South Shore and we correspond and help out other sister moms groups in all other areas through out New England. I wrote a letter and attached your post to it to all the mom members of my own group asking them all to boycott such a place. I had 100% cooperation for each and every year since your incident. We are now boycotting again this year. I also sent the letter with post to my next mom’s group (in Boston) and they in turn began the “chain” we use to inform each participating mom’s group in the state and further into all of New England. Long story short….KRF has lost a tremendous amount of family business by our boycotting. As a parent, it is necessary to occasionally need to bring our own food: children with allergies/food issues, etc. That alone, regardless of all the other restrictions they have, left every member of every mom’s group disgusted with this venue. I understand it’s business is diminishing each year and let’s hope we will drive them down and out because of their ignorance on how to treat their customers. My MBA teaches me this is the WRONG way to operate a business!
    Keep up the good fight – there is power in numbers.

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    1. jik Post author

      Hi Ruth,

      Thanks for your comment. I am glad to hear that my article has encouraged others to “vote with their pocketbooks” and let KRF know treating people poorly is going to cost them business.

      I hope that in addition to boycotting KRF, you and your friends have told KRF that you’ve done so. You can email them at info@kingrichardsfaire.net. The more people complain to them about their consumer-hostile policies, the more likely it is that they will change.

      Reply
  10. Angela

    I’ve been going to King Richard’s Faire for many years. I have a few friends with medical dietary restrictions, not just personal choices, and the people I know at the faire have always bent over backwards to make sure they’re staying healthy. For example, not only is my diabetic friend allowed to bring in her own food, but they’ve never once made an issue of it. I also have physically handicapped friends (one in a full wheelchair) and they’ve never been anything but accomodating.

    To address some other points, the dangerous activities at the faire are kept under CONSTANT supervision by professionals. All weapons sold are to be peace-tied (secured by a zip tie) by the vendor and kept on the owner’s belt so no accidents happen, and anyone walking around with an unsheathed weapon is asked to peace-tie it or leave. The ONLY people you’ll see being careless with weapons are trained professionals, so they aren’t actually being careless.

    I will admit that the entry fee is steep for the faire, but the further comments on greed are inaccurate. There are a very small number of rides at the faire – two at my last and more current count – and they’re just for children, AND they don’t cost very much. Beyond that, a performer soliciting tips is actually keeping in the spirit of a renaissance-age performer, who would frequently goad his audience into tipping him because that was the only way he made money. Visitors are in NO WAY OBLIGATED to tip, and if you believe you are, you’re a bit niave.

    Also, did you know that the owners of the faire don’t own the grounds? The entire area is owned by the SCA, who charge a steep price for EVERYTHING. The SCA is probably also the “proper authorities” they would have needed to talk to about your issues.

    King Richard’s Faire is by no means perfect, or the best faire in the area. But they have reasons for doing what they do. You should try to find out all the facts before posting negative comments online.

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      I have a few friends with medical dietary restrictions, not just personal choices, and the people I know at the faire have always bent over backwards to make sure they’re staying healthy. For example, not only is my diabetic friend allowed to bring in her own food, but they’ve never once made an issue of it. I also have physically handicapped friends (one in a full wheelchair) and they’ve never been anything but accomodating.

      I’m glad your friends have been treated better than I and the other commenters here have been.

      That does not change how we were treated, nor does it change the Faire’s explicit, posted policy, which they have reiterated to me on multiple occasions when asked, that no outside food whatsoever is permitted.

      To address some other points, the dangerous activities at the faire are kept under CONSTANT supervision by professionals. All weapons sold are to be peace-tied (secured by a zip tie) by the vendor and kept on the owner’s belt so no accidents happen, and anyone walking around with an unsheathed weapon is asked to peace-tie it or leave. The ONLY people you’ll see being careless with weapons are trained professionals, so they aren’t actually being careless.

      Not particularly relevant. The only reason the presence of weapons at the Faire was brought up was to dispel the notion that there is any sort of safety issue with bringing outside food into the Faire. It’s absurd to suggest that such an issue exists when weapons, peace-tied or not, are sold and allowed to be brought into the Faire. To suggest that someone’s bag lunch might be more dangerous, and introduce the Faire to more liability, than such weapons is simply absurd.

      Also, did you know that the owners of the faire don’t own the grounds? The entire area is owned by the SCA, who charge a steep price for EVERYTHING. The SCA is probably also the “proper authorities” they would have needed to talk to about your issues.

      I’m not sure where you heard this, but it’s not true. Bonnie Shapiro (and her husband, when he was alive) owned the land from the early 80s until she sold it to the owner of Edaville Railroad in 1987 and leased it back. The sales contract had an option to buy it back which expired in 2002, but she screwed up some legal technicalities and thereby lost that option, so the ownership of the land is now permanently in the hands of the other owner. See http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2008/03/24/story13.html?page=all .

      In any case, regardless of who owns the land, it’s Bonnie who makes the rules, not them.

      You should try to find out all the facts before posting negative comments online.

      Everything I’ve posted here is factually accurate. I am confident that most of the critical comments posted here by others are also accurate. The information you have posted, on the other hand, would seem to be lacking in accuracy.

      Reply
  11. mike

    This person is a liar. You are able to leave the park and return later. We go twice a year and you only need to get your hand stamped when leaving to return.

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    1. jik Post author

      I just called KRF (508-866-5391) and asked whether we could leave and come back. “No, there is no readmittance,” was the response I received. That’s a direct quote.

      This is consistent with our experience; consistent with many other people’s experiences described in comments here; consistent with the signage posted at the gate when we went; and consistent with the messaging that used to be on their web site but they’re removed.

      I cannot explain why you think there is hand-stamping available when even the KRF itself admits explicitly that there is not and when many other people have had experiences which contradict yours.

      Perhaps I am not the person who is a liar.

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      1. Lyn

        Perhaps you aren’t a liar, perhaps you are. Regardless, you do come across as a bit pretentious. Your experiences are regrettable, but they are your experiences. You do not need to attack people who have had different experiences, because it’s extremely obvious that, even when dissenting comments are politely phrased, you take issue with anyone who has a positive anecdote to share. Hopefully you’ve changed during the years in between.

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        1. jik Post author

          I take issue with people who post claims here which I know to be objectively false.

          If speaking out when I and others are wronged and expecting people to tell the truth in comments on my blog makes me “pretentious,” then so be it.

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    2. enid

      I’ve worked at the faire for 24 years…. there is NO re-admission. The faire use to be fun, and affordable. Then Bonnie “the Greedy” Shapiro took over….. she is destroying it year by year, and there will come a time when people will altogether stop coming. Very sad.

      Reply
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  13. Dave R.

    What nonsense. KRF is a great time, and there is such a wide variety of food, to say nothing is kosher is ridiculous. As for the allegations of a no readmittance policy, I’ve often left to my car for one reason or another and been allowed back in without a problem. I simply explain at the gate why I wish to do so. The Faire is a bit pricey, no question about that, but it is also a great time. It is NOT discriminatory, and no, I have nothing to do with it.

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    1. jik Post author

      there is such a wide variety of food, to say nothing is kosher is ridiculous.

      You apparently don’t understand what it means for food to be Kosher.

      I’ve often left to my car for one reason or another and been allowed back in without a problem. I simply explain at the gate why I wish to do so.

      Really? That’s quite remarkable. We were told told quite firmly by several different gate staffers that we would not be allowed back in if we left, that this was the policy of the Faire and that it was non-negotiable. Several other commenters on my blog have had exactly the same experience, including a woman who was denied permission to return to her car to change medical dressings on her leg! I would be delighted to hear that they have changed their policy, but I can find no evidence of this on their Web site.

      An article published by southcosttoday.com dated September 10, 2009, asserts, “…no readmittance is allowed once patrons head back through the gates to their cars.”

      It is NOT discriminatory,

      Well, yes, if they refuse to let people bring in their own food and refuse to let them leave and re-enter, then it is discriminatory. The former is still the Faire’s explicit policy as posted on their Web site, and there’s nothing other than the word of one anonymous commenter on the Internet, which is contradicted by published reports, to suggest that they’ve changed the latter.

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      1. k

        i have spent the last three hrs online looking for discounted coupons wit no luck…for the price their askn i hope they dont make it hard to either enjoy myself or to accomodate me if for ne reason i need to go to me car….i might as well give up on the coupons huh?

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  14. Deb

    Oh dear!

    What is your problem? You brought your own food, you can eat it at your car during your meal break and then re enter the faire.

    do you think this only happens to people who keep kosher? how about people who just don’t want to cram fried crap into their bodies? It’s a FAIRE! the food is always going to be crap. Those vendors make their money by selling their crap and if the public was allowed to bring in an alternative to crap, those vendors would not be in business.

    Whenever I go to a carnival or fair, I eat before I go, and if I’m going to be there all day, I pack a meal-leave the grounds to eat- then return to the grounds. Are you too lazy to walk the 100 yards to your car? If you are eating kosher, as you claim, you shouled have plenty of energy to deal with this MINOR inconveniece. OR- do you just want to whine about something? People like you ruin the fun of playing in public. You’re like the kid who begs to go to the beach, but can’t stand the feel of sand.

    Stay home, watch TV and get fat. Sounds like that is more your style anyway.

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    1. jik Post author

      You brought your own food, you can eat it at your car during your meal break and then re enter the faire.

      Yet another intrepid commenter, I see, who didn’t bother to read what has been written before.

      King Richard’s Faire has a no re-entry policy, a fact which is mentioned briefly at the end of my article, which you obviously did not read very carefully. We asked to be allowed to leave the Faire to eat our lunch and then re-enter, and we were denied that as well, a fact which I will add to my article (it’s mentioned already in the comments, but clearly not everyone takes the trouble to read the comments before commenting themselves).

      do you think this only happens to people who keep kosher?

      No, I think it happens to people of all sorts, and I think it’s wrong for all of them.

      If you’re going to have a no-outside-food policy, then you have to let people leave and re-enter the faire. If you’re not going to let people leave and re-enter the faire, then you have to let people bring in their own food. It is completely, utterly unacceptable to tell people that they can’t bring in their own food and then tell them that they can’t leave to eat.

      Keeping Kosher is not the only special dietary need for which this is relevant. People with allergies, people with medically necessary diets, people with diabetes, etc. often cannot trust food prepared by strangers. The KRF policy is discriminatory and offensive.

      Those vendors make their money by selling their crap and if the public was allowed to bring in an alternative to crap, those vendors would not be in business.

      Bullocks. The faires that allow outside food have just as many food vendors. Do you think they’re all losing money?

      Whenever I go to a carnival or fair, I eat before I go, and if I’m going to be there all day, I pack a meal-leave the grounds to eat- then return to the grounds. Are you too lazy to walk the 100 yards to your car?

      Are you too lazy to read other people’s comments before bloviating?

      If you are eating kosher, as you claim, you shouled have plenty of energy to deal with this MINOR inconveniece.

      It’s hard to imagine why you think that keeping kosher has anything whatsoever to do with having “plenty of energy.”

      OR- do you just want to whine about something?

      Pot. Kettle. Black.

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      1. Lyn

        Is it really helpful to respond to rude comments with even more rudeness? But then, you’ll probably just write me off as another intrepid “commenter,” as well.

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        1. jik Post author

          I do not suffer fools. People who respond critically to an article without bothering to read it first are fools, and I will tell them so to their faces without a moment’s hesitation. You may call that rude if you wish; I call it not having any patience for people wasting my time and other people’s.

          Uneducated opinions are worth far less than no opinion at all.

          And is it really helpful to post responses to things that were written here over two years ago?

          Reply
  15. jik Post author

    (An email message I received recently, with identifying information removed.)

    You do not know me, but recently whilst searching the internet for information about King Richard’s Faire, I came across your online post about the particular situation you had the misfortune of going through. I’ve had only been to the Faire for the first time last summer, but I must agree, you argue a number of very valid points despite the fact that I am not Jewish. I also believe that despite the fact that I had an enjoyable time, it did cost entirely too much. One can easily spend upwards of $60 on just themselves which the entrance fee and purchasing food. I consider this amount to be entirely too much considering less can be spent at other numerous and more enjoyable events.

    Though I have never been discriminated against due to my religion, I can only imagine the embarrassment you and your family had to undergo just because you are clearly dedicated to your religion. I find this fact very admirable and believe in instances such as yours, rules should be bent in order to maintain a professional and customer friendly image. Simply allowing paying customers to eat lunch in your parking lot doesn’t exactly spell “returning customer” to me.

    In short, I appreciate the fact that people like you aren’t afraid to be David in what seems to be a world becoming more and more overrun with Goliaths. I know I will be telling my friends about this story the next time we speak of attending the Faire and propose that we attend the Connecticut Faire as a cheaper and less greed ridden alternative to the King Richard’s Faire. I know that discrimination still exists today, but it’s hard to believe it would be to the degree as to not allow paying customers to bring food into a public place. I hope that one day the people behind King Richard’s Faire sees the error of their ways or new management takes over and allows this change in policy (although I wouldn’t blame if for not going back even if they did). I wish your family the best in your future endeavors and hey, maybe I’ll see you at the Connecticut Faire this year.

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  16. Canna Tellya

    It was the same when Dick Shapiro was alive, as I recall: no outside food or drink, no real meds (insulin, needles) allowed, no come & go, actors eat on-site, in view of patrons, and pay for food. Some other draconian measures too, from a company whose pay checks bounced every week.

    This is not the only faire with these sorts of policies. All the RenFair.com shows say no outside food too. And there is no list on their sites of what food they DO have that a kosher jew, diabetic, celiac, nut-allergic, etc. person could eat. There is no information about how their food is made or what is in it.

    So eat in the car or risk your life. Or you could just stay home. Or go to some other event. Your choice. No help from management at some of these faires. Money is all that matters. Complaining does not influence them. Only something that causes people like Bonnie to lose money or to spend money has any effect, like a letter from a lawyer (though she usually toughs that out). Dealing with Bonnie Shapiro and all like her … leave a bad taste in the mouth. Thanks for trying!

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  17. George

    RIP OFF RIP OFF. I WAS JUST THERE AND TO SAY THE LEAST THIS PLACE IS A SCAM. A FAMILY OF FIVE COST JUST UNDER 100.00 TO GET IN AND THEN 2-3 DOLLARS AN ACTIVITY. THEN THERE IS THE FOOD RIP OFF. YOU HAVE TO BUY A MINIMUM OF FOOD TICKETS AND YOU CAN’T GET ANY REFUND ON ANY THAT ARE LEFT OVER. SO YOU POSSIBLY END UP TOSSING A COUPLE OF BUCKS DOING THIS. SO IF YOU BUY 25.00 WORTH OF TICKETS AND ONLY USE 22.00 OF THAT THEN WHAT DO DO WITH THE 3.00 DOLLARS LEFT OVER. THERE IS NOTHING IN THAT PARK THAT CHEAP. SO WHEN YOU TRY TO GET A REFUND ON IT THEY SAY NO BUT YOU CAN BUY ANOTHER SHEET OF TICKETS AND TRY TO SPEND IT DOWN. AS FAR AS THE COMMENTS FROM THE ACTORS THAT SAY THEY RELY ON TIPS AND DON’T GET PAID. TUFF FOR YOU. MAYBE IF YOUR RIP OFF EMPLOYER WOULD CUTS SOME OF THE CHARGES TO THE CUSTOMER THEN WE WOULD TIP MORE. IN FACT I ONLY TIPPED ONCE AND THAT WAS WITH THE LEFT OVER FOOD TICKETS I HAD. I HAVE TOLD EVERYONE I KNOW NEVER TO GO HERE. THIS MADE THE TOPSFIELD FAIR LOOK LIKE DISNEY WORLD. THE ONLY REAL ENTERTAINMENT WAS WATCHING THE ACTOR WANNA BEES TRY TO ACT. OH MY GOD HOW EMBARRASING FOR THEM. THE COSTUMES WERE REDICULOUS AND ACTORS JUST AS BAD. THANK GOD I DON’T HAVE TO GO BACK AND WILL SPREAD THE WORD. UNLESS YOU ARE A MORON THAT LOVES TO THROW MONEY AWAY AND SEE SOME OF THE WORST ACTING IN THE WORLD STAY THE F$%# AWAY FROM HERE.

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  18. Lori

    This is late in coming, but 2 seperate groups of 40 of us were to attend KRF this weekend. We will now wait for CT Faire. I am aware that the loss of revenue for 80 people is not a big deal to someone Like Bonnie Shapiro apparently, but it’s what we can do. We will also be starting a letter writing campaign to warn as many people as possible about these rules. We will also be providing info about CT faire.

    Thanks for all the info.

    Reply
  19. Sue

    Don’t know if you interested in hearing of yet another bit of injustice at the Faire. The last time I attended, I had to use crutches, due to a recent operation on my foot. I had a wheelchair with me in the car, but the uneven ground makes the place pretty much inaccessible to users of standard wheelchairs, unless they are very, very strong.

    Halfway through the day, I tried to get a hand stamp so that I could return to my hotel and change the dressing on my foot – something that had to be done several times per day. I was told that reentry would be impossible if I left for more than a few minutes, and was told to either change the dressings in the car or at the first aid tent. Okay, so *maybe* the first aid tent would have had the bandages and sterile solutions I needed, but I rather doubt they had the prescription medications required to repack the wound. Foregoing the medications, in this case, was not an option. It would have meant risking internal scarring that could have affected my ability to walk in the future.

    The gate people had seen me hobble about for hours on crutches, and the bandaging was clearly getting, not to get too graphic, a bit soiled in a way which could be clearly seen from the outside. I don’t think it was a matter of their not believing me.

    Not to get too graphic, the whole process of soaking off the bandaging, cleaning out the site, and rebandaging involved a certain amount of mess and unpleasantness that *could* have been done out at the car, had I brought all the supplies with me (mere water was insufficient, I had to use vast quantities of sterile saline). However, I would have risked serious infection from the introduction of whatever parking lot debris was flying through the air, and again, not to get too graphic, but where could I have poured out the ahem, byproducts?

    Anyway, the staff at the gate wouldn’t budge, and rather than force my family to leave so early, I opted to stay for a few more hours – in increasing discomfort, and making the eventual removal of the bandaging much more painful and messy than it should have been – all at the pleasure of the Bonnie Bitch.

    It is unfortunate she has no real competition. The Ct. Faire doesn’t open until late September.

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  20. fata

    you should talk to the people who work at the faire. When Bonnie took over she hiked up prices and bled the vendors dry. All the good actors left because she was trying to make them sign contracts and control their careers. The faire use to be fun and joyous, now it is too expensive and pathetically lacking in talent. All Bonnie cares about is money, and that is her bottem line. I have seen talented singers get rejected because they are too fat…but they have no problem hiring a thin girl with a shaky voice because she looks good. I can go on and on but it would be the same thing over and over, Bonnie killed the faire. I am one who has left the faire and work for other places now. It is sad that she is so greedy, food cannot even be allowed for people with different eating venues. If you have ever tried the food there, you would find in greasy and terrible!

    Reply
  21. jik Post author

    I don’t think it’s foolish to respond now. KRF is still around, still treating its customers and its staff badly, still refusing to let people to bring in their own food, and still refusing to let people leave the faire to eat and then come back in. That makes my article and the discussion about it still relevant.

    To answer your question, we didn’t call in advance because it never even occurred to us that it wouldn’t be a problem. We’ve never encountered a venue, before or since, that refused to allow us to bring in our own food due to our religious dietary restrictions. We’ve never encountered a venue, before or since, that refused to allow us to leave and re-enter on the same day.

    KRF’s policies are so far outside the norm, so far outside of what every other venue we’ve ever encountered considers an acceptable way to treat its customers, that before we experienced it, it never even occurred to us that it was possible.

    Reply
  22. Mel

    I know that this issue is now about three years old so I feel a bit foolish in responding to the post. However, I was curious as to why you did not call in advance to ask about the rules reguarding bringing in food to the faire. I realize that you state in your article that the website did not have any information prohibiting food being brought inside, but I was curious as to why you never picked up phone before the visit to ask if you could bring the food in. I agree that the owner treated you horribly and nothing can justify not allowing people to adhere to their dietary needs. Perhaps you could have saved your family a little grief if you had not had this confrontation at the gate of the faire and been admittedly a grumpy guy all day long. Just a thought.

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  23. jik Post author

    I received this email yesterday. Its author gave me permission to post it here, with identifying information removed:

    I am a former participant of King Richard’s Faire. I was happy to read your post and see that someone is standing up to Bonnie Shapiro (or BS as she is sometimes referred to).

    In the time I worked at the Faire I not only saw people with medical issues refused the right to bring in their own food but also parents of infants and toddlers treated the same way. One of the gate staff (after being reamed out by management for allowing a family with young children to bring in juice boxes) actually stopped a family with an infant contesting their right to bring in formula for the baby. In her defense I believe she did it in an attempt to force BS to face the fact that this was a stupid rule.

    At any rate I thought I would share just a few more bits of information regarding the faire with you. You commented that “virtually everything costs money”. Let me explain why. As far as Ren Faires go KRF is notorious for not paying performers well. A large portion of their income comes from “passing the hat”. The majority of performers you see populating the “village” are in fact unpaid apprentices. This “apprenticeship” does not garner them educational credits or anything else. I can speak from experience that an “apprentice” is not given any further or advanced training should they choose to continue with a 2nd or 3rd year of “apprenticeship”. Nor does being an apprentice translate into eventually being hired as a paid performer or core cast member. Further, while apprenti are not banned from bringing a bag lunch it is frowned on as they would then have to go backstage to eat it. Needless to say there were no scheduled lunch breaks while I worked in that capacity. Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes we did have to buy food tickets ourselves. They allowed us to buy them at a reduced rate, I believe our tickets cost 2/3 of the standard price. Did I mention we were unpaid? And required to put in several weekends worth of “training/rehearsal” time as well.

    Now as regards the cost of things at the faire. While you commented that the costs were not much higher than at other similar venues I have seen how slim the profit margins are due to the extravagant booth fees BS charges her vendors. A man I truly respected was forced to sell his concession (the rose booth) due to BS raising his vendor fee by exactly the amount of his profit margin. How she got her hands on that information is something many of us have been wondering for a few years.

    I commend you for taking the fight to the Shapiro’s. I also agree with your assessment that the Connecticut Faire is a far better choice. I performed there in its early years and still know many of the vendors and performers who work that show. It is a faire that has heart.

    Thank you again
    [name elided]

    Reply
  24. jik Post author

    I think it’s not likely that what I experienced was intentional anti-Semitism, but I certainly think it’s possible.

    Anyone who thinks that there isn’t any anti-Semitism in this country is a fool. Anyone who thinks that none of that anti-Semitism comes from Jews (the owner of KRF is Jewish) is also a fool.

    I’ve had an email exchange with a woman who claimed that she’s gone to KRF six times, each time openly bringing in food that was seen by the gate attendants, and she claims that she was never stopped nor even had anyone say anything to her about bringing in the food. I haven’t posted that exchange here in full because she did not respond to my request for permission to do so.

    I didn’t really think anti-Semitism was a plausible explanation at all for what happened to me until I had that email exchange. However, after that exchange, I cannot come up with any other plausible explanation for why that woman would have been allowed to bring food into KRF six times without any trouble, whereas my family was stopped the first time we tried it.

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  25. Adam

    I don’t think they maliciously singled you out because you’re a Jew, you’re being whiney and paranoid. I agree that the fair is overpriced, and I agree that not letting you go in with kosher food is not ethical, but you make it seem like King Richard is Feurer Hitler.

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  26. Carlo

    I have to say that your blog is very informative. Unfortunately, a good portion of the comments are amusing. You see, I attended KRF once. Not due to any problems that I had, but simply because I was not in the area. I had a good experience and, up until now, would have gone back. Now that I have been informed, I must say that I will NEVER go back to KRF.

    The problem that I have with some of the comments, especially the “you are a whiner” and “get over it” comments, is that they don’t really understand the issues. You have a problem with a company’s business practices, so you get the word out and like-minded people take their business elsewhere. The next step (normally) is that the business changes the practices that offended in order to regain the lost revenue. That is the essence of Capitalism, also called “voting with your wallet.”

    For those that can not, or will not, see this, let me explain it in terms that you can understand. Way back in the 80’s and 90’s there was a little country called South Africa, and they practiced Apartheid. Look it up, it will do you some good http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apartheid . A vocal minority brought this practice to mainstream attention and people started boycotting businesses and protesting at embassies. To make a long story short, the South African government stopped the practice, and they have had open elections since. THIS IS THE SAME PRINCIPLE!!!!!!!!!!!

    I wonder what these people would have said if nobody had brought up women’s suffrage, slavery, or colonial independence from Britain? These three things WERE “the way things are” at one time, until someone took a stand.

    Please, if you are going to comment on a blog that has a lot of comments on it, READ THE BLOG AND READ THE COMMENTS! FaireFan, you have th right to not read Mr. Kamens’ blog, exercise it. Andrea, you demonstrated that you are either lazy or you are a KRF supporter and simply trying to flame Mr. Kamens. Both of you, your ignorance is showing, please cover it up.

    Finally, what is going on with our school system? Do people not know how to spell any more? OK, here are some basic rules: (1) Do NOT use text/IM shortcut spellings in a blog comment, it shows that you have no clue as to the words that you really mean to spell. (2) Learn the proper use of the apostrophe.

    Mr. Kamens, thank you for informing me of the predatory business practices of the owner(s)? of KRF. I will not attend it again.

    Reply
  27. jik Post author

    On the tail end….hopefully

    I believe this is being made into a bigger situation than necessary. Like many people, why did you not eat beforehand and prepare appropriately?

    Asked and answered already.

    I often schedule my food intake throughout each day due to sugar problems I have recently. I often place small items (snacks, bars etc) in my bag and even places like six flags didn’t deny me,

    Six Flags allows people with dietary restrictions to bring in their own food.

    even going to see the red sox (boston), they didn’t mind, nor did I have to explain.

    Fenway Park allows people with dietary restrictions to bring in their own food. (This was already pointed out. Why do you think it’s OK to waste people’s time by not bothering to read what has already been said before commenting?)

    But an entire lunch? Especially if you have children, I would have thought you would have planned to have eaten a bit beforehand, leaving the option to maybe eat what was there, and if they did not provide anything due to your decision to be Kosher, than you would have been ok.

    No, we wouldn’t have “been ok.” That has already been explained. See above about commenting without reading first.

    It disturbs me to think you would cause this type of upheaval based on the fact you were denied to bring in your own food.

    I am “causing upheaval” because I think KRF’s policy is wrong, and yes, discriminatory. You are free to disagree, but given my opinion on the matter, it makes perfect sense that I choose to “cause upheaval” about it. What would be wrong would be to fail to speak out against discriminatory practices.

    Then, you are using the fact that you are Kosher as the reason you think they didn’t let you in. What a poor excuse for the use of the word discriminate.

    A policy which disproportionately impacts people of a certain religion is by definition discriminatory. It is in fact a perfect use of the word.

    What gave you the idea you can picnic at any event you want?

    Asked and answered already.

    If you had gone to a concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center, would you have packed a picnic?

    If I was going to be there long enough to require food, and Kosher food was unavailable, then yes, I would have done exactly that.

    Then blamed them for not letting you bring it inside and eat it?

    I wouldn’t have had to blame them for anything, because they would have let me in.

    Just breathe, we have bigger issues in the world. I truly believe you were only denied because it was a rule, that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less There are many rules, to which all of us must abide.

    Following rules that are wrong, just because they are rules, is the behavior of sheep, not intelligent people who refuse to put up with being mistreated.

    Lastly, if you are not the majority or part of the “general public”, stop being surprised and sometime overwhelmed by these sort of things.

    Surprised? Yes, because as I’ve already noted, no other venue has ever treated me the way KRF did.

    Overwhelmed? No, not really. Angry, not overwhelmed.

    You seem to be saying that people in minorities should just shut up and get used to being treated poorly by the majority. Now there’s a philosophy I want to guide my life! Not!

    Reply
  28. Andrea

    On the tail end….hopefully

    I believe this is being made into a bigger situation than necessary. Like many people, why did you not eat beforehand and prepare appropriately? I often schedule my food intake throughout each day due to sugar problems I have recently. I often place small items (snacks, bars etc) in my bag and even places like six flags didn’t deny me, even going to see the red sox (boston), they didn’t mind, nor did I have to explain. But an entire lunch? Especially if you have children, I would have thought you would have planned to have eaten a bit beforehand, leaving the option to maybe eat what was there, and if they did not provide anything due to your decision to be Kosher, than you would have been ok.

    It disturbs me to think you would cause this type of upheaval based on the fact you were denied to bring in your own food. Then, you are using the fact that you are Kosher as the reason you think they didn’t let you in. What a poor excuse for the use of the word discriminate.

    What gave you the idea you can picnic at any event you want? If you had gone to a concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center, would you have packed a picnic? Then blamed them for not letting you bring it inside and eat it?

    Just breathe, we have bigger issues in the world. I truly believe you were only denied because it was a rule, that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less There are many rules, to which all of us must abide.

    Lastly, if you are not the majority or part of the “general public”, stop being surprised and sometime overwhelmed by these sort of things.

    Reply
  29. Barbara

    First of all, I applaud you informing the public of the problems that one with dietary restrictions faces to attend KRF.
    I am an avid fan of renaissance faires, and I have recently joined Weight Watchers. I was happy to learn that CTRF had no problems with you bringing in your own food. It is hard, and in some cases impossible to eat at a fair if you have dietary restrictions. I also had no problems bringing food into the many country fairs I attended this season.
    It is a shame that you had such a bad faire experience, but it is good that you found a more hospitable faire.

    Reply
  30. jik Post author

    Do you see a large difference in meaning between my paraphrase, “surely you have better things to do,” and your original words, “I’m sure you have much more important and pleasurable things to do”? I certainly don’t.

    It’s a sure sign of someone having been backed into a corner when they start nit-picking other people’s word choices. You know what I meant. I know what I meant. What I meant is completely consistent with the exact words you wrote, even if I didn’t quote them exactly. Don’t waste my time with pointless language arguments; I do surely have better things to do than that.

    I mentioned before how I’m constantly amazed by how many people there are in the world who think it’s OK to tell other people how they should be spending their time. Well, I’m also constantly amazed by how many people there are in the world who are incapable of admitting they were wrong. Try it, it’s easy.

    Reply
  31. Danielle

    First of all, I don’t understand why you quoted “surely you have better things to do” three times when I never once used that sentence. Could you please explain that?
    Also, I have been to King Richard’s Faire before and enjoyed myself quite a bit and am actually planning to go again this weekend. Although, your article has not changed my mind about the faire, I will be more aware to look for the evils of which you speak and make up my own mind, so I would like to thank you for your insight.

    Reply
  32. jik Post author

    The difference should be obvious between telling someone that you think they’re wasting their time (“surely you have better things to do”) and telling someone why you think there’s something they shouldn’t do that they haven’t done yet.

    The former is just rude; the latter is the entire basis of consumer activism.

    “I don’t understand why you are still spending time on this. Can you explain?” is polite. “Surely you have better things to do?” is not. See the difference?

    Whether you “meant to offend” or not, your statement was offensive. And what could “surely you have better things to do” possibly be other than an attempt to tell me what to do?

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  33. Danielle

    “I don’t presume to tell other people how I think they should spend their time.” Oh, but you do. It’s written all over this page.
    My comment was not meant to offend you or tell you what to do. I merely thought that you had more important things to do than write in a blog. I apologize; clearly I was wrong.
    And for the record, you do tell people how to spend, or rather how NOT to spend their time by telling them not to go to KRF. That’s your choice, and all the power to you, but please, don’t be hypocritical.
    Keep on fighting the good fight then!

    Reply
  34. jik Post author

    The point of blog comments is to make the blog a two-way communication medium. I respond because people comment. If a comment isn’t worth responding to, it probably isn’t worth posting (and yes, I do delete some of the comments that are submitted).

    Reply
  35. Ben

    HAHAHAHA. This is great entertainment. I don’t know what’s more amusing: your reponses to the comments, or the fact that you still respond after all this time.

    Reply
  36. jik Post author

    What more are you looking for?

    For KRF to stop treating people like dirt.

    I personally don’t see much good in holding a grudge so long afterwards.

    It has nothing to do with “holding a grudge.” It has to do with (a) warning people who are as concerned about the food issue as I am, so that they can avoid having happen to them what happened to me, and (b) motivating KRF to change its policies. The way you convince a business with management like KRF’s to change its policies is to make it financially worthwhile for it to do so, and the way you to that is by convincing people not to patronize the business because of its bad policies.

    I think that a man with a family should not waste his time complaining on the computer when I’m sure you have much more important and pleasurable things to do.

    1) It’s not about “complaining.”

    2) I don’t presume to tell other people how I think they should spend their time. I’m amazed by the number of people in this world who think it’s OK for them to do that.

    Reply

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