Archive for the Arizona Renaissance Festival Category

Close Call

Posted in Arizona Renaissance Festival, Fire, Greyhounds of Fairhaven on 30 March 2010 by The Greytheist

Sunday, March 28, 2010, was the last day of the 2010 Arizona Renaissance Festival, and for the first time in its 22-year run, the festival opened late – 10:30 a.m. rather than 10:00 a.m. Not too bad, considering the cause of the late opening: The Queen’s Kitchen, one of the festival’s three kitchens, caught fire early Sunday morning and burned to the ground. Fortunately, no one was hurt and, except for the half-hour delay in opening, the fire did not affect closing day other than to make the lines at the other two kitchens longer than usual and give some of the street actors a new “bit” for the day.

Greyhounds of Fairhaven is located just three booths away from the Queen’s kitchen, so it was a bit of a close call for us. We were lucky that the wind was out of the east that morning, rather than coming from the west as it usually does, otherwise it could have blown the fire right at us. Not only could we have lost the wonderful booth the festival built for us, but we could have lost all of our belongings and the cargo trailer we use to haul everything to the different faires in which we participate. Thank you, wind from the east!

The tanker truck and pool of water set up to help fight the fire.

Our booth is the one on the left in the picture above, with the gold, green, and burgundy banners blowing in the wonderful wind from the east. The next booth over (the castly-looking one) is Burnt Mountain Crafts (ironic name, given the circumstances), which sells wooden swords and shields for the kids. Hidden behind the tanker is a vendor who sells real swords (see picture below); their roof was burned a bit.

The sword shop with the remains of the Queen's kitchen still smoldering beside it.

Another view of the sword shop and smoldering ruins.

The smoldering remains of the Queen's kitchen.

A fireman (center) waters down the still-smoking remains of the kitchen.

A fireman applies water to the backstage kitchen area.

In the picture above, note the propane tank on the left and the proximity of some of the burnt buildings. Scary. Apparently one of the CO2 canisters from the soda booth that was part of the kitchen got caught in the fire and exploded, sending it flying through the air to the nearby mews where the birds of prey are housed. All of the birds were rescued safely.

Another view of the backstage area and the proximity of the propane tank.

The sausage shop next to the kitchen, the only vendor shop to suffer extensive damage.

Before the fire, you would not have been able to see the Superstition Mountains from this vantage point.

A full view of the damage before the Festival opened.

The pictures below were taken Monday morning when we went to the Festival site to pack up for the year.

On the bright side: Next year, we’ll have a shiny new Queen’s kitchen!