Maryland Renaissance Festival
Nine weekends in a virtual 16th century village, the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival features hundreds of professional entertainers — King Henry VIII and his entourage, jousts on horseback, 12 stages of continuous entertainment, comedy and skills, swordswallower extraordinaire Johnny Fox, magicians, acrobats, authentic costumes, music, taverns, yummy foods and superb craftspeople. For a closer, more intimate look at many of the individual performers, visit the Revel Grove unofficial but clearly very loving site. It's the next best thing to being there.

Photograph by R. H. Grainger. Click for larger view (51KB).

The Kadon gamepuzzles booth is aptly named "Ye Olde Gamery" and provides an arcane arcade atmosphere with challenges and laughs galore. There is a $1.00 playing fee per puzzle, refunded upon purchase. Our award-winning pavilion (above), constructed in 1998, is a spacious 20x24x24 ft. and replaced the long-outgrown original booth used since 1985. This Festival is our home show. We've been a fixture with fairgoers for 30 years as of the 2013 season.

Photograph by Arthur Blumberg, 2011

Photograph by Dick Jones, 2010

The spacious interior of the Kadon booth has lots of room for displaying many puzzles on the walls, and plenty of seating for players and puzzlers to be entertained. In 2010 we added new chandeliers.

Starting with the 2010 season, we've had the lovely assistance of the talented Meshele Merchant—bellydancer, fortune teller, master chef, artist/painter, serving wench, and puzzle instructor. This day she wore a jingly outfit in honor of the festival's Pirate Invasion theme. The shy gent in white shirt is our resident game master, Richard Grainger.

Photo by Dick Jones

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2013

A typical scene of eager crowds at play with boardgames and puzzles. Many visitors arrive in costume to match the theme.

Photograph by Dick Jones

Mistress Katrina, the proprietress, is seen here in her Renaissance regalia, with bodice laced, ready for visitors to test their wits on the puzzles.

Photograph by Art Blumberg

Mistress Eileen introduces a young visitor to the strategies of Tara, the game of Celtic knots. Eileen is a member of the Games Club of Maryland and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and a most gracious hostess at the Gamery.

Photograph by Art Blumberg

Dick Jones is part of the Saturday crew. He's especially good with the kids who eagerly come in to try the puzzles.

Photographs by Art Blumberg, 2008

Rolinda Collinson, our lovely and vivacious goose mistress who came on board in the 2008 season, brings fun and delight to visitors of all ages in experiencing an authentic Renaissance game, The Royal Game of the Goose, a unique and exclusive feature at Ye Olde Gamery. Even the King and his court succumbed to her charms and visit annually to engage in gaming and royal banter.

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2009

Photograph by Dick Jones, 2010

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2011

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2012

Photograph by C.C. Wise, 2013

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2013

On a return visit, the King and his companions (above) made merry indoors to stay out of the rain. Afterward His Majesty delivered a personal and eloquent commendation to Mistress Katrina (below) upon Ye Olde Gamery's 30th anniversary at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Must have been a cold day, judging from Kate's warm duds. Bearded gent at right is Seth Bonder, a frequent crew member at the Gamery. This day the Gamery also hosted an official 2013 Celebration of Mind for Martin Gardner's birthday.

Photograph by Art Blumberg, 2013

Gorgeous in any garb — Rolinda in pirate scarf or wreath.

  Photograph by Arthur Blumberg, 2009

The Challenge Games
Sir Richard takes on a young challenger in the game of Squint. The challenges are a popular and suspenseful attraction for onlookers and contestants alike. Winners get special tokens to redeem in the booth or keep as trophies. Quaint factoid — notice the unfinished walls. This was the new booth's first weekend.

Photograph by Kimberly Kiddoo, 1998

As Kadon's resident gamemaster for 30 years (he retired in 2013), Sir Richard was one of the most colorful and esteemed characters of the "village." Here he is again, a year later, this time with longer hair and shorter beard, pondering a particularly strategic move. Note the now-finished stucco walls. At right, an even longer beard to approach the Gandalf look.


Sir Richard kept careful logs of his seasonal wins and losses. Here, with his non-leaky quill he's recording the day's scores. On a good day, challengers had a 15% chance of victory.

Photograph by Arthur Blumberg, 2011

An award-winning 28-page "Renaissance" edition of the Kadon catalog is printed on parchment-like paper, in Shakespearean style, rhymes and all (copyrights 1996, 1998 and 2000). It won a special publication award in October 2003 from Festival management. For a close-up view of the cover page of this unusual document, click on this miniature:

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