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Examples of Renaissance Faire booth construction and ideas

Booth Rebuild with Canvas Roof

We bought 27-foot wide booth that the festival wanted torn down. It was opento the sky in the center so we added light- weight trusses to connect the existing roofs on either side and covered it with canvas. Although it's hard to tell in the "after" photo this lets an enormous amount of natural light in the booth. Of couse we have to take down the canvas at the end of the season but it meant we didn't have to totally rebuild it with footings to support a permanent roof.

The canvas is ju s t screw ed down with bolts on both sides where they are out of sight, and lashed down through grommets at the gables. If I were to do it over I would make it even easier. and tie it down to eyebolts using rust-proof snaphooks. We made the first canvas r oof ou rsel ves, but it turned gray and dingy rather quickly. After about 4 years we had a tent maker (Spring Valley Lodges) make a new roof out of sun-forger canvas and that is staying bright-looking longer.

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We also took out the short walls on either side o f the front, and brought in several yards of gravel and sand to level the existing d irt floor, and then installed a brick floor. We used "recycled" yellow (Chaska bricks originally made not far from the MNRF site) bricks we sa w adver tised in the want ads that came from from a old farmhouse that had burned down. We covered the old walls with stucco and fake half-timbers and painted the stucco and ceiling white to maximize the light inside the booth

Brainstorming a Period Painting
into a Booth

I saw this painting of a Tudor wedding feast and thought the house might make an interesting booth (I assume the open walls were just the artist's portrayal to show the feast tables in the house). So I scanned it and erased the people, the copied the lower section on the left and pasted it in on the right to create a larger structure for about a 30' wide booth with space above about the size of an efficiency apartment. Of course it would require a large space and large bank account to build, but I thought it might provide some inspiration for similar ideas. Scanned from "English Life in Tudor Times," by Roger Hart.

I would put small windows in the back and end walls to provide lots of light and placed high enough so patrons could not look through them to see "backstage" and provide display space on the walls below them.

Period Doll Houses/Booth architecture

Here is a website for someone who makes dollhouses patterned after various period homes. I thought the different stykes might be inspiration brainstorming for some renfaire booth ideas. Bryan Frost Dollhouses

Pre-fab Booth Brainstorming?

An Idea we have a fantasy about is a sort of portable pre-fab renfaire booth. The idea is to avoid having to build, or buy separate, entire booths at 3 or 4 large fairs. The d ream is to only have footings as permanent placements at each fair, and then have wall panels and a roof that bolt together like a pre-fabricated house and bolt down to the footings. At the end of the fair the parts are disassembled, and then moved to the next location. Of course, weight would be one of the problems -how to make it light enough to transport without an 18-wheeler truck, but sturdy enough to meet building code at various events as well as hold up to repeated assembly/disassembly.

"Bright" Idea? "Deck Prisms"

At times I've toyed with the idea of adding these to the back corners of our shop as a way to add a little more light without going through the expense of putting skylights in the roof. Apparently they were inset into the top decks of 19th century sailing ships to provide a little light on the deck below. I found this one at they sell a couple different sizes and colors. But, I have seen them in other mail order catalogs as well in clearer-colored glass which would probably be better rather than the deeper aqua tint this one would give to the in-coming light.

Post & Beam Construction

An account of building a Renaissance fair booth using tumbers salvaged from a bard that was torn down.

Portable Buildings?

The SCA crowd apparently has some people who have been building portable structures some examples and plans can be found on the Medieval Pavillion Resources Webpage.

Man-powered Fans

For those days when it's very hot and there is NO air moving, we hung some triangular fans attached to a rope in the rafters of our booth. They are simply constructed of wooden dowels with some scrap canvas stretched across them and tacked to the frame. It's just enough to move the air a little and we get lots of amused comments from our customers, occasionaly we can even get a customer's child to do the work for us...

Roll-up door?

I always though if I built a Renfair booth from scratch, to secure it in the off-season, I would use a roll-up garage door like this that could be totally hidden up in the ceiling when it is open. I figure the tracks that it runs in could be hidden behind little hinged panels when it is open. The company that I stole this photo from made them in both aluminum and PVC versions.

Booth building links

Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire Vendor Booth Construction Guidelines

Heart of the Forest Renaissance Faire Booth Building Guidelines