It may require just a jaunt across the Illinois-Wisconsin border to reach the Bristol Renaissance Faire, but for about 100 Lake County residents who spend their summers re-creating life in an Elizabethan town, it's a journey back in time.
Describing themselves as either history buffs or theatrical types, the performers endure sweltering weather in heavy costumes of brocade and velvet for little or no pay to ensure that visitors to the faire enjoy a realistic experience. Only those with the most important roles are paid, the maximum being $200 a week and including administrative work beyond the acting.
"We get actors, we get accountants here," according to Kim Glasman, sales and marketing director of the faire, which began its 11th season June 27 and will continue Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 23, a nine-weekend period in which about 200,000 visitors typically attend. The faire is one of five across the country owned and operated by Renaissance Entertainment Corp. of Louisville, Colo., which leases the land in Bristol.