Finding Renn Fayre in the
land of the lost
When this years seniors, smiling
and wet with champagne, began gathering for the thesis parade on Friday
afternoon, the Reed community crossed its fingers and hoped for the best.
After last years staggering damage report of over $15,000, more
than a good time was at stake with this years Renn Fayre.
first glance, the crowd of dancers and singers, of revelers and kissers,
seemed every bit as reckless and exotic as last year. Yet, if the casual
observer might not have noticed a difference, any Reedie could feel it.
The spirit of Renn Fayre had changed, and changed for the better.
In this Land of the Lost, pirates set sail, a Trojan horse
battled Vikings, and Alice hosted a midnight tea party in Wonderland.
For the first time, students and faculty members were invited to create
themed projects with their academic departments. With enthusiasm and creativity,
as well as occasional stealth, the departments embraced the challenge.
Biology spiraled a giant DNA helix around the cross-canyon bridge, linguistics
stacked a Jenga tower of Babel, philosophy modeled Raphaels School
of Athens, mathematics produced robot wars, and a physics UFO descended
on unwary passers-by.
At night, papier-mâché lanterns shone in the trees and fireworks
twinkled in the sky, while students dashed to the glo-opera. Huddled tight
in the amphitheatre, the audience erupted with applause as Max began his
voyage across the seas to Where the Wild Things Are. A surreal mix of
theatreand glo-sticks, the performance of Maurice Sendaks bedtime
favorite was an instant success. Although quieter, Sundays mashed
potato wrestling proved delightfully festive and gross.
if the flashy spectacles of Renn Fayre occupied most of the spotlight,
this year also provided an abundance of mellow retreats for exhausted
Reedies. Perhaps most pleasant, alumni, faculty, and staff volunteers
hosted a communal coffeehouse with free drinks, bakery treats, and live
music for quiet relaxation. In addition, organizations such as Karma Patrol
and Border Patrol helped foster a safe, Reed-only environment, while the
Kleen-up Krew allowed students to take part in the cleaning process.
Overall, last years atmosphere of wild abandon had been replaced
by an often surprisingly calm sense of responsibility. Certainly Renn
Fayre was just as fun, mysterious, and delightful as ever, yet it also
felt slightly more caring, slightly less extreme. Somewhere amidst the
twists and turns of this Land of the Lost, the old spirit of Renn Fayre
had been found at last.