Friday, September 2, 2011

Tragic Fire at Scarborough Renaissance Festival Site Takes a Life

Caretaker's body found in the ashes

Will Ross, the Pickle man
A fire broke out on the site of the Scarborough Renaissance Festival on August 22nd just after 10:30pm. By the time firefighters arrived seven structures were engulfed including a small cabin where caretaker, Will Ross lived on the property. The fire burned a portion of the park known as Holly Field.
Festival spokesman Orvis Melvin says investigators are trying to determine what started the blaze Monday night at the complex near Waxahachie. Melvin said about seven other workers were on the property when it happened and they used the water from the Renaissance fair water trucks to spray the nearby structures and trees until the firefighters arrived. Six fire departments responded to the scene. One firefighter was injured and treated for heat exhaustion.
"It took a while to get the fire cooled down enough to be able to go in to do any searching," said Lt. James Saulter, Ellis County Sheriff's Office. "Once they got it down, it took them about five minutes before they located the victim who was inside."
"We lost seven shoppes including the Holly Field privies and the Holly Field Souvenir Shoppe," Melvin says "The entire upper lane, from the privies to the Legendary Candle Booth, burned to the ground."
Melvin says the 2012 Scarborough Renaissance Festival, set for April 7 through May 28, will be held as planned. "Fortunately, we don't have to do Scarborough Renaissance Festival until next April. We should have all these buildings replaced by then," said Melvin. "There was no significant damage to the Crown Meadow, so Screams® will not be affected." Screams is a Halloween festival held in October on the site.

View more video at NBC DFW: http://nbcdfw.com.
A Memorial service was held on Tuesday, August 30th for Will Ross, also known as the Pickle Man, since he sold pickles at he fair. Friends and family gathered before dusk on one of the park stages to share their memories of this gentle man. The eulogies were followed by a potluck dinner.
After the Memorial Kataz Trophe wrote, "I think Will's family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for Will. I spoke to his Dad for a few minutes, he told me a story, and concluded by saying 'For 10 years before Will started here, he was a lost and troubled man. This place—and all the people in it—saved Will's life and his Soul.'"
(Click for more links to local news.)
Scarborough Renaissance Festival, located about 25 miles south of Dallas was established in 1981 on a 35-acre site near Waxahachie. It attracts 200,000 people a year. The festival runs for eight weekends each spring, according to its Web site. The property is also open each fall as a Halloween theme park.
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1 comment:

  1. Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

    Children who look forward to eating birthday cake with the Queen at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire will not be disappointed this year. The faire will be open as usual having suffered only minor damage and flooding from Hurricane Irene. Candice Smith, media manager for the faire, said that there was some minor flooding and one large tree was downed that has to be removed. Other than that the damage was just debris that would be cleaned up quickly.

    The faire was closed Sunday, August 25, because of fears that the storm might wash out roads and strand people at the faire. All the workers were told to stay home except for the animal caretakers. The horses were kept safe in the barn during the storm and the elephant stayed in his own air-conditioned trailer.

    The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is 80 miles west of Philadelphia near Manheim. PARF runs now through 10/30/2011.

    The New York Ren Fair The New York Renaissance Fair near Tuxedo, NY, only 40 miles north of Manhattan, had to shut down early on Saturday, August 23, in order to fortify the grounds. They had about one thousand patrons on Saturday and the organizers were worried about their safety as well as that of the merchants and performers. After they left, the faire workers took down tents and hanging signs and secured the larger buildings and shops before leaving. The horses were moved to a safe barn 3 hours away. The site manager took the precaution of turning off the electricity to the site before the storm hit.

    Irene passed through overnight leaving felled trees and flooding. According to Wanda Carr, NYRF marketing manager, the pond overflowed and flooded only one office building. No one was hurt and the electricity was only off for about 6 hours. The faire will be open as usual, including Monday Labor Day. This weekend is Fantasy Weekend and next is the Barbarian Invasion. NYRF runs through 9/25/2011.

    King Richard's Fair
    Opening this weekend, the King Richard's fair was less impacted by the hurricane than other fairs that were already up and running. "We will open on time," said Minda Gown, marketing director for King Richard's, "We faired very well. No structural damage, no flooding. We are in the pines so we had a lot of downed branches and we lost power on Sunday." She went on to say that none of the show's horses or big cats were on site, so they were never in danger. Gown said that many people were already helping to get the fair ready for opening and they just switched to storm readiness mode. "Being from Carver, Massachusetts, we are always prepared for the worst. We even had generators for the kitchens to keep the food fresh."

    King Richard's Fair is celebrating it 30th anniversary season this year. KRF is located in Carver, MA less than 10 miles from the coast and 50 miles southeast of Boston. KRF runs weekends plus Labor Day from 9/3/2011 to 10/23/2011.