The Tale of an Arizona Renaissance Festival Family


When it comes to the Arizona Renaissance Festival, Jina Naude is an expert. 

She and her husband were married on the festival grounds nearly fourteen years ago. Now, being on the festival grounds has become part of tradional.

“I’ve actually been a part of the festival for about 13 years now,” said Naude.

She volunteers as a way to practice her acting skills.

“I’ve been everything from a dancer to a noble woman, to a down in the dirt leper” she said.

In this year’s role as the village leper, she walks around telling really bad puns about body parts. 

Not only does she gets to utilizing her theatrical skills, volunteering at the festival also serves as an escape from everyday life.

“Regular life can be kind of stressful…having to be responsible for everything and I can just come out here and be a different person, step into a different person and just have fun with it,” she explained.

Being a volunteer takes months of training, and months she believes are well worth the experience.

Not only does she come out each year, she brings her family along. 

This year, she gets to watch her kids in more sought-after roles.

“My son is a peasant…my daughter in the Princess…she of course is second in line for the throne right now,” she said.

She understands the major contrast, especially when it comes to her daughter.

“Her biological mother is the lowest ranking citizen of Fairhaven,” she jokes.

It sounds like a family rivalry, but they all just enjoy spending time with one another. 

“It’s just really neat to come out here and just seeing my kids and see them blossoming as actors and just having fun,” she added. 

In addition to the family bonding, she says the other cast members are like a second family. 

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