Fifty-five years ago, there was no such thing as a Renaissance Faire. People didn't even spell fair with an e at the end. It was a dark and dreary time with no giant turkey legs, no jousts, not even a tightly laced bodice. If not for Ron and Phyllis Patterson's love of teaching, the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale would never have been born. Now it is a sprawling 20-acre, 16th century–style party with 20,000 patrons attending every weekend between April 8 and May 21. We visited during this year's opening weekend and documented revelers partying like it's 1599.