We are saddened to learn that Phyllis Patterson passed away on May 18, 2014. She was a passionate and artistic woman who conceived and created the modern Renaissance fair; and without her vision, the world of belly dance might be quite different today.
Phyllis Ann Simbert was born on January 25, 1932 in Tennessee. She married Ron Patterson, and in the 1960s the couple lived in Laurel Canyon near Hollywood California. Phyllis was a high school drama and English teacher, and Ron was a UCLA-educated art director. The couple held various after school theater and art workshops in their back yard for students. In May 1963, Phyllis and Ron produced the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire as a fundraiser for KPFK, a listener-sponsored radio station. (Edited audio broadcast with still photographs from the original fair held on May 11 and 12, 1963)
The Faire was faithfully modeled on a 16th century country fair. The annual Spring event grew steadily and, by 1967, a second Faire was held yearly in the fall in Northern California at China Camp in Marin County.