REVIEW: Avalon Faire sends Kilgore back in time

Avalon Faire Axe Throwers

PHOTO BY SARAH REDFORD

The wonderland of the Avalon Faire in Kilgore takes a step back into the glorious days of old, and days that never were. The faire is found at 1076 FM 1252 W, Kilgore, 75662, and is open each weekend in April. Tickets may be purchased on-line or at the box office on-site.

Season passes are available for $75 which allows you to attend all five weekends and receive free water. Day passes are $12 for adults, $6 for ages 12 and under and the littles four and under may enter without charge. Tickets are not weekend specific.

This is the third year for Avalon Faire to open its gates in Kilgore. Upon entering the grounds, the clash of lances can often be heard as mounted knights on their fearless steeds’ joust to the roar of the crowds.

Sir Mordred (played by James Fortner), rides Asgard (Liberty), his destrier, to battle other knights from the Hanlon-Lee Action Theater. This is the group’s 24th year traveling the country to delight young and old alike.

The path continues through open fields lined with large shade trees that surround a small pond. Stages abound for the entertainers to work their magic upon the masses. Such crowd pleasers as Knightwings – a bird of prey exhibition, Dr. DeWitt and his Punch and Judy puppets and belly dancers from all over east Texas await the faire goers.

There are vendors scattered throughout the grounds with a plethora of wares on display. Need a new pair of fairy wings: Lydia Perlick handmakes the ethereal offerings at Faeward Inn.

Love the sound of a hammer striking metal? Stop by The Damn Yankee Blacksmith, and listen as Logan Talonsgrip tells a gripping tale accompanied by the melody of his hammer and anvil.

As you wander the grounds, be prepared to see elves or pirates. If you are lucky, you might even see a queen.

Come hungry and thirsty because treats for the palette await. The Dragon Pit offers typical faire food such as burgers and brats.

The Lusty Lemon has a lemonade that is outstanding and they offer reduced price refills.

There are bridges to cross, axes to toss, roaming performers and sights, sounds and smells aplenty.

Avalon Faire is small when compared to the Texas Renaissance Festival and Scarborough Renaissance Festival but it has some of the same feel, just on a much more intimate level.

There are not as many vendors, food stalls or entertainers but what is there is on par with a larger faire. Getting lost is not a problem as the site is not huge, but there is plenty to see and do throughout the day.

The atmosphere is exciting but laid-back and there is something to see around every corner as you wander across the fields, under the trees, across the bridges and through the woods.

Avalon Faire is worth the price of admission, especially as it offers a glimpse into a world that is not run-of-the-mill east Texas.

The observant mind, LIVING THE DREAM: Part one of a series

Photo by Timothy Stuckey / THE FLAREPhoto by Timothy Stuckey / THE FLARE

Listen. Just listen, and you might be able to pick up on the quiet passion behind his words. You might not notice him. He may be just another classmate, just another fellow student to you, but he notices you. After all, that’s part of how he writes his stories.

Tristan Jensen, Portland, Oregon, freshman and member of the American Honors program at KC, is a 19-year-old published author. His first novel, Dayrunners, was published in December 2014, and his second, Parallel, in March 2016. He is working on his third and fourth books, one a supernatural novel about a private investigator named Ruby Karr, the other a sequel to Parallel.

“Do people-watching,” Jensen said when asked about the inspiration behind Karr, “because you look at people, and you start to see their kind of weird intricacies and their little habits that they think that you don’t see . . .. I think that helps create your characters.”
His writing style is reminiscent of writers like Douglass Adams and Dean Koontz.

“I like Adams’ comedic styling,” Jensen said. “I like his sarcastic tone that he brings into his stories, and I think that’s influenced my writing quite a bit.”

Despite the fact that he has already been published, Jensen is still hesitant to pin a definitive genre on his stories.

“I’m still trying to find my permanent genre,” Jensen said. “If I had to have a preferred genre, it’d either have to be mystery or adventure, because that’s what I’ve written and that’s what I really enjoy.”

“I know that I like the concept of fiction better than I do non-fiction,” he said. “I like the idea of creating a story rather than telling a previously-lived story. I’m just trying to find my specialty, you could say.”

KC sociology instructor Tina Rushing commented on Jensen’s class participation.

“He was quiet, at first, but he always makes very thought-out responses, and he asks good questions,” Rushing said. “He always brings up things from different points of view that maybe not everybody else has thought about. We do discussion questions through Blackboard, and he’s very thoughtful in his responses.”

“You can see that he does well with critical thinking,” Rushing said, “and he’s thinking not only about the question I asked them to respond to. You can tell that he’s thinking about other things that might be related to this, or if it sorts of sparks off another path for him.”

Jensen confirmed this when asked about the possible future for his books.

“Parallel, that I published this year, is going to be a series,” he said. “I’m planning on making that one a six-book series, possibly seven. I mean, there’s just so many things. I have a binder by my bed that I keep. I wake up in the middle of the night with a good idea and I write it down so I don’t forget it, and it’s pretty much full at this point.”

This creative nature however, does not translate into disjointed storytelling in Jensen’s novels.

“I think he did a good job of immediately bringing the reader in, because he starts right off and talks about the plane crash,” Rushing said about the opening of Dayrunners. “I like when authors sort of grab your attention from the beginning, so yeah, I think it’s pretty well written.”

Jensen plans on expanding into other forms of media, like e-books and audio books, in the near future.

“I feel like even those who are challenged, you know, impaired visually, shouldn’t miss out on the ability to still use their minds in a creative way to see in a fictional story and to create that story for themselves,” Jensen said. “I think that audio books do that very well, so I’d like to get into that media.”

Film however, is more of a mixed bag. Jensen said, “If the opportunity arises I’d be happy to sign a contract to do a movie or something. My only problem I have with [book-based] movies is that they cut out parts. I feel like I’d have to pull a Stephen King and direct it myself, or at least be standing behind the director, going, ‘No, we don’t need to cut that, that’s perfectly fine as it is.’”

Jensen finished with some advice for potential future authors.

“Obviously, don’t force your characters; let them grow as characters. I think that you just need to let the character really flesh out. Let them do what they’re going to do as a character; don’t make a choice that would go against things that you already set up for them. So if your character is stubborn and a thief, they’re going to steal something, whether that’s bad for the story or not; you just need to work around that. You don’t want to break character and break immersion; that’s just not good for the story.”

 

The Flare takes Sweepstakes at TCCJA competition

FlareStaff1_2014_ORufus

The Flare’s 2014 – 2015 newspaper staff.

 

The Flare newspaper won Sweepstakes in the Division II newspaper category at the Texas Community College Journalism Association’s annual fall meeting and competition held at the end of October in Austin. The newspaper also received first place in Overall Excellence. The Flare Magazine got an honorable mention in Overall Excellence The event was held in conjunction with the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association’s national convention.

KC students received awards in all but one of the newspaper categories, as well as several awards for magazine. They also brought home a few on-site contest awards.

The publications were judged from the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters. Rachel Stallard and O. Rufus Lovett were 2014-15 publications advisers. Tory Van Blarcum and Kathryn Agee were editors of The Flare. Sara Holmes was editor of The Flare Magazine.

Flare_Staff2_2014_ORufus

The Flare’s 2014-2015 newspaper staff.

 

Kathryn Agee: Second place, Newspaper Column Writing; third place, News Writing; third place, Newspaper In-Depth Reporting; honorable mention, Newspaper News Photo

Daniel Brown: Third place, Newspaper Cartoon

Michael Brown: First place, newspaper Sports Photo

 Leah Bryce: First place, Newspaper Feature writing

Max Cervantes: Third place, Newspaper Column Writing

 E’Lexus Hodge: second place, Newspaper picture page; Third place, newspaper feature photo

 Sara Holmes: First place, Newspaper Picture Page; second place, Newspaper picture page; third place, Magazine Photo

 Tiffany Johnson: First place, Newspaper News Photo; second place, Newspaper picture page; honorable mention Newspaper Sports Action Photo

 Julianna Kendall: Honorable Mention, Newspaper Feature Writing

 Sumeyee Samento: First place, Newspaper Feature Photo

 Tory Van Blarcum: First place, Newspaper Sports Action Photo

 Victoria Whitwell: Honorable Mention, Sports Feature

Newspaper staff: second place, Newspaper Layout/design; third place, Editorial Writing; third place, Newspaper Website; third place, Newspaper Advertising; third place, Newspaper Headline Writing; honorable mention; newspaper in-depth reporting; two honorable mentions, Magazine Layout

FlarePhotographers_2014_ORufus

The Flare’s 2014 – 2015 photography staff.

 

The staff  also won numerous Gold Circle Awards through the national Columbia Scholastic Press Association competition.

 Kathryn Agee: Third place, Sidebar Writing; honorable mention, Personal Opinon/Off-campus Issues

Leah Bryce: Honorable mention, Non-fiction Article (The Flare Magazine)

Sarah Holmes: Second place, Photo Story; honorable mention, Photography Portfolio of work (The Flare Magazine)

Tiffany Johnson: Third place, Photography Portfolio of work; second place, Photography Portfolio of work (The Flare Magazine)

John Nieto: Third place, Photo Illustration

Tory Van Blarcum: Second place, Typography – A Designed or Art Headline

Staff: First place, Op-Ed or News Analysis Page Design; third place, Single Subject News or Feature Package, Single Page Design Portfolio of work

Page 7B 4-24-15

The Flare’s first place winning Op-Ed or News Design Page from its April 24, 2015 issue.