Letter: Mark Worden steps down from Renaissance in the Pines
It has been about 15 years since the Renaissance in the Pines board members signed on with Mike Morgan to develop a Renaissance park in Williams, Arizona.
With Mike Morgan’s untimely death at a very early age, it was like the air going out of that balloon. My original partners headed back home to join their families in Washington State. I stayed in Williams with my family and restarted our efforts. It has always been our goal to bring a Renaissance-themed interactive park that would be open throughout the year — 10 months or more — in Williams.
As you may remember, my original partners and I had already put on Renaissance in the Pines at Fort Tuthill Fairgrounds in Flagstaff for many years. I gathered many friends and supporters and went to work. We started by putting another Faire in Flagstaff in a campground by Mount Elden, calling it the Grand Canyon Renaissance Faire. We introduced the Poor Man’s Comedy Joust and Combat Foray, which became a giant hit at our event. We put on several dinner shows and a themed Renaissance wedding at the World Famous Sultana Theatre in Williams and have been working on this project ever since.
Last week we came to terms and have an agreement with John Pela and Associates to be the architectural firm through the first phase or construction, including the castle and castle yard, feast and reception hall, pub with a stage, field of honor, 10 guest rooms and two suites at a cost of up to $10 million. John is an amazing addition to our team and we are so happy to have him and his crew on board. We know the value he will bring to the Renaissance Park Conference and Event Center. He has a wealth of experience as a contractor and will bring his expertise in building and design.
After 15 years of great work trying to bring this project to Williams, it is with some sadness that I must announce I am stepping down as managing director. I have truly enjoyed much of the work I have been a part of, but I find it is time for me to pass the torch on to others to bring the park to life.
If others choose, they will take over. I have made myself available for public relations and marketing, consulting or to serve as a temporary general manager if the need arises. I need to concentrate on my family and my future right now (and my writing too). Despite our best efforts, we could only bring this project to fruition to this point.
The dream lives on, the work continues.
Special thanks to Williams-Grand Canyon News for keeping the community informed about our work on the park. I will stay on as general manager through the end of 2019.
Exiting Managing Director
Grand Canyon Renaissance Experience