A devastating fire struck the Hollow Hills Farm on Sunday, Feb. 9, and totally decimated the Elizabethan-style timber-framed barn at the site for the West Virginia Renaissance Festival.
It was more than just a barn, however, it was also the location for this year’s Bowl Party on Halloween and other group events. In the future, plans were to have living quarters built upstairs, as well as a bed and breakfast with guest rooms. Co-owners of the property, Tasso Stavrakis and Dawn Kieninger, speculate that the fire originated from a faulty heating lamp and strong winds that “whipped the fire out of control.”
The community is coming together to help the owners recover from this tragedy so that the festival can continue this year. A fundraiser will be held at Hill & Holler in Lewisburg on Sunday, Mar. 10, from 1:30 to 8 p.m. There will be hourly raffles of prizes, a silent auction of donated goods and services from local merchants, and live music throughout the day. Musicians will include area favorites such as Jim Morgan, Patrick O’Flaherty, Jim Snyder, Annie Stroud, Nathaniel Altare and Nathan Seldomridge and Dan Freeman.
One of the organizers of the fundraising event, Alaina Hower, lifelong resident of Greenbrier County, said, “In its first year the renaissance festival made it clear that it is, and will be for decades to come, a much loved and vital part of the valley’s cultural fabric and economy. All of us involved want to be able to give back to Taso and Dawn and help ease the burden just a bit.”
After the fire, Stavrakis and Kieninger said, “We have had a devastating setback but the show must go on. Look forward to more acts, more food, more fun as we celebrate midsummer-and a big old fashioned barn raising in the fall.”
The inaugural season of the WV Renaissance Festival in June of 2018 was a resounding success, and is the only one of its kind in West Virginia. Folks from far and near made the trip out Route 60 West of Lewisburg to escape to a medieval fantasy land replete with jousts, pirates, hilarious nuns, and even a mermaid.
The festival is the love child of Stavrakis and Kieninger, and has been years in the making. In this sometimes sleepy valley festivals are a big deal. Taste of our Towns, the Chocolate Festival and the WV Literary Festival all call Lewisburg home. The WV Renaissance Festival was well on its way to becoming another beloved local event.
For more information, please visit the fundraising event Facebook page at “Community Fundraiser for WV Renaissance Festival.” The fundraiser is free and open to everyone. Donations are gratefully accepted.