Fair's Been Good to Renaissance Pair

Article excerpt

Chris and Bethany Buylla of Smithton eagerly anticipate the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival each year.

"It is such a family community. It's like going to summer camp every year," Bethany Buylla said.

Held on six weekends from the end of August through September, the festival is located off Route 70 in West Newton.

Bethany Buylla runs Shire Candles, a craft booth featuring hand- made candles, while her husband, who goes by the stage name Doc Dixon, performs comedy magic shows throughout the day.

"I think there's something out there for everybody," Chris Buylla said.

He said anyone who thinks the festival is just for people who are into history might as well think Disney World is just for people who are into mice.

"Most of the entertainment is targeted with adults in mind, and yet kids have fun, too," he said. "Kids get a big kick out of it."

Chris Buylla admits that when he first got involved with the festival in 2000, he wasn't sure he would enjoy it, but now he has become a regular there, known for his sleight of hand, comedy and pick-pocketing.

The show, he said, is reasonably true to the Renaissance period, "but I'm not a total stickler."

Chris Buylla's passion dates back the days when, as a 12-year- old, he tried his hand at magic in his hometown of McKeesport. Now he does as many as 350 shows a year throughout the nation, many in corporate and educational settings.

Because he travels extensively, sometimes as far away as Las Vegas, Chris Buylla especially enjoys the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, because it only takes him seven minutes to drive there from his home.

While he performs at noon, 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m. on the Rose Stage, his wife mixes with the artisans at Shire Candles.

A fan of the Renaissance Festival, Bethany Buylla encouraged her husband to get involved in 2000 and then asked organizers what she might contribute to the event.

She was told there was a need for candles, so she took candle- making classes. …