NEW AGE RENAISSANCE FAIR

The New Age Renaissance Fair was a psychic, health and visionary art fair.
For 16 years, from 1982 to 1997, it presented today's renaissance in the arts, health and spirit at the San Jose Convention Center and the Santa Clara Fairgrounds


The 16th annual (and so far final) NEW AGE RENAISSANCE FAIR was held the weekend of November 15 and 16, 1997.

Logo for New Age Renaissance Fair

The New Age Renaissance Fair was produced by Eric Meece
AKA E. Alan Meece


author of
Horoscope for the New Millennium

and host of the Mystic Music Program on stillstream.com

If you would like a program for any past year from 1982 to 1997, please contact Eric with your address and I'll mail you a copy. Each program contains valuable historic references to past exhibitors and speakers in the psychic, visionary arts, metaphysical and alternative health fields, to our concerts and other events, staff credits, and also features valuable articles about "new age" topics from health to humor, physics to prophecy and more.

The first Holistic Arts Fair was held on Nov.21-22, 1998. We continued the spirit of the New Age Renaissance Fair. We have had to scale back the size of our event. It currently continues in this new format on the 4th weekend of September every year at Divine Science Community Center, 1540 Hicks Ave. in San Jose. It is now produced by the Holistic Arts Fair Association, a non-profit, educational 501(c)3 organization.


The New Age Renaissance Fair was held at the San Jose Convention Center's Parkside Hall in downtown San Jose each November, from 1984 to 1997, and began at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on November 6&7, 1982 and October 8&9, 1983. A San Francisco version was held at Fort Mason Center in August 1986. The Fair presented and celebrated "today's renaissance" in the arts, health and spirit. Sometimes confused with other "renaissance faires," the theme was 400-500 years more up-to-date, or indeed perhaps ahead of its time.
The earlier New Age Awareness Fairs in 1978 and 1980, and the Science and Spirit Expos in 1974, helped inspire and blaze the pathway for our Fairs in San Jose.

Past speakers at the New Age Renaissance Fair included Marilyn Ferguson, Robert Anton Wilson, Stan Dale, Stephen Gaskin, Marcel Vogel, Ken Keyes Jr., Emmett Miller, Stanley Krippner, Terrie Brill, John Vasconcellos, George Leonard, John Robbins, Nick Herbert, Jeremy Taylor, Paul Williams, Willis Harman, Swami Beyondananda, Ralph Metzner, Steven Halpern, Patricia Sun, Paul Krassner, Anodea Judith, Edith Fiore, Peter Koestenbaum, Gypsy Boots, Courtney Brown, Joyce and Barry Vissell, Bruce Eisner, Ron Lampi, Stephen Abbott, E. Alan Meece, and many others.

The New Age Music Concert was another highlight of the Fair, featuring well-known performers of visionary world music. Among those who performed with us included: Iasos, Ancient Future, Constance Demby, Steve Roach, Country Joe McDonald, Emerald Web, Georgia Kelly, Geist, Paul Greaver, Kevin Keller, Soulstice, Tom Aragon, David Hayden, Tajalli (aka William Wichman) and the Rainforest Band, Scott Huckabay, Stephen Longfellow Fiske, Raphael, Sophia, Astarius, David Michael and Randy Mead, John Doan, Ashwin Batish, Buddy Comfort, Barry Cleveland, Karma Moffett, Worlds Collide, Margaret and Kristoff, Schawkie Roth, and many more.

The Visionary Art Show was a juried exhibition of metaphysical and fantasy paintings and graphics by some of the finest artists in California. Our jurors included professors from San Jose State University.

Our UFO Panel has continued on at the Holistic Arts Fair, and helped inspire Victoria Jack to produce her own annual UFO Expo in San Jose for many years. Speakers at our Panel included Steven Greer, Ruben Uriarte, Randolph Winters, and moderator Robert Perala. At the Nov.1996 panel, "walk-in" prophet Sheldon Nidle created a stir by predicting "mass landings" in early 1997. After they didn't apparently happen, his reputation suffered.

Those attending the Fair could experience 150 to 200 exhibitors sharing their knowledge and offering products. The Fair's exciting exhibits covered the full range of the New Age Movement, such as visionary artists, visionary and fantasy handicrafts, crystals and minerals (often used to focus personal energy), holistic healers such as massage therapists and spiritual energy healers, psychic counselors and others using esoteric methods, personal and spiritual growth centers and practitioners, new age and world music, metaphysical groups and spiritual organizations, holistic and alternative health products, peace & ecology activists, natural food vendors, etc. I am grateful for the support and contribution of these exhibitors, who made the Fair possible.

The Fair's valuable staff included co-producer Stephen Abbott, who helped with much of the publicity from 1984 to 1994. We were also helped by many community merchants, libraries and centers who displayed our literature and flyers.

The 1989 earthquake disrupted but did not stop the Fair. It occured while I was typing up the program, and I lost all the data on the computer. When I re-typed it again, using old data where I could find it, I forgot to change the date from the previous year; so the published program read "Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 & 18". We just said that the earthquake moved the date. Attendance declined that year, however, from it's all-time high of about 5000 in 1988, but became quite successful again, especially in 1991 and 1993 when it finally achieved its original financial target.

People said the New Age Renaissance Fair was often called "a magical place," and had less of the "marketplace" atmosphere of many other similar Fairs, partly due to its lower costs to exhibitors and spectators. It was a place for the New Age community to gather and refresh the spirit. It was successful for 15 years.

But in 1997 attendance declined to about 1500, partly due to El Nino/global warming weather problems, changing interests and demographics, the cost of parking at San Jose Convention Center, the poor visibility of our old Parkside Hall location, and the construction of the Tech Museum in front of it that destroyed its ambience.

The Holistic Arts Fair in November 1998 was an attempt to remedy these problems. We hoped the smaller size, free admission and accessible location at San Jose City College would encourage more people to attend, and that our new non-profit status would attract community support and reduce our costs. It was only modestly successful, and we were not sure how much support there was in Silicon Valley for future spiritual and holistic events. Newspapers would not sponsor us, because we were not a "mainstream event;" so a major publicity drive for a planned Fair in 1999 at a bigger hall was not possible. So we moved again in 2000 to a more compatible location at Divine Science Community Center, and though the new Fair at this location must remain small, it seems to be viable. We hope people will come to our event each September, and show there is still interest in an event like this in Santa Clara Valley.

The Holistic Living Expo, a different event held in downtown San Jose and many other cities, also continues in the tradition of our earlier Fairs. After the end of the New Age Renaissance Fair in 1997, the very-successful Whole Life Expo in San Francisco (which began in 1983) changed its name to the New Age Expo and then the New Living Expo, and now continues in a spirit and theme somewhat closer in nature and style to our New Age Fairs in the 1980s and 90s. It has a greener focus too.

If you are interested in our plans for future events such as the next Holistic Arts Fair or the proposed Heart's Delight Arts Festival, check out our Holistic Arts Fair Association web page.

Contact the producer Eric A. Meece if you would like a program for a past New Age Renaissance or Holistic Arts Fair.


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