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RenFaire, other virtual events offer new forms of fun


How many of you attended a Zoom meeting prior to March 15, 2020?

If you’re like me, you’d never even heard of Zoom.

Also, if you’re like me, you’ve developed a love/hate relationship with Zoom and other group video meetings. For the sake of this column, I’m going to generically call all video meetings Zooms, even though I know there are several different options.

Fortunately, my Zoom meeting schedule has averaged less than two hours per week.

Others face a much more grueling going. Students, teachers and many others face multiple hours each day of staring into the faces of others.

Like with anything else, though, there is education, enlightenment and even some fun to be had in these meetings. It can be fun to inspect people’s backgrounds, getting some inside glimpse into their lives. Almost every Zoom meeting has one or two attendees dealing with the Star Wars Effect. That’s when their Internet connection glitches or slows down, so their voice sounds like a Star Wars droid. And who hasn’t had at least one Zoom interrupted by a cat, a dog or some other curious pet?

I don’t know if it will bring a dragon across your screen, but one of Las Cruces’ biggest annual events is going virtual this year. In fact, part of it is already going on.


The 49th annual Renaissance Arts Faire won’t be bringing jousting horses, turkey legs and regal greyhounds to Young Park this year, but the Dona Ana Arts Council (www.daarts.org) already has opened the faire’s online marketplace, as well as contests.

Can you and your friends re-create a classic scene from a Renaissance-era work of art? Give it a shot. And enter the contest. Can you make a great Renaissance costume? Do it. And enter the contest. How about just a mask? Enter that contest, too.

The always popular RenFaire auction goes online this year, Nov. 1-7. And you can begin previewing the goodies Oct. 23.

They have not yet figured out how to get the turkey leg to your email inbox, but give them some time.

Gatsby Gala

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico has done some powerful work during the pandemic, helping people in need.

To celebrate that work, and to raise money to continue the work they do throughout our region, CFSNM is having, yes, a virtual event. It’s 6 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 17. Knowing everyone’s Zoom fatigue level, they are limiting the event to 45 minutes. It will include party boxes, featuring people dressed in Gatsby attire and other fun stuff. You can tune in at http://bit.ly/WatchGatsbyGala2020.

There will be live and silent auctions at www.charityauction.bid/communityfoundation.

Zoom Boom

Like so much of life, Zoom meetings can be fun and engaging, or the most torturous things people can endure. And also like so much of life, it depends on the attitude and actions of the participants.

There actually are some fun and helpful things that can be done on Zoom meetings better than in real meetings. Charts can be displayed on computer screens in front of individuals, better than on a big screen in a real room.

There are downsides, too, of course, such as not being able to see people or accurately gauge reactions. And it’s a little disheartening when you tell a fantastic joke (or at least you think it’s fantastic) and you can’t hear everyone laugh.

For now, though, it’s what we’re stuck with. So let’s all tr to grin and bear it.

And if you so far have avoided having to attend a virtual meeting, I want to give you an actual medal.

Richard Coltharp