Ah, the Renaissance Faire… based on Eastern European history and culture. While titled ‘Renaissance’, it actually encompasses pretty much ALL periods from the beginning of the middle ages (5th century) through the Renaissance ending in the 17th century.
I feel like I should make a disclaimer at the early stage of this post. I imagine most people feel the Faires/Festivals are for ‘white’ people, or ‘nerds’, etc. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Faire is for EVERYONE. There is no discrimination based on your interests, your color, your sexual preference, your age. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy. Even if all you come for is the amazing and fattening Festival food!!
Many people dress up to go to the Renaissance Faire. If you are not comfortable dressing up, you don’t have to. But in my opinion it really helps you to get into the spirit of what the day is about. There are all types of costumes too. You are not limited to a specific era or period costume. I’ve seen people dress up as animals, fairies, pirates, monks, jesters, etc. I’ve even found Waldo! 😉 It’s almost like Halloween, really.
What will you find at the Renaissance Faire?
Every state, region, or country may do things slightly differently. But I can tell you from the Renaissance Faires and Festivals I’ve been to in the United States, there is a LOT to see and do. We get maps of the event location at the entrance. There are restaurants, food carts, beer and wine facilities, games, numerous shops full of garb, weapons, decor, jewelry, books, magic items, glass, steel, pewter, wood, etc. And there are several stages, with different shows and entertainment happening all day long. You can’t even see it all because there is so much happening. There are also hired actors that role play as the current King or Queen, depending on what year they are portraying, as well as members of the royal court. They engage patrons in conversation and song as they make their way around the festival. It’s like walking around in a movie set.
(Photo copyright Brianne Collins)
The most important part-Food and Drink
I admit, I am totally ruled by my taste buds. (Could you tell by my food posts?) Nothing beats Renaissance Faire food. Turkey Legs, Steak on a Stake, giant dill pickles, gyros, pierogis, fruit cobblers, ice cream, frozen bananas, the list goes on! I attempt to try something new each year when we go, because there are so many fantastic foods to choose from.
The Faire’s we attend have specific breweries or wineries they are affiliated with, so that means awesome on site beer and wine. For those of you that drink, this is another bonus. The restaurants will have some other well known beers, but you really should try out the local brew.
Again, even if you aren’t sure you are into the dressing up part, the food and drink alone are worth the visit!
(Yep, that’s me! Just a girl and her turkey leg. Yum!)
Games and Rides
If you’re into skill games, some Faires have archery, crossbow, ax throwing, knife throwing, throwing stars, dunking games (Drench the Wench), etc. And there are sometimes even horse or elephant rides! One of the Faires we attend has a walking maze as well.
The entertainment will also vary, but we have seen magic shows, musicians, bands, hypnotists, comedy, live-action chess game, and children’s shows. My absolute favorite is the jousting competition. Real horses, real armor. The show is acted out and the winner is already determined, but it’s still awesome to watch! And every show encourages audience participation and cheering.
(Photos copyright Brianne Collins)
Check out your closest Renaissance Faire or Festival!
I hope I have convinced you that a Renaissance Faire is worth checking out. Obviously I encourage costumes, especially from CollinsCelticCrafts! But even if you aren’t ready to dress up, go anyway! There is fun for everyone in the family!
Here’s a link for a list of U.S. Faires and Festivals.
(“Simply” meme credit to Edward Smee)
Do you go to your local Renaissance Faire or Festival? If not, is it something you are thinking about checking out in the future? If you do go, is there anything different they offer? What about in other countries?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!