I am waiting for a large, graphics-heavy file to load, so I will try and use the time effectively and tell you why we are Ren Faire geeks.
Because it is fun.
BH and I went to one of the earliest Sterling Renaissance Festival a million years ago when we were teenagers. Sterling is medium-sized, smaller than Maryland or Pennsylvania, but that means you don’t have to battle hundreds of people to get to the front of the turkey leg line. The location is about 10 miles west of Oswego, which makes it about a half hour from our house. The prices are reasonable, the people are kind, and it is my favorite way to spend a summer day,
Wait, you don’t know what a Ren Faire is? Research and read.
What do I love the most? The atmosphere.
Imagine a forest with a high canopy. The ground is covered with mulch, the shade is cool. No poison ivy. Turn a corner and see barrels planted with flowers. Look down the lane and see people walking hand in hand, little kids running ahead, giggling. You can smell the woods and the food cooking. You can hear music; a harp, a mandolin. In the distance, you hear bagpipes, and then the roar of the crowd as swords clash and horses gallop. Everyone is relaxed. There are no arcade games, but you can try your luck at throwing axes or hitting a target with a bow and arrow. (You can also ride a camel or an elephant.)
As you wander through the forest, past the games, past the artisans with their crafts displayed, past tempting food, you can’t help but relax. At least I can’t. BH and I are among the 10-15% of attenders who dress up in period appropriate garb. It is our one true vice. (We were married in our Ren Faire clothes.) Our favorite shop is the Needle Fairy, though I just got an outfit at Wolfstone Kilt Company. I have a long blue skirt that I wear with a white chemise and red brocade bodice. He has a linen shirt, fancy pants (don’t know the proper name of them) and a jacket (again, I can’t remember the right name for it. He looks hot in it, that’s all I care about.) The clothes are very comfortable. We would love to buy period-appropriate footwear, but that is too expensive right now. We will be going back to the Festival on the 30th – I’ll try and get pictures of us dressed up.
If you are looking for adrenaline rushes, screaming children, blaring music, obnoxious people, then do not go to a Ren faire. If you want to relax, dial life back to a simpler time (if only for a couple of hours), then it is the place for you.
(edited to add) Have you ever been to a Ren Faire/Festival? Did you like it, or were you a scornful, world-weary cynic who mocked everyone? Any recommendations about other Faires/ Festivals to visit?