Friday, October 21, 2016

'Tis the Season--For Renaissance Festivals!

by Linore Rose Burkard

One of the perks of Autumn is the Renaissance Festival. Here in southwestern Ohio, we have a medieval-style fair grounds replete with "Olde"  English buildings, church, and even a jousting area, but it lies sadly vacant all year--until the Renaissance Festival returns each fall.

You've always wanted to be greeted by a Knight in shining armor, right?

When I mentioned to a friend that we had spent a day at the festival, she said, "Last time I went it was fantasy/renaissance. I didn't care for it at all. It was just weird. Was the one you went to just Renaissance?"

Well--the rest of today's post is my answer to her question. I took scads of photos and notes, which, perhaps because I'm a writer, seemed  like the natural thing to do.  

Weird--or Wonderful. You Be the Judge

People love to show off their costumes, and the Renaissance Fair was a golden opportunity. There was goth, wizard outfits, other time periods, and just plain punk stuff.  I took photos of some of the best.  [Click the photo to see the pictures better!] 
Just beautiful! (Notice the wooden stein. They were for sale there.) 
An Archer. 
A Puppeteer (poor photo, sorry)
Crusaders, perhaps? (But the cross is missing.)
Forsooth, another fellow. 
A band of hearty pirates, matey.  

The cloak/coat, left, gets five stars!    
A Red Knight
There were loads of people and loads of shops. The girl in the skirt, ahead, is my daughter.

Stage performances were not all created equal, but this one included fire-eating! 
And voila! He really did it--more than once, ouch.  
The "Fool Hearty" Duo. (They get an A for great costumes.) 
The quintessential magic act, "Cut the girl in two!" 

A truly funny performer. This act included knife-throwing and juggling, besides the tongue-in-cheek humor. Best part of the day!
The second half of the two-man knife-throwing/juggling act. 
Robin Hood and Maid Marion. Family friendly fun.

The husband picture didn't make it, but this lady is the wife in an act that could be called a Medieval-style battle of the sexes. Included some derring-do and swordplay. Fun!  

The shops ran the gamut from neat leather goods to occult weird stuff. There was a wonderful quilt shop and it even had a couple of Christian themed quilts. Animal pelts galore, medieval clothing, jewelry, crystals, pottery, weaving, and more. 
The Sign says: Large Stainless Steel Rings $50.00 - $65.00. 

Wares for sale: 
  • Wood and clay mugs, pottery
  • Staffs, anklets, shields
  • Viking Helmets
  • Garlands, sashes, hair bands
  • Essential oils and incense, candles
  • Walking sticks, wood carvings
  • rings, puzzle rings, necklaces, key chain charms
  • bicornes and tricornes
  • fabric purses
  • knives, axes, old-fashioned pistols
  • fox tails, leather whips, animal pelts
  • swords and scabbards, some hand-forged
  • gemstone wind-chimes
  • chain-mail
  • leather boots, 1/2 boots, moccasins
  • masks, magic wands
  • stained glass hangings
  • dragon eggs (crystals)
  • small stone sculptures
  • rope sandals, flags, archery quivers
  • medieval outfits, children's outfits
  • ladies' corsets, bodices, etc. ("Damsel in This Dress")
  • Elf ears
  • Ye Olde Quilt Shoppe 
  • pictures, artwork
  • "Souvenirs, Gifts and Wares"
  • Wood Shoppe
  • Book Shoppe
Beautiful craftsmanship. Stones come from US rivers.

Food: (The setting may be Renaissance, but they're feeding millennials and they know it!)
  • "turkey legges" (This year's batch was cured like ham and unsatisfactory, in my humble opinion. I like a turkey leg that tastes like turkey.)
  • ale and beer, other alcoholic beverages
  • "Fat Friar's" (Funnel cakes. What kind of fair would be complete without them?)
  • The "Jerusalem Café"--middle eastern
  • Burgers and fries 
  • Soft serve ice cream
  • "Roadhouse BBQ" and "Fool's Pub"
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • "Pot Roast Sundae"
  • "Mac and Cheese Cupcake"
  • Steak Sandwich
  • Pizza, bratwurst, hot dogs, Chicken fingers, etc.etc.
  • Hair braiding
  • Gypsy face painting
  • Henna
A Medieval-style Southern Belle Costume? 
For Sale 

The Entertainment:
Audience participation was de rigueur. (When they ask for volunteers, this is when the wise judiciously avoid eye contact at all costs.) Some of the entertainment was not included with admission, which was about $22 per head. (We went on the buy one/get one admission weekend!)
  • Magic Shows
  • Axe-throwing, Archery. George and the Dragon (Perfect dress-up and play for the kiddies)
  • Stocks (usually empty)
  • A Castle with Dungeon
  • "Fool Hearty"
  • Jousting 
  • Knife-Throwing Comedy Show (the best act we saw)\
  • A medieval cemetery (small but effective)
  • A Maze
  • Horse or Pony Rides
  • Camel ride (A smaller camel, but perhaps it's safer that way)
  • Archery
  • "Drench the Wench"
  • Merry-Go-Round
  • "Test of Strength"
  • Other kiddie rides
  • Live Music
  • And More
Epitaph-cum-Classified Ad?
 "Here Lies Buried the body of Mr. Jared Smith who Died April 23, 1502 in his 73rd year. His widow aged 23 years who Mourns as one who can be comforted lives on Drury Lane in this Village and possesses every Qualification for a Loving Wife."

    Finally, arriving with some pomp at the jousting event, which usually ends the day for us, was good ol' Queen Bess, Queen Elizabeth, that is, in beautiful array.
    "Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth" 
    The Queen with courtiers, at the Joust 

    Do you attend Renaissance Festivals? If so, do you dress in Renaissance style, or what is your favorite feature? 
    This post published first on Heroes,Heroines and History Blog.

    Linore Rose Burkard is best known for historical romance novels with Harvest House Publishers, and now writes YA/Apocalyptic Suspense as L.R.Burkard. Linore teaches workshops for writers in Ohio, is a mother of five, and still homeschools her youngest daughter. Subscribers to her ezine are automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to win a free copy of one of her books, awarded monthly.  Sign up here!  

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