It’s been 15 years since I attended the Renaissance Festival. When I last attended, they had not extended the rear of the property yet, the Well Wenches were gaining popularity, and Ded Bob was beginning to upgrade his set. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, perhaps I can give a brief description: The Renaissance Festival is an outdoor yearly celebration of the Renaissance Period (European art and expression culture – 14th through 17th century). Some attendees of the festival dress up for the period, and many who dress up stay in character as well. There is jousting, food and wine tasting, weaponry, and crafts from the period. It can be a fun and fulfilling experience, as well as an all-day activity for anyone determined to catch all the sights, sounds, and events. Since I have attended many times before, this article is more my commentary on the sights of the day. The weekend I attended was the Highland Fling, where gentlemen compete in tossing logs across the field. Yup, you heard me right.
People watching has always fascinated me. It is one thing to observe the extravagant dress at the average Comic Con attendee but it is something else to observe folks dressing to fit into a time period and lifestyle. Of course, the voyeurism goes hand in hand with the entertaining acts of the festival.
One of the first acts our group came upon was a pair of women who walked the stage while stretching, then balancing swords on their heads. This show, like nearly all the others, included a moment when the performers would step out into the audience in search for volunteers. As I am not familiar with women balancing cutlery on their heads in a safe manner, I kept a safe distance…for fear of accidentally severing a limb and as not to disrupt their delicate artistry at work.
There were rides for the kids that would more or less reflect entertainment when limited on resources during that time period. A giant sling bungee, resembling more of a slingshot, could be a fun experience for kids on an empty stomach. While watching, I couldn’t help but think, ‘I wonder how far could it launch children into space?’
There were several merchant strips throughout the festival, selling everything from period apparel and fragrances to authentic weaponry and artwork. One thing I noticed when passing through a particular strip were a few of the residents actively perched on the roof. They were not behaving crudely, but they appeared to enjoy observing passers by and commenting amongst themselves. They didn’t have social media back then.
When our group stopped for lunch, we had our pick of turkey legs, pickles, and tacos, among other things. While sitting and savoring our meals we noticed a lone dragon knight. He was non-threatening and mainly kept to himself. He was considerate enough to engage with anyone passing by, and would even participate in picture-taking with youngsters. At one point, I believed we were in agreement in thinking it would be in poor taste to eat a child in the food court.
As I had witnessed rooftop onlookers earlier, it wasn’t surprising to catch a vision of death gazing out from another balcony. Since it was a hot day, and shaded areas are limited, it only made sense to see death waiting in the wings for any individuals who might fall from exhaustion. Since I hadn’t noticed anyone gathering up the corpses of any fallen attendees, death’s presence was still necessary and essential in maintaining a tidy and corpse-free festival.
When three from our group were chosen to compete in a kilt-wearing authenticity competition, I was fortunate to be standing in the audience with the rest of our group, where we spotted a rare moss-man. Much like any convention or comic-con, it is always an unexpected joy to witness rare creatures, like the moss-men, emerge from their natural habitat and become one with mankind in celebration. Thankfully, the one we spotted stood among the crowd and never gave in to sampling the livestock nearby.
A Renaissance Festival cannot be a festival without a jousting event. Even though it was the weekend of the Highland Fling, in this particular jousting match, one opponent play-acted being intoxicated. Suffice it to say, the jousting event was successful. Neither knight, nor any families, nor staff members were harmed, although I noticed a lack of era-specific law enforcement on sight if anything unfortunate had occurred.
As the day came to a close, we were fortunate to witness a tall and elegant tree creature, surrounded by children. I was less familiar with this species of animal than I was the moss-men. I am typically quick to assume that odd creatures attending these events generally feed off of children or livestock, but judging how it greeted the surrounding children, it would seem that this creature either fed on insects…or other trees. Yes, this creature could possibly be a cannibal…just saying.
No weekend plans? How about attending the Renaissance Festival? Give it a go – such sights to see!