It’s Renaissance Fair time! Well, at least in my area.
Most of the Renaissance Fairs (or Faires) intend to show life in the 1500’s, usually in Tudor England. Many fairs encourage a broad range of time periods and costumes though, as fantasy elements and pirates are generally accepted and sometimes even encouraged. The fairs tend to be a mix of entertainment and shopping. Some of the entertainments are educational, such as cultural dances and birds of prey demonstrations, but some are purely for laughs (Tortuga Twins, anyone?). Shopping ranges from jewelry and clothing, to incense and furniture. And the food! Typical fair food I guess, where anything you want fried is on the menu. But there’s also turkey legs the size of your head and mead, at very high prices of course, but where else are you going to find mead readily available?
I grew up going to the Georgia Renaissance Festival (it’s the same age as I am too!). At its old location you used to have to walk through a tree-lined path from the parking lot before finally getting to the entrance gate; hearing the sounds of the fair (the music! the cheering crowds! the general noise of large amounts of people!) for several minutes before finally getting to go in was almost torture for my little excited self. One magical year an employee at the fair requested to take a few promotional photos of my family. In return, we would be given free ice cream sundaes. When you’re eight years old, life doesn’t get much better than ice cream (and almost twenty years later, I’m embarrassed to admit that my feelings haven’t changed much). Since I’ve gotten older I’m really the only one in my family who still enjoys going. My sister has allowed me to drag her along occasionally but she’s moved out of state now and is beyond the begging of her baby sister. This year I may just have to go it alone.
If you’re looking for a fair in your area, this website seems to be a pretty good resource. It’s a year or two out of date but it could be a good starting place to find the fair closest to your city.
Any other fair-goers out there? I’d love to hear your stories too.