Sunday, October 27, 2013

PA Rennaissance Faire

Yes we did realize we had a little too much Disney Cruise garb going on, showing our true colors...
The medieval tool belt with the cup, the weapon, and the change purse...Ah yes, the Renn Faire.

Having given in to my husband's whimsy and finally taken our children to the PA Faire, I have a couple of thoughts.

First of all, it was fun. The kids loved the turkey legs ["BIGGEST CHICKEN LEG EVER" says my son],

the Joust competition ["CHEAT.TO.WIN my daughter learns to shout],

the treats & shopping, of course. It was a great little family day out!

We lasted from about 11:30 to 4 pm, catching a glass-blowing demo, the Joust Competition, a Comedy Improv show, and the "Kamikaze Fireflies" act, which incoporated some circus stunts, juggling fire, and a pretty know, the whole nine yards.

But I started to notice...this is really kind of an adult-centric activity. I used to be creeped out by the intimate knowledge I share of the performer-types who gravitate towards these festivals and their becomes a way of life...they often travel year-round, festival to festival, living a gypsy life that resembles the original gypsy life, complete with fleeting relationships and odd coping skills to the "modern" way of life. It can get very incestuous and, if you are tuned into it,  you can see the underlying relationships and intentions in the performers' improvisations. I know of what I speak, and don't ask me why. Creepy for me. I try to block it out.

But on this occasion, I also found myself checking out the spectators' odd intentions. I wonder what causes you to dress up your baby, his stroller, your wife and yourself in the whole garb? Like, the authentic, expensive garb, and the proud look on your face when you greet your fellow spectators "Good morrow to you my good man", whom you know from previous visits, and your kin in tow? I just don't....I just don't know.

There are some interesting sub-groups in these spectators, and I wonder how they came to choose said subgroups. I'm just working this out here a little...

Steampunk - does this somehow relate to the Industrial Revolution? Hubby seems to think it has a relation to Jules Verne somehow. Isn't that... turn of the century? Like 1900's, people? Cuz the Rennaissance was, like, 600 years earlier...just saying...I'm not bitter or anything that my husband just lost his work Jack-o-Lantern competition to a group who just stuck a bunch of steampunk accessories on a bunch of pumpkins without any carving whatsoever- no, not bitter. Not I! Back to the faire...

Literary buffs - the original birthpeople of the Faire. Can relate everything to Shakespeare (late 1500's by the way), and will quote at least three times before you leave his/her presence. Enjoys a good witty quip and enjoys ripping into you or their counterpart even more. You gotta respect these types. They are in it for the history. They wanna go back to the way things used to be. They're in it to win it.

Beastlies - incorporating some type of animal wear into the concoction. became one with the animal after you killed it in the forests of Nottingham?? And the masks...I mean, would you prefer to wear this out in real life, and you just had to take the opportunity here to live out your fantasies? I wonder...

So what you're saying is, you enjoy being creepy in your leisure time.
 Soliders/Knights - who inevitably have a cell phone attached to their ear along with the thousands of dollars of leather armor on their shoulders. AND REAL SWORDS. Hubby was in the sword shop with the kids and he started to realize that any of these guys could get a little fired up on ye ol' Ale and start swinging REAL BLADES at his children's neck-level. We left the shop promptly. I mean, they check the weapons at security, but only to make sure you don't have a real gun or something. Swords - no problem! I must admit I felt completely safe. It is all fun and games. Until someone insults your maiden! You just never know.

And I was just like, taking pictures of my son and an it's no big deal...
The half-commits- everything from the waist up is medieval but then you have your weapon tied with a zip tie to the belt loop on your acid-washed jeans. And how do you have a polartec-draped-hoodie that resembles a cape? Do you wear this all the time? Who made that sh** for you? Still living with mama? Good for you. She takes care of you. You know it.
Annnd...the top hat.
The Pirates. WTF people. I mean, granted Pirates of the Carribbean is a great ride and has turned into a great movie series, but pirates started with the shipping business, which peaked about...1700's.... So this would have started a good 400 years after the Rennaissance. Why are the originals so ok with this? Growing the business, people; growing the business...I mean, when we witnessed the Joust, one of the factions' ruler was a "Pirate Queen" of Ireland? How does this work? Just because a very talented actress can do an Irish accent and be bitchy, and all the other royals are busy on other stages at high noon, doesn't mean we can change all the rules...

Those in modern costume. It is Halloween after all...but like, the full, pink furry fox costume?? Where are we going with this? The costumes did include a tiny Merida with her three brothers in bear costumes. Could not. have been. cuter!! And...kinda appropriate, I must say. Go mom.

Those with one simple add-on: cloaks and corsets as far as thee eye can see, as if they wear this shit all the time. They may! This is a lifestyle, folks. You get the sense they goth it up once the sun goes down. There are at least one of these ladies who does not own a real bra, I guarantee. And she's in the double letters. I mean, I was one of the smaller ladies around, get the idea.

I mean, it's a level of creepy. That's all I have to say.

And fun, too! Right? 

I mean, what about LOTR stuff. You gotta love it. That's for realz, not even a sub-group. It's more of a literary sub-category. And I will allow it. And if you don't know what LOTR stands for, I'm sorry for you.

Don't overthink it, TwynMawrMom...I mean, they did have pierogies. There's something very right about pierogies at an outdoor festival. You gotta be happy with that. This is PA after all...

And I did almost buy a corset. I got sized, found one I liked, then found out they started at $125...whoah...pumping the brakes on this one.

[For now.]
[Gonna comparison shop on ETSY of course... ;) ]
I serendipitiously tapped the right fairy for this pic...and fairy isn't a euphamism.

Any Fall Outdoor festivals working for you these days? 
What's your favorite outdoor family day like?
Am I missing a subgroup you can name?


  1. Ok. So I am one of those dorks that LOVE the renn faire. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I think the whole thing is weird but since I am a tourist, I love it. It reminds me of when I was younger and went to France in July and entire towns would go medieval (bec. it is medieval more than renaissance but whatever). So I go religiously, every year, and I look forward to it. But then, this summer in Portugal we had the mother of all medieval fests right in the little town we were in and made the whole carny one (I recognize the stages in your pictures) look like bad imitations. But whatever ... love your insight into the spectators. I am weirded out by the fairies .... with those fake ears? The are freaky to me. I am the moron that volunteers for every show, and if I could afford a corset dress I would buy one. Alas, I go in plain clothes and am just a normie. Glad you had fun!

    1. Listen, it creeps me out because I was IN that world for a little while...takes one to know one ;) Can't knock it...

  2. Uh oh. You may be talking about me. I love ren-faires (though I had to stop going to our local one, no running water = port-a-poties = Suedre out). I don't typically do the cos-play, but I totally get it. These people are harmless. They are passionate about a time period, style, or character and choose to express it by living it. Total commitment. I find them to be some of the most brave and talented people out there. As a matter of fact, I may try my hand at it during this year's sci-fi con, Dragon*con.

    I would say steampunk is a mash-up mixing sci-fi and 19th century. Check wikipedia for a nice description.

    The fox you mentioned - could be a furry, which is a whole nuther subculture like bronies.

    1. Lol yes I didn't want to get into the furry's!! Bronies I GET....but steampunk...still seems like someone in Hollywood plucked it out of their bunghole. (I totally checked Wikipedia first before publishing and decided my questioned synopsis was better). :)

  3. I've never been to a Ren faire, but I'm pretty sure I have representatives of each of those groups within my Facebook friends LOL. Sounds like a fun time though.

    1. Yes, you should go, you'd have fun. And we didn't even go to the 'adult-content' shows!! :)


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