A day at the olde Renaissance faire

I was a Ren Fest hold-out.

I’m not quite sure where my beef with the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival stemmed from. I thought it was geeky? Or strange? Or like a grown-up version of trick-or-treating, wandering from booth to booth with cider and asking for treats?

I don’t know. I was misled. And I’ve since seen the error of my ways — and am officially converted.

This year marked my first trip to the yearly celebration of all things medieval. We’d talked about going last year, but it never worked out. My sister and her boyfriend are big fans and frequently discussed the awesomeness of Ren Fest’s good eats, and I’m nothing if not hungry. So with that in mind, we made plans to meet up with my cousin Karen and her husband, Ben, who showed us the ins and outs of such an experience. When our buddies Mike and Bethany got there, too, our crew of eight was ready to tackle anything.

Including archery. And rock climbing.

Well, they attempted rock climbing. I’m not that crazy.

Our day at Ren Fest was marked by lots of good eats, hard apple cider and lots — I mean lots — of people-watching. Many attendees come dressed in their finery: flowing gowns; kilts; suits of armor; fairy wings. It was like stepping into a magical land. Or a “Harry Potter”-esque village. Because the festival happens every year, the structures are permanent. Before we got there, I was picturing circus-like tents and the atmosphere of a county fair.

Not so much.

Ren Fest is no joke. Jousting, shops, dining, archery, a maze — there was more than enough to kill an afternoon. I really enjoyed the joust and my “fryed” ice cream (it’s old-timey, see), and it didn’t hurt that it was an absolutely gorgeous fall day spent with family and friends. It was huge, too, and easy to get turned around. Even with the maps and texting, it wasn’t hard to get separated. And wind up in the middle of a walking “show.”

Though I’m not sure I’m ready to dress up myself, I see the appeal of being someone else for a day — and walking around with others who totally appreciate the merits of chainmail. Going from 2012 to 1514 wasn’t as big a leap as I expected . . . especially after watching “The Tudors” religiously for years.

Man, I miss that show.

So after years of dodging the Ren Fest, I finally made it — and I’m not sure why I was such a fool. I mean, how can you be unhappy while eating a crab, cheese and Old Bay-covered pretzel? (This is Maryland, after all.) And with plenty of photo opportunities, I was a happy little Renaissance-era camper.

I’m not sure you’ll squeeze me into a Queen Guinevere gown anytime soon, but the good eats and fall leaves will keep me coming back for more.

17 thoughts on “A day at the olde Renaissance faire

  1. We have a festival like this near where I live (Brisbane, Australia), called the Abbey Festival – the medieval period is so facinating! I can’t believe how into it some people get! Amazing photos too xx


  2. I’m so glad you did this! I went to my very first Ren Faire this summer and I had a blast. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was so much fun. The Huz and I went to jousts, ate a turkey leg, etc.


  3. You are Well Come to the Renn side! They are fun, quirky and a great way to spend a day. I actually said the other night that I want to make it to the one in AZ next year (we hold ours in February!). I have even flirted with making a kirdle to wear – tis the Hallowed season and patterns galore in the store! It truly is a great place to people watch!


  4. You are my first experience with reading a blog, and I am very happy I clicked yours first. You have a writing style that I very much enjoy. The way you talk about your adventure at the Renaissance Festival, makes it impossible for me to resist going and seeing it for myself. You write it to be a very pleasant place, which does show a lot of good things about your personality as well. I can’t wait to read more of your posts. 🙂


  5. We have a local Ren Faire every summer, but I’ve never been, either. I think it’s partly because every weekend I seem to drive by a park where people practice their jousting. Some in costume, and some in 2012 attire. It kinda ruins the effect and appeal.


  6. We have one that comes to Phoenix Arizona the end of February till the Middle of April. It’s such an amazing experience. I use to go every year with my family, I would beg my mom to buy my a rose or lily that was dipped in hot wax, they were the most amazingly beautiful things to me. My boyfriend took me back last year for my birthday ( I hadn’t been to one in 4 years) He found the lady who did the hot wax flowers and bought me a dozen dipped roses. I thanked the lady and she remembered me from all those years ago. The Ren fare always makes everyone feel so welcomed!


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