Yesterday I attended my first renaissance festival, and that was an experience. I learned that I don’t actually like fantasy or history as much I thought I did. At least nowhere near as much as the die-hard renaissance-heads.
Actually, they played pretty fast and loose with the history portion, but nothing about this place was set up to be historically accurate. I clocked references to events/clothing dating back to old medieval England, in the 8th or 9th century, all the way up to garb and nonsense from the early industrial revolution. If we’re being accurate, there were plenty of references to Game of Thrones, which would put us at, or around, 2018AD.
I really appreciated the dedication of the performers at Ren Fest though. They fully became their characters, it felt like a discount Disney land, where most of them were extremely self-aware. With 10,000-some guests at a time, the place felt as though it had at least 500 active performers. It gives theatre school kids something to do over the summer, which is great.
A lot of the special attractions were quite hammy, and what you’d expect them to be, but they were still very impressive and kids seemed to be having fun. The sexual tension between two on-stage performers, was hilarious to watch as an adult. I could tell that they kept those costumes on for a few hours after the show, if you catch my drift.
The living fountain was my favourite act, mainly because I’d never seen one before. She’s exactly like a living statue, only she pisses cold jets of water from her head and fingertips. She stands in the middle of a bubbling fountain and all of her movement is set to mesmerising music. “This better not awaken anything in me,” I said to Audra, who replied, “It’s too late, it already has from where I’m sitting.”
The only interactive elements I didn’t like, were all the paying customers in costume who clearly didn’t make it through the audition stages. They would approach kids doing terrible accents, and had a distinct lack of people skills. I imagined them fully preparing the characters of a rogue-court, for weeks on end, after they’d failed to get a part in the official royal court. Honestly, they were embarrassing themselves, and that’s a pretty difficult thing to do at a place that already feels like a cringe-comedy come to life.
Fake Actor: “Huzzah there young squire! Fancy a romple around me winkle!
Real Actor: “Listen buddy, leave the kids alone, we’ve all had background checks, and you’re out here acting like a clown.”
Fake Actor: “Never mind he not, come back to my tent for a quick rummage. First to find my special turkey leg gets a golden goose!”
Real Actor: “Look pal, this is my summer job and you’re making us look like dicks.
Fake Actor: “This charlatan would not let me join his fair court, I say we blow him off and have our own, special renaissance fair.”
Real Actor: “Right, I warned you!” *Maces Fake Actor, not with pepper-spray, with a real medieval mace*
Speaking of turkey legs, I ate one. No, not a creepy man’s penis, an actual turkey leg.
It was bigger than I thought it would be (turkey leg, not penis) and seemed more like a peacock leg, or even an emu leg. They were easily selling ten or so a minute, which made me wonder what they do with the rest of the turkey. Like, do they just kill the turkeys and take their thicc bird legs? Only to throw the rest of the meat into a landfill? Because nobody is going to buy a legless turkey, that’s the best part.
As I watched a sea of faces chow down on cooked bird limbs, I thought about becoming a vegetarian. Then I remembered the countless injustices and cruelties that happen to humans, and how I can’t even fix any of those, despite my mild efforts, so what’s not eating meat going to do, if I’m not strong enough to solve more important problems?
I also bit into my own turkey leg. Those two things combined helped to quell any intrusive thoughts.
The jousting was fun. It was very-much sports entertainment so I was on board. There were clear heels and faces, and the spots looked mostly fake. I knew what I was dealing with. After the tourney finished, a handsome young jouster approached the fence and prepared to flirt with nearby ladies, only for them to ignore him and exclusively pet his horse. You should’ve known mate, they’re all bronies here.
We bought some tea from a tea stall, because I’m on a tea-kick now. I guess this fair is set in a post-East India Company world. Whilst in line we waited behind someone who was attempting to flirt with the vendor by talking about Skyrim. He bragged about his character for a solid two minutes before she said, “Oh yes, my son plays Skyrim.” I visibly smirked but had to hold back the laughter. Get back in ye basement!
Author’s note: I have played and enjoyed Skyrim, but I’ve never used it as a pick-up line, nor should you.
On our final lap of the festival grounds, I heard one performer saying, “Come and talk to me, don’t ignore me, like my parents do.” We could no longer tell what was real and what was fake, so we knew it must be time to leave.
As an Englishman, I’d recommend going to a Renaissance Festival for a larf (laugh). It was woefully historically inaccurate, and you can’t help but feel as though you’re surrounded by people who describe themselves as “Incels”, but the whole thing is kind of hilarious and fun to walk around.
It’s also the first place I’ve ever been where I felt as though I could play the race-card. It was around the moment the fifth person approached me and said:
“Beggin’ yer pardin me lord, can I part ye from a cupple of ye coppa’s? In return, let me offa ye a box of nachos or a slice of pepperoni pizza.”
Today is Monday, July 9th and I just finished 30 days without any mind-altering substances.