MovieBob Goes to the Renaissance Faire

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Now that is what I call escapism... Not the pussyfooting going on around 'ere. I would definitely enjoy something like this over PAX and Pokemon.

We do have yard glasses in Europe. It's neither crazy nor new. It is serious business.

Yeah, that's the way it was. The Medieval people were at war with the Sci-fi people - that's why they do these faires, they're re-enactments.

A shiny penny to anybody that gets the reference.

Ren Faires sound like a lot of fun, but I'd always be too self conscious to enjoy them properly. I'd be uncomfortable both in costume and surrounded by people in costume. Especially if these people were taking their roles too seriously. I don't want any spells cast on me/axes thrown at my face.

Plus if you get people drunk on yards of ale and mead and put some weapons on close proximity, some bad times are going to go down.

I can see myself dying for reals in these kind of places. Mostly because of all the corseted women - I'd be so busy ogling I'd probably walk in front of a horse and get trampled to death.

My last words would be 'worth it.'

There's a huge Renaissance Faire about half an hour away twice a year, and it's always fun whenever I make it. Human chess, this really cool hawking thing, real swords like you mentioned (my dad got this REALLY cool looking fighting knife, sheath and all), realistic (at least realistic looking) clothing, the whole shebang. They're just awesome!

P.S. Churches are more common than Dunkin' donuts here in Tulsa. Shucks, they're almost more common than gas stations!

Moviebob, I take back almost everything I said about you after your Expendables review.

Are you an elitist nerd? Yes, but you also love ye olde Renaissance Faires.

And that makes you awesome in my book.

A greater collection of those that could survive a zombie apocalypse has never gathered then the courtesans of a Ren Faire.

Falseprophet:

Dangerious P. Cats:
I have a theory that one of the things that made modern re-enacmtnment possible was roleplaying. Simon During in his article Mimic Toil (Rethinking History, 11: 3, 313 - 333) possed the queestion of why didn't historical re-enacment as a hobby occure until after WW2.

You do find a few examples pre-WW2, but you're right, it doesn't really blossom as a hobby until well after the war. I personally think the big catalyst was the centennial of the US Civil War in the early 1960s, which really kicked off the hobby, and the founding of the SCA shortly afterwards. But roleplaying and wargaming were definitely boosts to the hobby, no doubt about it. Several of my gaming friends are in the SCA or did historical reenactment, and us steampunks often visit 19th century museums and Victorian events with our definitely-not-period costumes.

I've always wondered if many of the founders of the SCA were roleplayers, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if they were. Prior to the War most re-enacment was done more as a theatrical production rather than a hobby in its own right. People playing historical figures were modern equiverlents (decendents of them or people holding the same position) or actors playing a role. Likewise the focus was on events rather than understaning what people in the period exprienced through trying to recreate it.

Dont drink and drive !

I'd love to go to one of these things, maybe just to compare it with where I live right now; in a medieval village that dates back to 960CE. Protestants have been burned at the stake here and it was a common centre for owling among other things.

Mostly, I'd just like an excuse to break out one of the swords I've got on display on my shelves and walk around in one of the costumes from the dramatics society here who always keep an extensive collection of period garb for various performances. I've volunteered to do the technical stuff for them on a number of occasions (lights, music, pyrotechnics, smoke, etc.) so they trust me enough to borrow one or two things. It's just too bad they don't have any armour, maybe I could pick some up at the faire.

I have been working at the georgia rennaissance festival for 7 years now, so this article hits very close to home for me.

Rennaissance faires aren't about historical accuracy, that's what the history channel is for.(We like to call it the disney version of medieval history.) They're about getting together and having fun. To someone like me they're also about the culture of the faire itself, which is why I go back year after year. Renfaires have their own variety of carnies, and looking in on that culture from the perspective of someone who works a ride at the local faire when it's in season is fascinating.

So if you're the history buff shaking your head at all the innacuracies, then you're doing it wrong. You need only look at the wide-eyed 6 year old watching knights joust to know how to do it right.

This might be the most pleasant, reflective article you've ever written. I'd love to see more stuff from you in this vein. Good show.

I want to go to one of these dressed as Bill and Ted. In fact that'd be awesome for any and all historical re-enactments.

Bob, that was so well put. I dont know if I should commend Renaissance Faires more for being awesome, or commend you more for being a fantastic author.

Dangerious P. Cats:
I've always wondered if many of the founders of the SCA were roleplayers, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if they were. Prior to the War most re-enacment was done more as a theatrical production rather than a hobby in its own right. People playing historical figures were modern equiverlents (decendents of them or people holding the same position) or actors playing a role. Likewise the focus was on events rather than understaning what people in the period exprienced through trying to recreate it.

There were definitely medieval scholars and fantasy authors in the beginning: Poul Anderson, Katherine Kurtz and Marion Zimmer Bradley were early members (the latter allegedly coined the society's name).

The timeline of the reenactment hobby you trace parallels wargaming and its offshoot, tabletop RPGs, very closely. Wargaming started with recreating famous historical battles, then allowing those to play out differently (could Napoleon have won at Waterloo?), then coming up with imaginary scenarios, like what if Britain and France had fought in the late 19th century (this is the kind real-world militaries still use for planning and training).

Around the same time, Tolkien and fantasy fiction got big and all these wargamers started playing out the battles of Middle Earth complete with goblins, elven archers and wizards. From this, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson developed a microcosm of the concept: playing the quests of a small band of dungeon-delving adventurers a la the Fellowship of the Ring, and Dungeons and Dragons was born.

I go every year to the michigan ren fest.
Its so much fun to go with my 4 friends.
He have the whole range covered. Elf mage, Halfling ((though he hates being called it)) theif, Human fighter ((that would be me)), and Lawfully Evil Idiot with an axe.
Last year i went we ended up sitting in the hookah den for 4 hours and groaping the sexy belly dancer.

We ended up breaking our wallets and spending $1600 in cheap hand-made jewels ((though they looked really nice at the time)), a dozen flagons of ale ((half of which were to people we didnt even know)) and ofcourse, on the belly dancers ((not as cheap as you would expect)).

Ah! Good times!
I spent the whole next week eating nothing but ramen until my check came!
And then i couldent pay my electric bill!

But it was totally worth it.
The best 4 hours i could hope to spend with friends!

Archangel357:
Literally living in the shadow of a 900 year old castle, the whole idea of Americans trying to re-create the Middle Ages kind of makes me laugh.

Laugh it up.

Considering the history of man is the history of everybody, I don't see the humor in any of it.

As well as the fact that the majority of people in America came from Europe and the rest of the previously known world, and whose ancestors would have probably experienced the same things as yours.

Wait, how is this funny again?

This place... sounds awesome. I've never heard of it before but now I really want to check it out. Hmm....

Anyway, great article! (And if I go I'm totally buying a sword, heh)

Ha! Yes, I love Ren-fest! Worked at one here in Michigan for the past three years, best job I've ever had. No where else can you call your customers wenches and hooligans and not just get away with it, but actually make them laugh. I worked in a Jewelry booth, which might sound weird for a guy, but I didn't complain with 90% of the customers being female (corsets FTW).

Plus with my booth having been right across from the jousting field, you can always time when it will be busy. So I'd sit back and do nothing for an hour or so, then when the Joust ended we'd get about 15 minutes of rush, then light traffic for a while. The rest of the time I would wander around talking to other Rennies, watch my girlfriend try on corsets (FRICKIN BOOBS), and drink mead. Yep, I got to drink on the job, while dressed in a poofy shirt, as I observed women adorn clothing that turned even the most modestly endowed into Dolly Parton. Life was good.

I'd like to check one of those out, despite my being a Moore and all...

Wow, I am suddenly extremely jealous. I've never gone to a Renaissance Faire. Now I really want to but I can't :(

Archangel357:
Literally living in the shadow of a 900 year old castle, the whole idea of Americans trying to re-create the Middle Ages kind of makes me laugh.

You're getting quoted on this one a lot, aren't you? :)

There's faires like these all over Europe as well. It isn't that specifically American at all. Very few however are actually held in or around actual historical castles, though I know of a Dutch one at a hunting keep (or whatever you call a jachtslot in English) dating back some four or five hundred years. That one's bi-annual if I recall correctly.

I really should check one out some day. I know plenty of people I could go with and who could advise me on which ones are worthwhile.

Meh. The only faire I've been able to visit is the one in front of Stormwind.

thenumberthirteen:
I want to go to one of these dressed as Bill and Ted. In fact that'd be awesome for any and all historical re-enactments.

You sir, are now my hero. I'm totally going to do that the next time my friends are doing LARP stuff.

On a side note, I live in a small town that has a cathedral that burned down over 800 years ago. Quite a lot of it is still standing, too.

You all realize that there are two kinds of rennaisance faires. The ones that are more cosplay with elves and dwarfs...and the ones like the one I go to in minnesota, which are about legitimate historic recreation.

"poured by serving wenches often costumed in such a fashion that their décolletage can serve as a handy extra pocket."

Hmm reminds me of Oktoberfest XD

spencer91:

Archangel357:
Literally living in the shadow of a 900 year old castle, the whole idea of Americans trying to re-create the Middle Ages kind of makes me laugh.

Well then surely you can understand that a large group of displaced Europeans living in America would want to reclaim a part of their culture when you live within throwing distance of what they strive for. Imagine if you didn't live by such a castle, wouldn't you miss it?

I personally love the Renaissance/Medieval Faire, I say that without a touch of shame.

Exactly! Who are you to tell us that because we live on a different continent we don't share a heritage with you?

Hah. Duuude I go to King Richards yearly.
I live down in Rhode Island by the border near Mass at Woonsocket.
It owns there.
:D

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