Hear ye, hear ye. Tips for the renaissance.

21 Oct

We took Alan’s son to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this weekend. It’s an event I approach each year with equal parts curiosity and trepidation, mainly because I’m not into pretending that I live in any century other than this one and I find it troubling when other adults try to speak to me in fake accents.

What I do love about the festival is my chance to unabashedly watch people. I mean, they come out looking for an audience, so it’s totally fine to stare with my mouth hanging open, right?

In case you’ve never attended a Renn Fest, here’s a quick primer so you know what to expect:

1. Aside from the people who are “formal players” in the script, most attendees just aren’t that concerned with the accuracy of their costumes. At least I assume not, since I don’t remember fairies, pixies, dinosaurs, Jedis, and Yoda featuring prominently in the Middle Ages.

So if you have a great Halloween costume you’d like to get more mileage out of, wear it. Don’t worry if it has nothing to do with the Renaissance. Want to dress like you’re from Minecraft? Do it. Or a pervy clown? Fair game.

For example, what was THIS GUY all about? I don’t think any of my renaissance readings featured a creepy, half-man/half-baby, stilted jester. 

Creepy, any way you cut it.

Creepy, any way you cut it.

2. There is either a LOT of bad cleavage in this world, or the women with bad cleavage are attracted to Renaissance festivals. I saw so many huge, dimpled and jiggly breasts, I have a newfound pity for mammographers. If you like showing off your breasts, this is your event. Embrace your inner-wench. If that’s not your thing, then brace yourself for having to tolerate others.

(While we’re on the topic of breasts: I’m all for breast-feeding your infant, and I don’t mind if you do it in public, provided you make a little effort so I don’t have to look at your nipple. But I think most people would agree when I say that if you can do it hands-free, standing up with your child strapped to your chest and your breast fully exposed, while shopping for pixie wings, you’ve crossed a line.)

Image Source: http://assets.vice.com/content-images/contentimage/no-slug/bfa4223261f5067fb1312cb7bf84dabf.jpg

Look Ma, no hands!

3. The little kids at the festival are either cuter than average, or – thanks to the principle of relativity – they just seemed that way because the adults were so odd. Regardless, I especially liked the little kid riding around on his dad’s shoulders in a fuzzy dinosaur costume, and the toddler who stood looking down at her feet in confusion, unable to walk because she’d somehow managed to velcro her shoes together. If you’d like to find your own child cute for even just a day, take him or her to Renn Fest.

4. Never volunteer to be a piece in a game of Human Chess. You’ll quickly feel like this:

Image Source: http://www.funnyfidos.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/funny-dog-picture-rather-be-chasing-cars.jpg

5. A hint for the women who think it’s going to be awesome to wear a big dress with a crinoline to make it fluffy: your only bathroom option will be a port-a-potty.  I saw more than one woman in a large dress emerge from the over-sized handicap potty to ask the “bathroom attendant” to check her dress. Um… pretty sure you need to burn it when you get home. Or sooner, if you’re planning to eat anything.

6. Speaking of eating? Along with people-watching, that may be one of your highlights from the festival. Don’t skimp on the steak on a stake, turkey legs, or beer.

That’s it. Otherwise, go forth and be merry. You might not actually feel transported to the sixteenth century, but you will definitely know that you’re in a special place. Embrace it.

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2 Responses to “Hear ye, hear ye. Tips for the renaissance.”

  1. thesinglecell October 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    But what of the madrigals?
    That’s all I got. I’ve never really understood -fests or -cons of this ilk. Except turkey leg nomming. I understand turkey leg nomming.

    • pithypants October 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      I’m going to suggest that you attend a Renn Fest or Comicon Convention in the next year – just so you’re in the know. And practice your songs so you’re ready for a madrigal on the fly.

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