Renaissance Faires: I Just Don’t Get It
Blue gargoyles, fairy wings, corsets, kilts, crowns, swords and crossbows…it can only mean one thing. I’ve made it to my very first Renaissance Faire.
Now, I have nothing against the ren faire world. It’s just a little foreign to me. The people who work there I get; they have a job to do and a role to play. Now visitors, well, they take it a little too seriously even for me.
This past weekend Mike and I packed up the kids and headed out to Bonney Lake, WA for the annual Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. The price was a bit steep at $18 per adult, but at least the kids were free.
As we paid for our tickets we were greeted with the regular “Good morrow my lady” by the ticket woman who was dressed in a lovely period costume. She then proceeded to pull out an iPad with a credit card scanner attached to it. Bit of a contrast there don’t you think?
The night before I decided I would get into the spirit of the faire and see what all the fuss was about. The theme that weekend was fairies and I had a pair of fairy wings in my closet left over from an old Halloween costume. I would blend right in.
Dek’s old dragon costume would fit Ty perfectly. I might as well get one more use out of it before it went off to the consignment shop. Dek had no interest in wearing a costume. I didn’t push it since I knew seeing so many people in costume might scare him.
We arrived in the morning before most of the die-hard ren faire fans had arrived. I already felt like a poser and silly for wearing my wings. Ty was adorable and got loads of smiles and comments from everyone we passed, but it got hot quickly that morning. I took Ty out of his costume and popped him into my Ergo.
Now I was the lady with cheap wings with a baby strapped on her.
Hmmm… Well, I’ve looked like a bigger idiot before. I certainly wasn’t going to take them off and carry them around the rest of our stay.
We arrived too late for the jousting match and I needed to throw some calories into my stomach. We headed to the food concession stands. Turkey legs were a must Mike informed me. They were the quintessential ren faire food. He had actually been to a renaissance faire back in Pennsylvania when he was younger. I had to take his word for it.
With a turkey leg, strawberry crepe and corn dog in hand we were able to squish onto a picnic table with two little girls in costume waiting for their parents. I got a thorough education from these little girls about what else I could expect that day.
Another jousting match was coming up. The queen would be accepting visitors shortly. Oh and I was told to hide my wings because the troll was coming. He liked to eat fairies. O…K….
Lucky for me Dek had just finished his lunch and declared he needed a sword. I think Mike actually prompted him on that one. What dad doesn’t want to hand his son his very first weapon?
Our toddler had definite ideas of what would make his perfect sword. First of all it had to be big. No not big. Really big.
Sorry kiddo. If you can’t lift up the sharp weapon that can impale your brother than you can’t have it. That’s the rule.
After much searching, Mike and Dek finally settled on a nice little wooden sword that fit into his belt loop. You won’t find a cuter photo moment than a little man walking around with his hand on the hilt of his sword ready to jump into action at a moments notice.
A quick stop at one of the stages to watch a heckling fire spinner saw us heading back to the car. Naptime had come and gone. Throngs of people in costume were now crowding the venders looking for a new garment or set of arrows to add to their collection. It was hot and we were done.
With a final “Fair thee well” we ended our first renaissance faire experience as a family.
Was I impressed? Well, to be honest, not really. Mike claims the one in PA has fewer vendors and more events, which also means more actors walking around saying “fetch me an ale young wench.” That could be interesting, but I’m not so sure it’s my thing. I’m more of a street festival/ county fair girl. The food is better and there aren’t as many characters wandering about trying to scare my kid (although to their credit the ren faire people did stay clear of the smaller kids unless the kids approached them first).
I will try it again. Maybe a larger faire would be a bit more exciting. Perhaps a cooler day would find us exploring a little more and ready to sit down to watch some performances. I might just have to invest in a full on garb as well. After all, if we are going to go to the trouble of attending a ren faire again we should probably look the part.
Know Before You Go
- Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, 20021 Sumner-Buckley Highway, Bonney Lake, WA 98391
- Last weekend is August 18-19, 2012
- Open 10am-7pm
- Cost: $18 adults/ $12 child (6-17)/ $48 family (2 adults/2 kids)
- Strollers? If you need to bring one make it a jogger stroller or something with good wheels. You will be pushing through lots of grass. A baby carrier is recommended.
- Camping is allowed on sight for a fee.
- Small pets are welcome. Dogs must be kept on leashes and cleaned up after.
Have you ever been to a renaissance faire? What was your impression?
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written by Keryn Means