Renaissance Faires are gaining popularity across the country with all age groups. They used to be a place for role-playing nerds to get together and live out their fantasies while “tourists” paid for homemade trinkets and faire food. That is not the case anymore.
I remember the first Renaissance Faire I went to in Norman, OK. I was a nerdy role-player who thought it would be cool to see men really jousting and fair maidens dressed in layered dresses. I was a “tourist” back then and went in a sweatshirt and jeans to gawk at all the people working there. What I found was an amazing experience that I loved. The beautiful costumes, everyone speaking in a more proper older English, and the food, oh my gosh the food. I didn’t go to many faires after that first one until many years later.
The next time I attended a faire in Kilgore, TX, it was a very different experience as I was escorted by one of the women who worked a shop there. Through another friend I met a lady who hand made authentic period costumes. Just going shopping for fabric with her was a blast. Attending that faire was eye-opening. I was included as part of the family even though I was only spending the day at Lynn’s booth. This faire had permanent structures for some of the lucky artisans to rent and a full-on jousting arena with bleachers surrounding, just like in the movies. I also learned that these weren’t just hobbyists hawking trinkets; these people were true artisans who created pieces as close to period as possible for their patrons.
Now my husband & I both attend faire about twice a year in full costume. We have been to faires in 3 states now and the experience is always amazing. It is different when you are treated like you are part of the faire by both staff and other visitors by dressing in costume. We were mistaken as part of the parade the last time we went. The food is amazing and unusual from our daily burgers and tacos. Everything at faire is created from scratch by someone who has taken the time to learn the authentic way to make it, whether it is a spinach and feta pasty or a pair of handmade leather boots, the quality is beyond compare.
In this day and age of mass produced everything, it is awesome to be able to enjoy something out of your ordinary or one of kind. Every year the ticket prices go up and the crowds are larger. We keep hearing of another Renaissance Faire that has sprung up a couple of hours away from an already established one. These artisans tell you the tales of all the places they travel selling their wares and the number of locales keeps expanding. People are looking for a way to unwind, unplug, and reconnect to a simpler time. What better way to disconnect than to travel back in time a few centuries? Eat with your fingers, drink homemade mead and dress however you want! If you are in the Dallas area anytime in April and May you should try spending a day at Scarborough Renaissance Faire.