Friday, March 19, 2010

How Not to Visit a Renaissance Fair: Part I: Attire

Well, well, well. You want to go to a Renaissance Festival, huh?

Is this your first time? Well, allow me to give you a few guidelines of what not to do while at a faire/festival. The reason I am starting out with what not to do is because what you should do is easy: come and eat, drink, sing, dance, buy, and have fun! But it's so easy to do a few things, well, wrong.

I will begin this series with attire.

I start on the serious side of things. Please, please, please wear light clothing, both in color and in weight. Most faires take place during the summer, and you will be outside anywhere from three to twelve hours, walking uphill constantly (at least it feels that way). That 15 ounce, 100% wool kilt you bought way back might not be the best idea. No matter what you decide to wear, bring lots of water!

Now that the health warning is out of the way, onto the lighter side of what not to wear.

Please don't dress as Darth Vadar. I believe that every Rennie can tell you of at least one instance when they saw someone come to a Renaissance Festival in full Star Wars Attire. actually has a picture of someone dressed as Vadar while wearing a kilt.

Next, no giant banana costumes. I'm serious, this has happened.

I can't believe I am typing these words, but don't come to a Renaissance Festival dressed as a giant bunny. Again, I am serious that I have seen this.

One idea that I discourage less intensely, but is simply overdone, is the combination of Monty Python's King Arthur and his loyal servant, galloping about the Faire whilst banging two coconuts together. It's funny, very funny, until you see six pairs in a single day.

Finally, don't dress inappropriately for our times in terms of decency. Renaissance Festivals are family activities, and no one, Rennies or patron, came to the Festival to see you show off your chest.

I have no problem with people having fun, but we Rennies are working to build an illusion, the illusion that we have traveled back in time hundreds of years. The Vadars, bananas, and bunnies really break this illusion. Help us out here. Besides, those things cannot be that comfortable!

For Love of the Patrons

Huzzah! We are the Rennies! We are the ones who put ourselves up for display for ridicule, embarrassment, mockery, physical and mental punishment, and risk of heat stroke all for your enjoyment. It's all for you: the 'patrons'.

But make no mistake, very few of us asked ourselves, "How could I entertain people?" and then randomly decided on acting like we were English, French, Scottish, German, or Faeries in the 15th - 17th century. Many of us were just that weird to begin with, and the Renaissance Festival is our perfect outlet.

So, since this is my first message, let me simply say that, as much as a Renaissance Festival relies on the Rennies to volunteer their time, we need you, the patrons, just as much. Frequent every festival you can. It's not something you soon forget.

Huzzahs all around!

Robert (Robbie) Duncan MacDonald