Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,22 October 2013

The Snap:

Reality is way overrated. Or as my spiritual adviser Winona would say, reality bites. Maybe that’s why so many people are into fantasy role play. Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m referring to renfests (aka renaissance festivals, faires or Home of Ye Olde Turkey Leg). Why are people obsessed with renfest? What is a playtron? Does everyone wear a codpiece or corset? And why is every damn food item served on sticks? Read on, my lords and ladies and we’ll pontificate on who goes to renfests, why and what they do when they’re not bidding you anon and/or enticing you to buy chainmail undies.

The Download:

Let’s get something straight: I don’t like people. That may sound awful but even though I like some individual persons, people as a rule annoy and/or frighten me. Particularly in large, unwieldy, slow-moving crowds. I especially hate crowds when they’re all in their separate automobiles (aka traffic). Which makes the fact that I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this weekend — site of ginormous, unwieldy crowds and the epicenter for all non-beach related weekend traffic in Maryland — perplexing. But to the faire I went and the thought that kept circling my mead-enabled mind was, what the hell do these people do the rest of the year?!? Also, where is the bathroom and can I get more mead without standing in an epic line?

That’s what I typically ponder when amidst people blatantly subverting reality on a daily basis (renfest, Comic-Con, cable news, etc.). On a typical day, walking around in the “real world,” you don’t often see people dressed up as knights, pirates, gypsies and wenches (and more’s the pity). Do they hide their costumes under their “normal” clothes and are they only themselves during the weekends when they’re living la vida verily?

Maddeningly, as with most things, the answer is: it depends. Your main categories of people are civilians, playtrons (patrons who attend the faire in garb — don’t call it a costume or they’ll slay your bodkin or something), seasonal performers and employees, and those who pursue faire life year-round. Many could be hiding amongst you in your daily life and you’d never know it. Working at renfest doesn’t pay handsomely so many performers and workers have “day jobs.” Others spend the year making ye olde crafts and preparing for their roles.

Though the words I’ve penned may seem in jest, methinks these faire folk dost know of what they speak. Their communities seem pretty accepting (unless you fall “out of character” during the faire and then, to the stocks!), they’re never boring, they’re not fixated on money, and they spend a lot of time doing what they always dreamed of and the rest of the time attending bitchin’ after parties.

Plus, they have fun and unusual ways of calling people assclowns without seeming unprofessional or crude. Check out this site for a medieval insult generator and other tips for getting and staying in character.

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Hat Tips:

BuzzfeedIMDBRenaissancefestival.comFestivalprose.comD MagazineRenfaire, Image Credit: Flickr

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