On Saturday I packed myself into the car with one (1) man with better hair than mine, eight (8) bags of miscellaneous costuming garb, accessories, and weapons, and a great deal (∞) of Middle Ages-themed excitement.
We were going to another Renaissance Faire. How many Renaissance Faires I’ve been to this season is not important. It’s a normal number. I’m a normal person.
This was the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire again, because it was the only Renaissance Faire still running this late in the year (near me, anyway). It was, effectively, The Last Renaissance Faire.
This time with Halloween!
Most of the Renaissance Faires I’ve attended this season I’ve attended alone, because I find that few of my friends share my single-minded determination to experience everything the faire has to offer many times over while dressed appropriately for the occasion. We don’t have time to dither around by the food court, guys! We have three shows to see and we have only five minutes in every booth, and we can’t miss our hour of relaxing people-watching. The hour of relaxing people-watching is very important, guys.
Fortunately, I found a miracle in a friend of a friend named Paul, who has even more costumes than I do and also has long, silken black hair that he can stand around looking medieval with. I’m not jealous.
Paul has done Ren Faires. Paul has done, probably, dozens more Ren Faires than I have. Paul knows how to do Renaissance Faires with me. It was a great relief.
Paul is also frequently a pirate, and when I stopped to laugh at one of the flags at the faire he informed me he used to have that flag hanging above his computer. Because of course he had.
But today we were in less of a hurry to get things done, because we had each had our fill of Ren Faires for the season (including this one). We wandered around, catching some of the acts, brandishing glorious hair (Paul), trying not to grin like an idiot because Renaissance Faires are still the coolest thing ever (me).
Twice we stopped by the archery booth. The first time, Paul picked up his bow, hit the bullseye something like ten out of eighteen times, and complained that he was “out of practice.” He congratulated me on my three bullseyes.
The second time we stopped by, a few hours later, he hit the bullseye a mere fifteen times, and seemed genuinely thrilled that I had managed five. Curse those talented but kind individuals that you want to dislike but can’t because they’re so nice.
Archery: Where you go if you want to see me spectacularly fail to hit the center of the target many times in a row!
We swung by the joust, presided over by King Henry XIII (in his early days, when he hadn’t yet executed a lot of wives or grown old and fat). The area you sit in in the audience determines which knights you’re rooting for, and we ended up supporting the less than honorable ones. The slightly despicable ones. The ones that, when given the option to kick a puppy for 10 gold, would go “Welllll…”
They’re the most fun to root for. Who really need chivalry anyway. They probably lost, but we didn’t stick around for the after-joust duels to find out.
As we wound down for the day, Paul recommended we see a music group call Tartanic, who were as impressive as they were ear-shatteringly loud (very). When your music can be hear all over the Faire, you’re doing something right.
Tartanic invited anybody who wished to come up and dance on stage if the music moved them.
The results were approximately eighty-three very enthusiastic children who just wanted to sit on the thrones before an audience.
And then, just like that, we were done. We bought some kettle corn for the road and spent fifteen minutes removing our costumes so that we could stop at a gas station without looking like we were bringing the New Crusades. We shoved our new merchandise on top of our old merchandise, and we headed out.
Sure, the both of us will probably be very medieval for the rest of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not terribly sad to end the season. Renaissance Faires are packed with some of the most interesting individuals you will ever meet, and it’s always a pity to leave that behind.
Well, except this guy. You’ll see him again in a few months.