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Poll results: Have you ever been to a Rennaisance faire?

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25. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, I admit I have

    10 40.00%
  • Heck I've been a PARTICIPANT

    1 4.00%
  • No but I have this, um, friend who went to one and told me what they're like

    1 4.00%
  • no, but I'd consider going sometime

    8 32.00%
  • No. Just No

    5 20.00%
  • Why doth thou hatest Amerigo Vespucci?

    0 0%
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Thread: Your impression of Rennaissance Faires

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Your impression of Rennaissance Faires

    Dan's comment on another thread reminded me that going to a Ren Faire is regarded in some quarters as being cause for shame. Before we go any further, I should admit up front that I have been to a Rennaissance Faire not once, but on TWO occasions in my life.

    I'm not entirely sure how Rennaissance faires got their name, but suspect it may have something to do with the fact that some of the participants wear some articles of clothing that resemble garments worn during the Rennaisance period. Beyond that they seems to be a strange admixture of Grateful Dead, New Age and SCA sensibilities. Lots of folks hawking their wares at these events to finance their activities: daggers, home made jewelry, herbs and essential oils, majicke (if you have to ask....), and faux ren foods (e.g. "rat on a spit"). In terms of historical accuracy, there is little about RF's that have anything to do with reality. On the other hand, I can see why some folks think they're fun (in much the same way that Mskis can't comprehend).


    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My wife had gotten some vouchers for free admission to the one near Metro Detroit a few years ago so I agreed to go. We stayed about 30 minutes. It took probably 45 minutes to drive there...

    Even if we came across vouchers that paid us $20 a piece to go, I don't think we'd ever go again. I just didn't see any appeal. Food was expensive and not good, souvenirs were expensive and appeared cheaply made,entertainment was lacking.

    I know he isn't at a Renaissance Faire but now whenever I think of the people at them, I think of Patton Oswalt's character on Reno 911.



    (Full disclosure: I was a frequent player of D&D in junior high and high school)
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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I have friends that are really into Ren Faire. It's not for everyone but they really seem to like it and it's neat seeing how much work they put into their clothing. Another friend of mine does beautiful medieval style embroidery and stitchery as a result of being involved in Ren Faire. From what I understand the faires vary widely in terms of quality and authenticity.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Been twice on comp tickets. Good waste of a day and seeing the many sights. It's cool to see how some people really get into it. Jousting tournament was fun.

    Would not have gone if I had to pay for the tix and the drinks (beer & wine) and souvenirs are expensive.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I've been to a couple small scale ones that were combined SCA events. They are harmless. I put them in the same category as all the war reactors. A harmless way to blow your beer money. It gives people something to do beside veg in front of a TV or computer.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I've only been to a couple, but it was good entertainment. I'm not the type to dress up for it, but I appreciate the ladies with huge tracts of land!

    My brother on the other hand has actually participated in a few. His friends actually make armor. Nothing like a bunch of 40 somethings into D&D and chain mail.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    I went back in high school once. There is a huge one in Bristol, WI, right near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. It wasn't too bad and my friends and I were all entertained for the day. There was a much smaller traveling one that cam to the county fairgrounds in the town I used to live and work in. This one was much lower quality and the food and souvenirs were ridiculously expensive. The one they have in AZ every year is supposedly huge. I tried to go once but after sitting in traffic that was barely moving for well over an hour just to get in we decided it wasn't worth it to waste half the day in the car for something expensive and that may or may not be good.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I would go to one. Scottish Festivals are pretty cheesy and who makes fun of those? (oh, maybe they're next...) There used to be a big Renaissance Fair in Largo FL but I could never interest any of my buddies into going to it.

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    There used to be a big Renaissance Fair in Largo FL but I could never interest any of my buddies into going to it.
    I went to that one a long time ago!

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    My neighbor and his wife go. He also has been to a comic-con, so I imagine it's like a cosplay for a different set of adults.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I've never been to one, but here is my stream of conscience impression...

    Swords.......big turkey legs.......ale........large women with large ta-tas........more turkey legs......music and dancing.........the rest of the turkey legs........
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'm always amazed at the amount of legs a turkey can produce for events like this.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I've never been to one, but here is my stream of conscience impression...

    Swords.......big turkey legs.......ale........large women with large ta-tas........more turkey legs......music and dancing.........the rest of the turkey legs........
    And these are bad things?
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    One thing I've always wondered about: what is it about the medieval/Middle Ages era that appeals so strongly to the nerd/geek/dork crowd? Sure, there's a small number of steampunks that think the 1890s was the dandiest time in human history, but they're a small minority among the nerd community.

    Consider the setting of most fantasy novels and movies.



    Consider the SCA.



    Consider most role-playing games.



    Consider the setting of most LARPs.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    One thing I've always wondered about: what is it about the medieval/Middle Ages era that appeals so strongly to the nerd/geek/dork crowd? Sure, there's a small number of steampunks that think the 1890s was the dandiest time in human history, but they're a small minority among the nerd community.
    I think Dungeons and Dragons (back in the 1980s when it was a dice game) had a lot to do with this.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I've never been to one, but here is my stream of conscience impression...

    Swords.......big turkey legs.......ale........large women with large ta-tas........more turkey legs......music and dancing.........the rest of the turkey legs........
    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    And these are bad things?
    All good in my book
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    One thing I've always wondered about: what is it about the medieval/Middle Ages era that appeals so strongly to the nerd/geek/dork crowd? Sure, there's a small number of steampunks that think the 1890s was the dandiest time in human history, but they're a small minority among the nerd community.

    Consider the setting of most fantasy novels and movies.
    I just like that they all make it so clean and nice - except for the peasants.
    Just think of the planning implications of living in the middle ages. You walk down the street and people are throwing chamber pots out at you. The smell of the street must have been horrid. Not to mention the lack of indoor plumbing, the lice and ticks, and these are the wealthy people.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    I just like that they all make it so clean and nice - except for the peasants.
    Just think of the planning implications of living in the middle ages. You walk down the street and people are throwing chamber pots out at you. The smell of the street must have been horrid. Not to mention the lack of indoor plumbing, the lice and ticks, and these are the wealthy people.
    Yeah, not to mention The Black Plague.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I have never been one, but I love history and have been re-reading Chaucer, Shakespeare, and John Milton. It would be awesome to experience at least part of it first person.
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    I've been to a couple. They're usually out of my way, but I like going. I haven't participated in a Ren Faire, but I have in a Roman reenactment once so I'm counting that. I've never gone so far as to make a costume, but I like helping out for the day. I also have friends who are really into it so I like to go to support them. I don't really love them, but I get a kick out of going so I do.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Turkey legs....the irony is that turkeys weren't found in Medieval Europe.

    And all the participants of modern Renaissance fairs would have been poor peasants back then, living on the brink of starvation and subject to the whims of their lords and ladies. Meat? Forget it. You'd be living off coarse bread smeared with fat.

    I'd like to see a real Renaissance fair that featured lots of rapes and murders with no consequences. And you'd still have to kowtow and grovel to your assailant because he's a nobleman. I'd like to see people really dressing up like the peasants back then, wearing nothing but rags and putting on makeup that resembled the various diseases of the time along with lots of boils.

    That aside, I went to the Maryland Renaissance fair a few times back in the day. It was harmless fun for a few hours. At that age (8-11) it was neat to dress up as knights and run around having swordfights. There was a maze or two, a few entertainers who swallowed fire or juggled burning sticks and the mock joust tournaments.

    But I remember the last time I went, looking around and thinking, hmm, this is kinda dorky. And I was only 12. Haven't been back since although I hear the Maryland Renaissance Fair is still going strong.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PennPlanner View post
    Turkey legs....the irony is that turkeys weren't found in Medieval Europe.

    And all the participants of modern Renaissance fairs would have been poor peasants back then, living on the brink of starvation and subject to the whims of their lords and ladies. Meat? Forget it. You'd be living off coarse bread smeared with fat.

    I'd like to see a real Renaissance fair that featured lots of rapes and murders with no consequences. And you'd still have to kowtow and grovel to your assailant because he's a nobleman. I'd like to see people really dressing up like the peasants back then, wearing nothing but rags and putting on makeup that resembled the various diseases of the time along with lots of boils.

    .
    Yeah, if I lived back, given my age, I'd be dead by now. Life as we know it didn't become possible until advent of proper sanitation, food production, decent health care and I semi stable society. I may like to read history, but there is no way I would willing live back then.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  23. #23
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Yeah, if I lived back, given my age, I'd be dead by now. Life as we know it didn't become possible until advent of proper sanitation, food production, decent health care and I semi stable society. I may like to read history, but there is no way I would willing live back then.
    Hobbes summed it up neatly about 400 years ago when he described life as "nasty, short, and brutish"
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  24. #24
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PennPlanner View post
    I'd like to see a real Renaissance fair that featured lots of rapes and murders with no consequences. And you'd still have to kowtow and grovel to your assailant because he's a nobleman. I'd like to see people really dressing up like the peasants back then, wearing nothing but rags and putting on makeup that resembled the various diseases of the time along with lots of boils.
    Somewhat OT: I'm reminded of this this editorial cartoon, in response to complaints from the urbanatti that downtown Buffalo's planned Canalside development wasn't going to be "authentic" enough.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    I don't think we have renaissance fairs in Canada.......

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