Last Updated on November 7, 2021 by Jim Ferri
If you have the opportunity, go to your nearest Renaissance Festival. Like so many others, you’ll likely love it…
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
By Carla Marie Rupp with Lari-Ann Rupp
If you can’t get to Europe this summer, think about going to your nearest Renaissance Festival and having a really “grand” time.
Renaissance Festivals are found all over the United States – in Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, California, even Alaska.
If you’ve never gone to a Renaissance Fair, as they’re also called, take my word and try one this year. You’ll enter a fascinating place, a state of mind, where you’ll just blend in. It won’t be hard.
Love Being Called “M’lady” at Renaissance Festivals
I love being called “M’lady,” which always startles me. And it feels good to say, “Huzzah!” when we’re cheering. I also like the smiles of the minstrels and with my love of music, people and performing, imagine I could have been one of them.
I find everything I like in a good-time day at a Ren Fair: food, friendly people, a happy vibe, costumes and entertainment, and not to mention (chuckle), exercise. It’s great for walking around the little pretend villages. They’re so cute, colorful and charming, these places.
And there’s food for everyone’s tastes, whether it’s pickles, kettle popcorn, rice and beans or buttery artichokes, all good for sharing. Lari-Ann, my niece, loved the Scotch eggs, and her sister Lani her knave sandwich, made with sausage.
I loved taking pictures of the people in their costumes, even posing with them, the pirates, the men in kilts, the bagpipers, the wenches and the princesses.
When my friend Candace Coates goes to the New York Renaissance Festival, she always wears the costume she bought from a supplier, with the bodice and flowing dress (it’s on her website www. highlandharper.info). “I bring it out every time I go to the festival, and I really feel at home in it. I love the Renaissance anyway, since I play the harp,” she told me.
Renaissance Festivals especially, I think, appeal to people like myself over 50 who enjoy the arts, the kind of people who go to the fairs, the theatrics of it, the comedy, and those who have good memories of going to fairs of all kinds when they were growing up.
Or still growing up, should we say. Like me.
Renaissance Festivals Large and Small
Some festivals that I’ve “played and partied” at are really big, such as the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, with its 35-acres near Manheim, PA. I dream about going back to that one, which is 13 weekends from early August to the end of October, 11 am – 8 pm. It’s like you are actually living in another era
I’ll never forget walking around holding my turkey leg in my hand and being mesmerized by all the colorful activities, the parades, the jousting, the people in costumes, some who tell me they go every single weekend; they can’t get enough of it.
At the smaller, yet also established Colorado Renaissance Festival, celebrating about 40 seasons, I find such happiness and joy in looking around everywhere and taking in everything it offers. Many others find the jovial spirit there also at the event, that runs on Saturday and Sunday from mid-June through the first weekend in August this year.
There are a variety of stages for entertainment for anyone’s tastes. I always gravitate to a place where I hear fiddling and found such a stage at the at the Pirate’s Pub at the Larkspur, CO, festival last Sunday. Besides the Craic Show, with musicians from Norway, Spain, France and Ireland (including a bagpiper) I also enjoyed the Vodca Family, a musically inclined and comedic group of gypsies, with the two women skilled at belly-dancing and interesting body contortions.
I can recommend my latest fair in Colorado for a day in your vacation. They had an endangered “cat” show, and you could snap photos of a baby Bengal tiger at the end. For the children, there were elephants, llamas and camels on which you could take an inexpensive ride. There’s even free parking.
Visitors can share in the gallantry, the romance, and adventure that is the Renaissance! You can even rent a costume or buy one, or parts of one at the many merchant shops, featuring handcrafted items. April was my fashion consultant at one the artisan shops, Mythic Art Leather.
Even though it is kind of sad leaving this revelry and fantasyland atmosphere, I love how the costumed, staffed performers all stay in character, to wish us farewell.
They sing and dance for us and celebrate the spirit of optimism that this historic movement of the Renaissance represents. Renaissance festivals preserve the feeling of a secular spirit less religious than that of the dark ages, and where people developed a renewed interest in classical civilization.
In the 21st century, I think places like Renaissance festivals are really important places for young and old alike to have this “re-birthed” kind of creative spirit and live in the moment, in the feeling.
Ren Fairs are not just ordinary festivals. They provide a magically uplifting experience. They’re open-minded and full of positive vibes, something we need more of in our present world.
If You Go:
Colorado Renaissance Festival & Artisan’s Marketplace
650 W. Perry Park Ave.
Larkspur, CO 80118
Tel: (303) 688-6010 / (877) 259-3328
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Mount Airy Estate Estate and Winery
2775 Lebanon Road
Manheim, PA 17545
Tel: (717) 665-7021
New York Renaissance Faire
600 State Route 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY 10987
Tel: (845) 351-5174
Minnesota Renaissance Festival