Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Renaissance Faire

Every couple of years, my family and I get to the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire. I always find it an interesting experience with the mix of crafts for sale, entertainment, fortune tellers, artisans at work, and colorful costuming.

Those, who run the faire, dress and talk appropriate to the 1500s as best they know it. One booth rents costumes, but it seems each year more of the attendees come dressed up and having fun with their choices. A lot of time, money and thought goes into those costumes. When I was arriving, a wild looking bunch of Highlanders, in plaid pants and with swords were just ahead in the line.

Although I am not one who has been into Medieval times, sometime it would be fun to go in costume.-- play pretend and for a few hours be someone else. Since the usual garb for the Elizabethan wealthier classes involves rich brocades, heavy fabrics, many layers of clothing, not to mention corsets, if I do dress up, it'll likely be as a gypsy-- poorer but cooler.

The faire is currently being held on farmland, alongside a river, with timbered hills as a backdrop which makes it feel very authentic as well as picturesque. If you didn't have a field full of automobiles and an emergency vehicle parked alongside, you might almost convince yourself you had stepped back in time... almost.

While entertainment can be bagpipes, belly dancing, juggling, anything that might have been done back then, the highlight is the tournament which involves sword fighting and jousting. This year the group putting that on came from Seattle and had women as a part of the sword fighting and horsemanship skill events-- in everything but the actual jousting. Despite the fact the tournament is for entertainment, jousting is obviously an event that requires a great deal of strength, dexterity, and can be dangerous.

This faire is one sponsored by the Society for Creative Anachronism, which has information online for anyone interested. They meet regularly throughout the year, some have their weddings at their various gatherings, and from what I have read, many feel the 1500s is the time they would have most liked to live-- or perhaps the past life for which they have the most affinity. We also have such gatherings of mountain men and many of those people do feel they were born over a hundred years too late.

My grandson, who is two, left with a big smile, a dragon stick horse, a wand given to him by a strolling wizard (carved from a branch) and a peacock feather. Not sure where he got that. I left with some nice photographs, time spent with happy people, a full stomach (burrito renamed gypsy fare), and memories of a sunny afternoon enjoying the diversity of people and their interests.


Dick said...

There is a renaissance fair every summer here in the Seattle area in Kent, WA. It is a very popular thing for people to go to, although I have never made it. Maybe sometime.

Mary Lou said...

My friend Rusty's Daughter is into that. SHe got married in the era costumes, and all her guests were asked to come dressed up too. THey really get into it traveling all over to go to these faires. She was probably there with you!

Alan G said...

Wow....that must be a West Coast thing I guess. I have never heard or seen anything like that around here. The South has a lot of Civil War reenactments. I guess that must be out version of a Renaissance Faire.

I have always wondered just how far I could walk dressed up in some of the battle garb from that era. I suspect walking, much less standing would probably be out of the question.

Thanks for the post and pictures. Great education for us who live sheltered lives. :)

PS....I think you would make a fine looking Gypsy.

Autumn said...

That looks like fun..I want to go someday!

Ingineer66 said...

Great report from the front Rain. I have always wanted to go to one, but never have made the time to do it. I will make it more of a priority now. Who could pass up on chics beating on each other. I have heard of them in the Bay area and smaller ones around here. And we have plenty of rednecks in these parts too because Civil War reinactments are pretty big around here, but then again lots of Nor Cal is like South Alabama.
Did you dress up?

Rain said...

i wore tight dark blue jeans, a knit sleeveless black top and tennis shoes... clothes geared more to the heat, climbing dusty slopes to watch jousting, and carrying a toddler if needed :)