Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ye Olde Renaissance Faire

by Linore Rose Burkard

One of the perks of Autumn is the Renaissance Festival. Here in southwestern Ohio, we have a medieval-style fair grounds replete with "Olde"  English buildings, church, and even a jousting area, but it lies sadly vacant all year--until the Renaissance Festival returns each fall. [Be sure to click on the pictures to get a closer view!]

You've always wanted to be greeted by a Knight in shining armor, right?

When I mentioned to a friend that we had spent a day at the festival, she said, "Last time I went it was fantasy/renaissance. I didn't care for it at all. It was just weird. Was the one you went to just Renaissance?"

Well--the rest of today's post is my answer to her question. I took scads of photos and notes, which, perhaps because I'm a writer, seemed  like the natural thing to do.  

Weird--or Wonderful. You Be the Judge

People love to show off their costumes, and the Renaissance Fair was a golden opportunity. There was goth, wizard outfits, other time periods, and just plain punk stuff.  I took photos of some of the best.   

Just beautiful! (Notice the wooden stein. They were for sale there.) 
An Archer
A Puppeteer (poor photo, sorry)
Crusaders, perhaps? (But the cross is missing)
Forsooth, another fellow
A band of hearty pirates, matey 

The cloak/coat, left, gets five stars!    
A Red Knight
There were loads of people and loads of shops.
The girl in the skirt, ahead, is my daughter.

Stage performances were not all created equal, but this one included fire-eating! 
And voila! He really did it--more than once, ouch.  
The "Fool Hearty" Duo. (They get an A for great costumes.) 
The quintessential magic act, "Cut the girl in two!" 

A truly funny performer. This act included knife-throwing and juggling, besides the tongue-in-cheek humor. Best part of the day!
The second half of the two-man knife-throwing/juggling act 
Robin Hood and Maid Marion. Family friendly fun

The husband picture didn't make it, but this lady is the wife in an act that could be called a Medieval-style battle of the sexes. Included some derring-do and swordplay. Fun!  

The shops ran the gamut from neat leather goods to occult weird stuff. There was a wonderful quilt shop and it even had a couple of Christian themed quilts. Animal pelts galore, medieval clothing, jewelry, crystals, pottery, weaving, and more. 
The Sign says: Large Stainless Steel Rings $50.00 - $65.00. 

Wares for sale: 
  • Wood and clay mugs, pottery
  • Staffs, anklets, shields
  • Viking Helmets
  • Garlands, sashes, hair bands
  • Essential oils and incense, candles
  • Walking sticks, wood carvings
  • rings, puzzle rings, necklaces, key chain charms
  • bicornes and tricornes
  • fabric purses
  • knives, axes, old-fashioned pistols
  • fox tails, leather whips, animal pelts
  • swords and scabbards, some hand-forged
  • gemstone wind-chimes
  • chain-mail
  • leather boots, 1/2 boots, moccasins
  • masks, magic wands
  • stained glass hangings
  • dragon eggs (crystals)
  • small stone sculptures
  • rope sandals, flags, archery quivers
  • medieval outfits, children's outfits
  • ladies' corsets, bodices, etc. ("Damsel in This Dress")
  • Elf ears
  • Ye Olde Quilt Shoppe 
  • pictures, artwork
  • "Souvenirs, Gifts and Wares"
  • Wood Shoppe
  • Book Shoppe
Beautiful craftsmanship. Stones come from US rivers

Food: (The setting may be Renaissance, but they're feeding millennials and they know it!)
  • "turkey legges" (This year's batch was cured like ham and unsatisfactory, in my humble opinion. I like a turkey leg that tastes like turkey.)
  • ale and beer, other alcoholic beverages
  • "Fat Friar's" (Funnel cakes. What kind of fair would be complete without them?)
  • The "Jerusalem Café"--middle eastern
  • Burgers and fries 
  • Soft serve ice cream
  • "Roadhouse BBQ" and "Fool's Pub"
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • "Pot Roast Sundae"
  • "Mac and Cheese Cupcake"
  • Steak Sandwich
  • Pizza, bratwurst, hot dogs, Chicken fingers, etc.etc.
  • Hair braiding
  • Gypsy face painting
  • Henna
A Medieval-style Southern Belle Costume? 
For Sale 

The Entertainment:
Audience participation was de rigueur. (When they ask for volunteers, this is when the wise judiciously avoid eye contact at all costs.) Some of the entertainment was not included with admission, which was about $22 per head. (We went on the buy one/get one admission weekend!)
  • Magic Shows
  • Axe-throwing, Archery. George and the Dragon (Perfect dress-up and play for the kiddies)
  • Stocks (usually empty)
  • A Castle with Dungeon
  • "Fool Hearty"
  • Jousting 
  • Knife-Throwing Comedy Show (the best act we saw)\
  • A medieval cemetery (small but effective)
  • A Maze
  • Horse or Pony Rides
  • Camel ride (A smaller camel, but perhaps it's safer that way)
  • Archery
  • "Drench the Wench"
  • Merry-Go-Round
  • "Test of Strength"
  • Other kiddie rides
  • Live Music
  • And More
Epitaph-cum-Classified Ad?
 "Here Lies Buried the body of Mr. Jared Smith who Died April 23, 1502 in his 73rd year. His widow aged 23 years who Mourns as one who can be comforted lives on Drury Lane in this Village and possesses every Qualification for a Loving Wife."
Finally, arriving with some pomp at the jousting event, which usually ends the day for us, was good ol' Queen Bess, Queen Elizabeth, that is, in beautiful array.

"Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth" 
The Queen with courtiers, at the Joust 

The official website for the Ohio Renaissance Festival can be viewed, here.

Do you attend Renaissance Festivals? If so, do you dress in Renaissance style, or what is your favorite feature? 

Linore Rose Burkard is best known for historical romance novels with Harvest House Publishers, and now writes YA/Apocalyptic Suspense as L.R.Burkard. Linore teaches workshops for writers in Ohio, is a mother of five, and still homeschools her youngest daughter. Subscribers to her ezine are automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to win a free copy of one of her books, awarded monthly. Sign up here!


  1. Awesome pictures, as usual. I don't attend Renaissance Fairs, but my daughter and son-in-law have gone to a few. My son-in-law made his own costumes as well.

    1. I've been to a few and some are better than others. This one has grown over time and offered much more than the last time we went (a few years back). Your son-in-law made his own costumes? I'm impressed!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have never been to a Renaissance Festival.

    1. Hi Melanie, Now you know what to expect! I didn't mention that the food was pricey, but that's not unusual for these types of things. Just fyi. :)

  3. Fantastic pictures! I adore Renaissance festivals and we have a yearly one close to us. Unfortunately, we can't always make it. I do not dress up - only because I don't have any clothes for it! We love wandering and watching the jousting.

    1. Yes, same here, Susan. It would be fun to go in costume some time, but we have a good old time just gawking and enjoying what others' wear!

  4. Oh no, those costumes are going to make me have Kittens. The woman at the top is wearing a hat and has a parasol that looks 18th century and the Red Knight's- that doesn't look like anything which really existed- at least not in Europe. Renaiassance Faires are sadly not noted for their Historical Accuracy....

    1. Yes, English Lady. I certainly wouldn't attend one to do any medieval research! It's purely for fun and the motto seems to be "anything goes," when it comes to costume. :)

    2. I suppose the problem is where I come from we don't really have Renaissance Faires, but we do have 'Living History' events, which the people involved in take quite seriously in terms of accuracy and costumning. That sort of thing horrifies us!

  5. Linore, what fun! I went to a Renaissance festival many years ago when I lived in Atlanta, and I totally forgot about them since! Thanks for including so many pictures. Makes me want to go to the one you went to. So did you buy anything? A costume, perhaps?

    1. We bought (drumroll....) food! lol. Let's see...what else..I was tempted at the book shop (of course) but resisted; A friend with us bought some jewelry...but the costumes--well, I wasn't ready to drop a hundred or three, especially when what I really want is a REGENCY-era costume! (I feel as though I did buy something but I can't remember--and neither does my daughter.) I have a few more pictures but I felt the post was long enough!