Out and about: An inside look at this year’s Renaissance Faire, where modern meets medieval

Eden Braunstein

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From 10am until 7pm, the Renaissance Fair is a place of pleasure and happiness. From the moment I walked through the doors of the Santa Fe Dam Recreation area, I felt enjoyably stuck between the present and the past.  It was rather amusing to watch the employees scan tickets with high tech gizmos while dressed in medieval period clothes. They quickly finish, and you then grab a map, full of activities and showtimes.

Renaissance festivals are held throughout the United States during the year and allow for participants to “time travel” to that interesting period of history. Everything about the festival, including the costumed entertainers, the crafters, and even the food is meant to educate and amuse the guests.

I look around completely mesmerized by people dressed in Renaissance garb.  There are women dressed in vivid colors and heavy brocades.  Men’s vestitures are similarly ornate.  I feel that my cute outfit of jeans and a top just isn’t meeting medieval standards and make a mental mental note to secure a proper chemise for myself for next year’s faire which will mark the event’s 50th anniversary.

The vibrant patchwork of Renaissance life becomes apparent as I walk around. The working class men talk loudly while they drink beer around a fire.  A blacksmith is hard at work forging some iron creation (that will inevitably be available for purchase) beside them.   A woman dressed as a hag is dragging a bucket full of a butchered animal body parts.  The acrid odor of the decomposing meat mingles with the amazing smells of freshly baked bread and roasted turkey legs.   I make my way to the ”Cold Drynks” stand, purchase a coke and silently wish that those turkey legs belonged to an Empire kosher turkey.

Most of people around me are dirty, but I’m surprisingly fine with not knowing whether or not these people showered recently.  A Barbarian/Warrior, who does not bear the faintest resemblance to the hunky Conan the Barbarian, approaches and slings his arm around me way too tightly.  My parents, who find humor in a situation where their daughter is accosted by a middle aged man with bad teeth, snap a picture.  Soon enough their attention is diverted when a parade draws close.

People play trumpets to herald the arrival of “Queen Elizabeth I”. The “Queen” waves to me and I feel special. The parade then draws to a close and you follow the crowd toward the jousting ceremony. Knights come out and smash each other to smithereens on horses.  I feel the testosterone in the air is static with exhilaration. Drunk and merry tourists applaud as the winning knight and they then pose for pictures.

Before I know it, it’s the end of the day and I slowly walk towards the exit to leave. I follow some people dressed in authentic Renaissance clothing as they return to a trailer, earning nothing but generous tips from tourists. As I sit in our car I close my eyes, content about the day. The Renaissance Fair was a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

 

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