Renaissance Faires: I Just Don’t Get It

Blue gargoyles, fairy wings, corsets, kilts, crowns, swords and crossbows…it can only mean one thing. I’ve made it to my very first Renaissance Faire.

Now, I have nothing against the ren faire world. It’s just a little foreign to me. The people who work there I get; they have a job to do and a role to play. Now visitors, well, they take it a little too seriously even for me.

Plus I find the word “huzzah” obnoxious.

This past weekend Mike and I packed up the kids and headed out to Bonney Lake, WA for the annual Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. The price was a bit steep at $18 per adult, but at least the kids were free.

As we paid for our tickets we were greeted with the regular “Good morrow my lady” by the ticket woman who was dressed in a lovely period costume. She then proceeded to pull out an iPad with a credit card scanner attached to it. Bit of a contrast there don’t you think?

The night before I decided I would get into the spirit of the faire and see what all the fuss was about. The theme that weekend was fairies and I had a pair of fairy wings in my closet left over from an old Halloween costume. I would blend right in.

Dek’s old dragon costume would fit Ty perfectly. I might as well get one more use out of it before it went off to the consignment shop. Dek had no interest in wearing a costume. I didn’t push it since I knew seeing so many people in costume might scare him.

We arrived in the morning before most of the die-hard ren faire fans had arrived. I already felt like a poser and silly for wearing my wings. Ty was adorable and got loads of smiles and comments from everyone we passed, but it got hot quickly that morning. I took Ty out of his costume and popped him into my Ergo.

Now I was the lady with cheap wings with a baby strapped on her.

Hmmm… Well, I’ve looked like a bigger idiot before. I certainly wasn’t going to take them off and carry them around the rest of our stay.

We arrived too late for the jousting match and I needed to throw some calories into my stomach. We headed to the food concession stands. Turkey legs were a must Mike informed me. They were the quintessential ren faire food. He had actually been to a renaissance faire back in Pennsylvania when he was younger. I had to take his word for it.

With a turkey leg, strawberry crepe and corn dog in hand we were able to squish onto a picnic table with two little girls in costume waiting for their parents. I got a thorough education from these little girls about what else I could expect that day.

Another jousting match was coming up. The queen would be accepting visitors shortly. Oh and I was told to hide my wings because the troll was coming. He liked to eat fairies. O…K….

Troll coming to eat fairies (left) and an…ork, goblin?

Lucky for me Dek had just finished his lunch and declared he needed a sword. I think Mike actually prompted him on that one. What dad doesn’t want to hand his son his very first weapon?

Our toddler had definite ideas of what would make his perfect sword. First of all it had to be big. No not big. Really big.

Sorry kiddo. If you can’t lift up the sharp weapon that can impale your brother than you can’t have it. That’s the rule.

After much searching, Mike and Dek finally settled on a nice little wooden sword that fit into his belt loop. You won’t find a cuter photo moment than a little man walking around with his hand on the hilt of his sword ready to jump into action at a moments notice.

A quick stop at one of the stages to watch a heckling fire spinner saw us heading back to the car. Naptime had come and gone. Throngs of people in costume were now crowding the venders looking for a new garment or set of arrows to add to their collection. It was hot and we were done.

With a final “Fair thee well” we ended our first renaissance faire experience as a family.

Was I impressed? Well, to be honest, not really. Mike claims the one in PA has fewer vendors and more events, which also means more actors walking around saying “fetch me an ale young wench.” That could be interesting, but I’m not so sure it’s my thing. I’m more of a street festival/ county fair girl. The food is better and there aren’t as many characters wandering about trying to scare my kid (although to their credit the ren faire people did stay clear of the smaller kids unless the kids approached them first).

I will try it again. Maybe a larger faire would be a bit more exciting. Perhaps a cooler day would find us exploring a little more and ready to sit down to watch some performances. I might just have to invest in a full on garb as well. After all, if we are going to go to the trouble of attending a ren faire again we should probably look the part.

What do you think? A new look for our next ren faire?

Know Before You Go

  • Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, 20021 Sumner-Buckley Highway, Bonney Lake, WA 98391
  • Last weekend is August 18-19, 2012
  • Open 10am-7pm
  • Cost: $18 adults/ $12 child (6-17)/ $48 family (2 adults/2 kids)
  • Strollers? If you need to bring one make it a jogger stroller or something with good wheels. You will be pushing through lots of grass. A baby carrier is recommended.
  • Camping is allowed on sight for a fee.
  • Small pets are welcome. Dogs must be kept on leashes and cleaned up after.

Have you ever been to a renaissance faire? What was your impression?

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14 thoughts on “Renaissance Faires: I Just Don’t Get It”

  1. Tonya @ The Traveling Praters

    We’re a fan of Renaissance Faires. Our first one spoiled us- it was the faire in Pennsylvania. We loved the mud people- what a hoot! The jousting is always a hit and my boys loved the lizards (the anoles) that were for sale. We also enjoyed the human chess game and the Shakespeare play.

    There is a smaller one in Ohio that we’ve visited twice. Last time the kids and I dressed up. It made me uncomfortable when people stopped me and asked to photograph me in my dress. My husband didn’t much care for it either. 🙁 Awww…well, that was a few years ago. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get my kids to dress up with me at this point in life. Somehow dressing up for Comic Con is cool whild a ren faire is not.

  2. paula schuck

    These are gorgeous pictures, but the turkey leg kind of grossed me out. Your baby is adorable and you don’t look posy!

  3. Steve

    I think you made a great looking fairy, although you have no hope of competing with Ty in the dragon costume. I can see how the heat would make the day a little less enjoyable though. More time in the mead tent next time and less time running away from trolls next time.

  4. Trish

    It looks like a whole lot of fun.
    Thanks for linking up.

  5. Tamara

    Looks like a fun fair to go to. Must look out for one in my part of the world

  6. Sonia Life Love and Hiccups

    I have never been to one of these but I have been intrgued. I think my boys would probably love to visit something like this. Thanks for linking up so we could visit you 🙂 xx

  7. Lisa Wood

    we have one in Australia (in QLD) at caboolture every year – its called “Medieval Festival” – we have been once, and had a blast! Would love to go again – but like you say, it needs to be on a day when its not so hot, and there is shade to sit and watch the events.
    Our boys loved it because they have pretend sword fighting 🙂

  8. Carol and ArtMuseDog

    Not my ‘cup of tea’ either ~ but different ~ Great photos ~ (A Creative Harbor) on blogger

  9. Sherry

    It has been a long time since I attended a ren-fair, but I do agree some of those people working take it very seriously – it is a way of life for some (sadly or fortuantely I knew some of those people). I haven’t even tried to take my kids there yet – too expensive & some of the sights they just don’t need to see… Glad you found a sibling-friendly sword!!!

  10. Gina

    Looks like fun! They have one up in Tahoe that we always tried to go to but the schedule never allowed it.

  11. Val Joiner

    Hahaha… maybe you need to go with pre-teen geeks who are totally into fantasy and medieval stuff. You’re welcome to borrow mine! But yes, you have to take RenFests with a grain of salt.

  12. AlbaThistles

    Just made our 3rd annual visit to the TX Ren Fest. We’ve been to Faires in Ohio, Scotland and TX and enjoyed them all. The TX Ren Fest is one of the best; however I’ve never dressed up. My daughter does but Hubby and I go as we are and just enjoy the atmosphere. We always find wonderful, unique gifts and items for our house from the artisans booths. I like the family atmosphere and that there is something for everyone.

  13. Kathy

    True this one isn’t as big as some of the others, but it grows every year. Sounds like you didn’t get a chance to stay longer and really enjoy more of the performances. There is Cirque du Sewer, who does stage performances but also wanders the faire, the jousting and vaulting performances are excellent, and there were camel rides and sheep to pet! Not to mention all of the local artisans who actually make all of their items. Yes, they’re spread between those who import, but you can spot the difference. I do hope you try again next year.

    1. Keryn Means

      Awesome Kathy! Now that our boys are a little older (probably not the best to visit with a 3 month old and 3 year old! I know I was exhausted!) we will definitely have to check it out again!

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