Last year I decided to take my first trip to a Renaissance Faire, or Ren Faire as they are more shortly known. Now the ren faire was something that I had always had mixed feelings about. I was on the fence between thinking them to be a ridiculous place full of nerds that I should stay clear of to thinking them to be a place where I really wanted to go. Now in general ren faires would obviously seem like a perfect fit for my likings. I have always liked swords since as far as I can recall and pretty much the same can be said for my interest in women in corsets. Growing up in Massachusetts there was King Richard’s Faire I think that was the closets one, but never did I go. I always kept it in my head that it might be fun, but I was constantly fighting with the voice in my head telling me that it was too nerdy. I had already made it known I liked Star Trek so adding the red faire to my interests would have damaged my reputation beyond repair. And so I kept it a secret for many years. I secretly longed to go to the faire.
I then moved down to Pennsylvania and soon discovered that there was also a renaissance faire in the area. I frequently saw billboards on I-95 advertising the festival. I thought one day I would like to go. It took me about 10 years to finally do it. Life had taken some weird turns and everything I knew or thought I knew turned out to be wrong or things just kept leading to disappointment the more I tried to do what was normal and accepted or “cool”. I found myself doing what I didn’t really want to be doing only because someone else thought, or I thought someone else thought I should be doing that thing. Basically I cared what people thought. Then one day I had an epiphany. The hell with them! This is my life and I shall live it as I please. Once I began walking down that road I then finally decided I would go to the faire.
The first time I went was on the Scottish & Irish themed weekend. Perfect time to wear my kilt I thought. I was right.
I arrived at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire on the grounds of the Mount Hope Estate and Winery in Mannheim, PA. I wasn’t too sure what to expect at first. I had some preconceived ideas about the faire and I had googled around for info about ten faire and such. But for some reason I was slightly nervous stepping out of my car in my kilt. The kilt was fine, I’ve worn it around plenty of times before in public so I was comfortable enough with that, but I think it was something to do with the idea of crossing the threshold and finally entering into the world of the faire. As I walked though the gates any of that apprehension melted away.
I was transported to a wondrous world where everyone was friendly and just simply enjoying themselves. Living in the city has jaded me a bit. I’m not used to people being friendly. It was an adjustment saying hello or rather “Good Day” to strangers as our paths crossed. Here in the City of Brotherly Love proper protocol for interacting with strangers is to either ignore each other or proceed to yell obscenities.
I spent the day wandering around the Shire of Mt. Hope exploring the land and interacting with the inhabitants. It was great. It was full of people enjoying themselves. Sure they speak in funny accents, and can be a bit ridiculous at times, all are having fun.
I left the faire that first day feeling content. For the first time in a long while I enjoyed myself and I was able to let the entire outside world not exist for a day. I didn’t return to the faire as I was busy doing other things with my weekends, but the following year I decided to return. As I write this I have been to the faire three times so far this season and may infact return for a fourth time this weekend. I have gone by myself each time before, but this weekend I will be going with a group of people. Most of them I think have not been to the faire before.
Next weekend is time travelers weekend, so you know what that means…