• Thu, Sep 20 2012

33 Absurd Things I Learned At The New York Renaissance Faire

11. Most things you eat come on a stick.

Chocolate covered frozen cheesecake on a stick at the NY Renaissance Faire

So that cliche is definitely true: everything is on a stick. Like frozen cheesecake, which I understand was a favorite delicacy of King Arthur’s. And…

A turkey leg at the New York Renaissance Faire

Turkey legs!

A blogger lacks manners at Ren Faire

What a monster.

After the turkey legs come…

Frozen bananas!

 

12. Frozen bananas are a great comedic device.

This joke can really go places.

 

13. They taste pretty good, too.

Renaissance Faire frozen banana

I’d never had one! It was all right! I don’t know what that weird thing hanging off it is, though, and I hope I didn’t eat it.

 

14. Funnel cake is one of the few foods not on a stick.

Renaissance Festival funnel cake

Maybe they could try harder.

 

15. Ren Faire is actually more like a county faire with crafts and artisanal goods instead of rides.

Back to my earlier point about how Ren Faire is for adults; people really do go around Ren Faire like it’s a open air market from another time that sells rings and leather work and, unsurprisingly, a shitload of soaps and scented candles. When my friends originally invited me to Ren Faire, I told them I would go on the condition that one of them bought me a tri-point hat. They all had a good laugh at me because tri-point hats aren’t really an Elizabethan style, but within five minutes of getting there, I saw 1) a hat dealer selling tri-point hats and 2) dozens of dudes in tri-point hats. So, who’s laughing now, “friends?”

 

16. Tri-Point hats are not even close to the most ridiculous thing you can buy at Ren Faire.

Smoothies, for one. You can also buy wooden crossbows that launch marshmallows and lizards (er, “orphan dragons,” per the dragon dealer, Saint George).

 

17. There are fashion trends at Ren Faire.

Festival attendees lining up to buy horns at the NY Renaissance Faire

The most popular street style craze at Ren Faire was horns. Sure, lots of ladies were getting braids, or Henna tattoos, and corsets were well-represented throughout, but the line out of the horn dealer’s stall seemed like it was dozens deep all day. Maybe it was the unisex appeal? A few people even had elf ears and horns, which is really having your cake and eating it, too.

 

18. You can’t be “over it” at Ren Faire.

People will see right through that.

 

19. There is a social hierarchy, though.

At the top is probably “people on horseback.” At the bottom is “people who have to follow the people on horseback with wheelbarrows and shovels.” :(

 

20. There are absolutely “cool kids” at Ren Faire.

I thought this kid was so awesome. He was smoking Marlboro Reds and looking like he was up to absolutely no good, while at the same time dressed as he was. Very, very impressive Marlboro Reds Will Scarlet.

 

21. Some people view Ren Faire as a chance to be silly.

It’s really the only time you can wear that.

 

22. Some people view Ren Faire as a chance to be themselves.

Okay, real talk. I realized pretty quickly that a lot of people seem to feel more at home at Ren Faire than they probably do anywhere else and–setting aside the astronomical admission costs, abysmal toilet situation, overpriced food and general hallucinatory dread I inevitably feel in large crowds–it makes Ren Faire pretty all right. I guess I’d say the overall “vibe” is one of people who feel like they belong together as a community and they’re all grateful for it. More to the point…

 

23. Ren Faire attracts many disparate subcultures.

The goths love Ren Faire–probably more than anyone else–but there were also a lot of hippies, a lot of pan-nerds, a lot of stoner kids (after the funnel cake and fryed mac’n cheese, no doubt)… but look at this sweet punk rock kid! He knows there won’t be any jocks harassing him at Ren Faire; he can just hang out and love Stiff Little Fingers and do whatever.

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  • Lastango

    Thanks for helping me save $22.

  • Pants

    When I was a teenager, I worked the two original Ren Faires began by the Pattersons in California back when the Living History Center sponsored them. (It appears there’s a NY faire affiliated with the company now, but the LHC has long since dropped association.) Back when the LHC was involved, everything had to be as period-perfect as possible. There were costume police walking around making sure the employees were as close to historically accurate as possible. There were building rules, vending rules (no frozen bananas on sticks, for example). We had to take weekend workshops on how to speak correctly, walk correctly, know where we were in the caste system and how to act appropriately. Prostitutes wore green under skirts to avoid grass stains and advertised with bells. (I wore both. Shut up.) Back then, it really was like a living history lesson.

    Then the LHC dropped association and it became this weird disneyfied thing with wings and naked shoulders and hair all around. (Women were not allowed to display their hair after the age of 10; visible hair indicated virginity or an unwed woman–not very common after the age of 10 to 12. Shoulders weren’t visible–it was fucking freezing. )

    But the real reason to work at those faires is the parties that happen once all the turkeys (read: faire patrons) leave. The grounds become a giant fucking orgy. It was so much ridiculous fun. …and no place for a teenager to work, but I’m glad I did!

    • Sarah

      Bahahahaha to the orgy comment. I was talking with a friend recently about how a lot of people think that rennies are nerdy hopeless virgins, when actually rennies are the absolute sluttiest of nerds.

    • Jen

      Love this. I’ve been told that if you can’t get laid at a ren faire you probably just can’t get laid at all. Based on my own, er, research… I concur. Verily.

    • Pants

      Yeah, I didn’t get the whole “aww, these D&D nerds have never seen boobs” mentality. Honey, these nerds are more sexed up than porn stars. That swing your two year old is on? Someone fucked on it last night. That padding under the rope ladder game your husband just fell on? Group of about 6 people rolled around doing naked things on it last night.

      Frankly, I had a damn blast. :-)

    • Ashley Cardiff

      You guys are amazing!

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Also, I’m temped to add a #34/5th to my list: “You are a turkey, whether you know it or not.”

    • Pants

      Feel free! There are even two hand-signals for it!

      Left hand, opened–palm facing right.
      Right hand in thumbs-up, twisted to right so your thumb is pointing to the right, pinky side of fist up against the palm of your left. Turkey.

      Now, same left hand palm open.
      Right hand, fisted with thumb tucked under fingers, thumb-side against the flat of your left palm. Turkey–but not the good kind. Asshole patron. Literally, “Turkey with his head up his ass.”

    • busy

      Turkeys… at the New York Ren Faire we call them “Danes”. Short for “mundanes”. :-)

  • Sarah

    Faire is like my favorite thing in the world. It brought me out of my shell so much and I’ve met a lot of amazing people through them. I’ve never gone to a faire without being dressed up and totally into it and going along with the cast. I, at least, find that to be way more fun than going in jeans and just sort of observing from a distance.

    Also, some faires do have actual rides. They won’t be like county fair rides so much, but some do have them. At least, the Kentucky and Ohio faires do.

  • Gaia

    This was delightful.

  • Peeta

    No, seriously, people: EVERYTHING at Faire has semen on it.

    • Pants

      If the sun were a blacklight, Faire would look like CSI.

    • superjack

      Verily, motherfuckers.

  • Pants

    Tips for next time:
    –search for discount tickets; groupon, grocery stores, etc.
    –arrive balls-early for the best parking spaces, least traffic
    –bring a flask
    –bring pot brownies (seriously. do this. bring a lot.)
    –share pot brownies with employees for the homie hookup
    –at some point, sit and people watch (preferably after the brownies kick in)
    –find the kissing bridge, all faires have one. hang around it. make out with strangers
    –or watch strangers make out
    –find one ale stand / pub that you really like (with the cutest bartender?) tip well there, you’ll be taken care of
    –go back to that one ale stand several times
    –adderall will keep you from eating too much expensive food
    –buy food close to faire-closing, as they do 2-fers and give out extra goodies

    • Ashley Cardiff

      WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I NEEDED YOU PANTS?!

    • Pants

      Unfortunately….. Texas.

      Our Faire season just started, actually. I don’t work them out here but when I visit (i try to go once a season), I can tell the atmosphere is no different. It’s still a freaky freak playground. Makes me all nostalgic.

    • Pants

      One more: BYO wet wipes. You can practically SELL them at the privs.

  • Katie

    You can get panties at Ren Faire??

    Please go to more places and take pictures of things and tell us about them.

  • Lagunitas

    Cool BuzzFeed post

    • Kit

      Yeah, they surely have a trademark on… numbered lists with corresponding photos.

  • Jennifer Wright

    I just want to say that I have been to some renfaires in my day, and I have horns, and chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick might be my favorite food.

    Also – cool buzzfeed post. BURN.

  • Thalia

    I cringe when I see posts like this because it’s always so marginalizing of the people at X or Y, but I liked it until the “What a monster” remark.

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Trust me, I was eating quite monstrously.

    • thalia

      Oh thank goodness! I really didn’t want to be mad at you for snarking on random people enjoying delicious turkey legs at Ren Faire.

    • Pants

      I think the whole point of turkey legs is to eat them like you’re a ravenous beast. It’s part of the experience! Same with grilled corn on the cob. (Also, add the parmesan cheese. It’s ridiculous.)

      Me? I’m a sucker for the scotch eggs. I will burn every surface of my mouth trying to eat that molten lava ball of delicious.

  • Meghan Keane

    Huzzah!

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Huzzah!

  • Eve Vawter

    Huzzah Ashley thank you for going to renn fair so I never have to!

  • Meghan Keane

    This is probably a stupid question, but why go with Fryed and not also Macaroney?

    • Ashley Cardiff

      I think that is actually a very good question.

  • Huzzah

    What, no pictures of the nearly naked in chain mail? I think that is the #1 trend down here at the South Texas faire. Seriously. People who would never dare be spotted in public in a tank top will happily wander around in nearly nude see through chain mail. Just let it all hang out… granted, they are probably cooler than the rest of us sweltering in the heat and dust.

    Also, down here they have a whole camp site die hard fans can stay at. You can spend your whole Friday to Monday living it up and on the last week Wed – Monday. Now THAT is true dedication.

  • Jami

    HAHA, this is super funny to me. I think when I started working faire I believed in the “sexed up glamour” of it way more, but 10 years it, I know that there’s way more innuendo and talk of sex and orgy than actually happens. I’m gonna tell the swing people what you said about the ride though, they’ll chuckle at that. Thanks to who wrote this article, it was well penned and I’m glad you had a good time. It’s all over the renfaire people’s face book streams right now. It was enjoyable to see this from a fresh perspective :)

    • Pants

      I used examples that I’d personally seen in my Faire days. Your swing’s mileage may vary. :-)

  • TIffany

    I have to tell you that the money goes to the cast, the property maintenance, security, etc…that castle facade has been there since I was 7 or 8 and I’m 39 now. You clearly were not around anyone in teh know who could point you the “the Flushies”, like the privies only they flush and are old indoor bathrooms left over from when the whole place was a botanical garden. Also you mention the unimportance of historical accuracy, well I have to tell you they are very strict about the tattoos you can show, as well as piercings even if you work for a vendor and are not “cast”, they force you to take a language class and you are supposed to speak in period English even if you only work for a vendor. They do not have enough staff to really enforce it, however they had enough staff to send someone by our booth every day for 7 years to make sure my lip ring wasn’t in. Most of the people in non-period garb (costumes) don’t work there and are what we call playtrons, they dress up for the fun of it, no one controls what they are or are not allowed to wear, so the faire itself takes no repsonsibility for that. Furries and other weird sci fi costumes, yeah we make fun of them all day long, we used to hand out printed fashion demerit cards to them, actually, we ran out of them. There are rides, they are not traditional carnival rides but the Renaissance equivalent, there are also games (like a carnival) I guess you missed it. there is a bird show, a chess tournament, and numerous shows. If all you saw was the negative stuff you posted you must really not be able to let yourself go in the moment, I mean really let yourself be engrossed in it just for a day.

    • Pants

      Yes, what’s *with* the Trekkies? We had hoards of them every year. Wtf?

      Though I always enjoyed seeing men laced into bodices. Give ‘em a taste of what we go through.

    • Lizz

      I second this statement.. and actually believe it or not, running through a crowd yelling poop at people is HIGHLY amusing. Its surprising how many people will not move for a horse with feet bigger then your head but will move for a wheelbarrow full of poop. :) if you decide to go again try hooking up with someone who actually knows how to have fun at a ren faire, you might enjoy it more next time.

  • Ganmerlad

    There was an extra letter in the medieval English alphabet called a “thorn” that looks very close to a “y”, but it sounds like “th”. ‘Ye olde’ is *actually* “The olde”. A bit of medieval trivia.

    • Ashley Cardiff

      It’s stunning how much I’ve learned from this comment thread. Thank you.

    • LMFAO

      Ash, your sarcasm has me literally in tears! Keep it up, girl!! LMFAO

    • Ashley Cardiff

      I wasn’t being sarcastic.

  • IndolentCin

    Come to the Maryland Ren Festival — pony rides for the kids, elephant and camel rides for everyone, climbing wall, a few games (axe throwing, archery, some other things) lots of shows, food/beer/sodas are reasonably priced (beer’s about $5), ticket price is $22 but you get a helluva lot of fun for your money if you go looking for fun, not for just for things to make fun of.

    • ellemck1

      Wait, wait, where are the elephant rides?! I’ve been going the MD one since I was a kid and have never seen them. I feel like I’ve been missing out!

      But the Maryland Renaissance Festival is awesome. We also have a great King Henry VIII and (this year) Queen Catherine of Aragon.

    • Jim

      Ellemck1 – Elephant rides are right down the hill from the jousting arena! No matter how much you ask, the handlers won’t let the elephants rear up on two legs while you ride them (best facebook profile picture ever…)

      Author – At the MD fair (faire), they’ll let everyone from kids to drunks throw edged weaponry into wooden walls for a couple bucks, or shoot a pile of arrows into hay. Also, the bathroom situation is much better there. Semi-disgusting port-o-potties, but 100x more than that picture, so they are bearable most of the day.

      Hit the nail on the head with #22 and #23. An incredibly inviting place where people can have fun and be themselves. Those people that are offended by this article are representing a time in Medieval History before humor was invented.

      In the end, if you decide you don’t like Renn Fests, no big deal. Just more chocolate cheesecake on a stick for me. Nom nom nom.

  • Astrid

    Thank you for this article. The one thing that the Rennies hate most is annoying cynics like you spoiling our fun. Never come back an tell your friends to stay home too. We have a much better time without having to deal with the Danes.

  • Joker

    As someone who used to work there and goes to the NYRF every year to visit with the employees, I can tell you that the Maryland state flag was most likely an inside joke for the Rennies themselves. You see there’s 3 places in the US that diehard Rennies never miss, Pennsic (which is in August), the NYRF, and the Maryland Renn Faire which starts after the NYRF ends.

  • Don

    It doesn’t sound like you had a bad time at all. In fact, it inspired you to continue to have a good time online. That’s cool. And thanks for all the kind thoughts about the cast. They (we) really do work hard to make the day as memorable as possible for all of our guests.

    I would argue that $22 is inexpensive for a full day’s entertainment. I’ll take it over $14 to see a 3-D crapola movie for just two hours. As a long-term Ren Vet (22 years professionally, 35 years as a fan) I appreciate the overall respectful tone you’ve taken toward something completely new to you. Huzzah! Your blog has my e-mail address. Next time you come down (and you know you will!) reach out first and I’ll see if I can arrange a “royal” tour — or at least point you to the hottest shows so you get every shilling of your $22 worth! Cheers!

    • Ashley Cardiff

      You are completely correct; when compared to a movie, Ren Faire is an obvious bargain.

      And thank you! As I’ve been saying elsewhere, I hope I can collect all the advice in this thread and return and have even more fun.

  • MB

    Please don’t take Astrid’s rudeness as typical; most of us are professionals, making a living by making people laugh. We don’t hate annoying cynics, because we ARE annoying cynics! We just convert you. ;)

    I do hope you’ll visit another faire or two. Sadly, over the last 15 years, things have become rather homogenized, and you see a lot of the same things at all the faires. Also, faires allowing in resellers of cheap Chinese crap has really damaged the reputations- faires should be marketed as craft festivals with entertainment, but some tool in marketing somewhere decided that they should be positioned as “theme parks” and then everyone did it, with predictably awful results. There are some amazing artisans on the Faire circuit. Please don’t judge them by the resellers.

    Glad you had fun and gave it a chance! (Protip- Bring a bottle of water in your purse and refill it at the water fountains all day. Saves $$.)

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Bottle of water would have been useful.

      A friend of mine said he didn’t like NYRF because it felt really “commercial,” by which he meant more like a giant open air market than a really immersive experience. Do you think that’s true, especially compared to other Faires?

      And yeah, I get the overwhelming impression from this comment thread that most of you guys have a pretty amazing sense of humor and recognize/embrace the absurdity of it all and have a good time.

      Also: sex and booze.

    • MB

      As far as an immersive experience, some faires are better than others for that- over the years historical adherence has been allowed to drop, and the experience has become “Disneyfied” a bit- which is to say commercial. I respectfully disagree with the poster upthread who said most faires don’t make money- the big ones do, because they are run like businesses. Because they are businesses. When you service 45,000+ customers a year, that’s a pretty big revenue stream. The smaller shows, the weekend shows, no, they don’t make a profit, generally.

      One of my favorite faires is Pennsylvania Faire, jokingly called on circuit “The Pier One-assance festival” because so much work has been put into the grounds and the look of the show. Any faire that has a bathroom dedicated to women only is just fine by me. Yes, it’s much more commercial than it was years ago, but it’s also beautiful and a solid entertainment value.

      We have pretty fabulous senses of humor. We have to. I’ve been offered money for sex, had a drunk guy stuff tip after tip in my cleavage with his grotty hands, been asked if I am “real” approximately 5,793 times, had heat exhaustion and hypothermia in the same weekend, and you have to laugh, and smile, and keep going. Because without you, we don’t have a reason to do what we do!

    • Barbara Warren

      Pen Ren is one of those faires that doesn’t spend a whole lot of effort on accuracy, and a lot of their goods are mass produced. If you want a really great faire, sterling in upstate NY is one of the best – smaller and intimidate, with some of the best performers all in one place, and wonderful artisans, with absolutely no mass-produced stuff, and a real effort to make their “story” historically accurateMake no mistake, I also enjoy Pen Ren, but it always seems a deliberate parody of the Elzabethan age, whereas, Sterling works very hard to transport you to “Warwickshire”. That doesn’t mean the characters are dry and uninteresting – the ” Bless the Mark Players” are both charming and funny – more like attending a Shakespearean comedy than a history lesson.

  • Joe

    Hey,
    I am one of the pickle men at that faire. You didn’t mention us. This is an outrage! AN OUTRAGE I DECLARE! If i ever see the author of this article I will mock him mercilessly until she dies from it!

    • Ashley Cardiff

      I’m sorry, Joe Pickle Man. I feel like I really, really need to return to Ren Faire now that all the employees have revealed themselves to be awesome, so next time, I will put it on my long list of oversights to amend.

    • Joe

      You should come again this weekend, I am going to unleash the power of moonshine.

  • MR

    This is not the one in Oswego, right? I went to the 200 year re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Champlain two weekends ago – the War of 1812. The people all dressed in 1812 attire. I thought the women were all very sexy, showing nothing. :)

    • MR

      I was off two years. But still it was very cool. I guess they’re warming up>

  • Delilah

    Thanx for showing off our home faire in such a delightful light..we enjoy it and its population…especially the sweet punk rock kid as he is our son…and he makes his attire to reflect his punk rock spirit.

  • Connor Williams

    “Cute little punk rocker?” I guess if you say so haha, thanks for taking the pic too, and yes, I made those pants…

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Your pants are amazing! How did you make them?

  • Red

    In his defense, the “heroin addict” pirate wasn’t dozing off or drunk or a heroin addict at all, he was merely waiting for his girlfriend to finish taking a piss, because it’s really fucking hard to take a piss, in a port a john wearing a chainmaille skirt.
    I would know because I was wearing the skirt, he’s my boyfriend and he was waiting because I asked him to.

  • Colleen

    Hello.

    While I am aware that you were going for satire in your article, I think you achieved a kind of generalized wishy-washy disdain. The main thing that struck me was that you repeatedly (almost thematically) referred to the fact that there are no rides at Ren Faire. I think the entire CREW of hardworking individuals that push the man-powered rides would disagree with you. In fact, there are few places that you can stand on faire site and not be within sight distance of a ride. I don’t know how such a glaring mistruth could actually make its way into your article. What a slap in the face to those who make their living that way.

    I would also like to point out that the jousters who spend hours and hours training their bodies and their horses to perform under great stress and in front of a thousand screaming people who may or may not be throwing stuff at them probably would resent being called “boring”. They’re not faking, they’re actually getting hit by big sticks at speed and possibly thrown off a horse. They go home bleeding for your entertainment. I wouldn’t call that boring.

  • bunny

    Hope you enjoyed yourself and you will come back.

  • JC

    $22 isn’t that bad when you consider that it’s the price for the WHOLE day. Not to mention you can bring your own food in (last time I checked) and you can go to your car and come back in. Unlike the big ren-faire in Mass. Their admission is higher and you are not allowed to bring food in or go to your car and come back in. I think they’re also slightly smaller (not grossly smaller) than NYRF.

  • SGMasten

    OK there is the Other New York renn fest up near Oswego,NY. I do not know if the jury up there has changed but It used to be very tight to get things in for the Show as far as Vendors Went , And I used to push the Carraselo, The Dragon Swing, the Barrel of Bedlam, and the Crows Nest back in 93-94, All Were Rides Maybe you wouldn’t enjoy one or the other but each Had it’s Moments of Fun. and there is The Cast of Professional Actors and Actresses, with some local Playtrons filling out the appearance of a Full Village. Jousters Vary from one show to the Next some are more real than others, the cheesy ones are wearing silver sweaters,the real ones wear real Armor.I have worked this Show and Many Others Scarborough Faire near Dallas, Texas Renn Faire or Fest Near Houston, Maryland , Bristol just north of the Illinois-Wisconsin Line, Near Chicago, Southern Ohio , and Atlanta Most of those I Pushed Rides or Sold something made by Craftsmen, Artisans, and Artist that had some measure of Talent, Creativity, Skill, And Professionalism as your self.

    • http://samanthaescobar.com Samantha Escobar

      YES I love that one (it’s close to me). I used to go every year. I love the dragon ride that’s like a pirate ship but…an actual human being pushes it. Which is wild.

  • Eema23

    I don’t know about the NY faire, but the Maryland Renn Fest has incredible music acts, jugglers, mimes, mimes on stilts, dancers, plays, knife acts, acrobats, etc. Yes, the outfits get pretty funny and anachronistic.

  • ellemck1

    But jousting is awesome!! Maryland’s state sport is jousting! Okay, true, not everyone likes it. Guess it’s my personal preference.

    I do have to say that the Renaissance Festival has some bits for kids. I’ve been going to the MD one since I was little and I’ve always loved it. Even had a few birthday parties that were there in elementary school.

    And I think the food on a stick may be just simply easier to eat while walking around? All I know for sure is cheesecake on a stick may be one of my favorite foods ever…

    And yeah, them privies… yeah.

  • Gwen

    So it seems that the authors main criticisms can be boiled down into two points: Ren faires are expensive and Ren faires are historically innacurate.

    On the first point – Most renaissance faires make very little profit. After paying for the land(either through rent or taxes, depending if they own the land), getting the required permits, paying for the performers(or, if they’re volunteers, at least for security/medical people who need to be on hand), paying for the port-o-potties(yes they’re expensive) there’s not very much left over. They are expensive in terms of both time and money, and the people who put them on usually do it out of love for the faire and not to make a profit. They’re not trying to bleed you – they’re trying to cover their bases. 22 dollars for an entire day of entertainment and tom-foolery is rather much a bargain.

    On the second point – it really depends on which faire you go to; some are extremely stringent in what they’ll allow, some have a far more laissez-faire attitude. Most fall somewhere in the middle. Renaissance faires are not intended to be reenactments – if you’re interested in those, there are some around, many are very good. But they’re not ren faires.

    Now, I have two reactions to this article:
    1. Try it again, just once. Perhaps go to another faire, but try again. Don’t go as a reporter, just go to enjoy the day. Catch the shows, go shopping, etc. I agree, most jousts are boring. But there are so many other acts which are amazing from sword-fighting, to comedy, to music.
    2. “You can’t be “over it” at Ren Faire…People will see right through that.” This. This this this.
    3. “He was just standing beside the privies, dosing off where he stood, like a heroin addict. A heroin addict in a tri-point hat. And I think I know what would have helped him…” This really was uncalled for. You can poke fun of someone without being derogatory. It wouldn’t be funny if it was someone from a county faire, it’s not funny here.

  • anon

    i dont understand #18?

  • Eliza

    You think Renn Faires are absurd? Look up Pennsic. Better yet, here: heavily dedicated folks, lots of alcohol and a surprising amount of sex. It’s a lot of fun, but can be quite overwhelming for newbies.

  • from out of the Midwest

    I give the jousts a miss myself, unless attending a faire with someone under eight… and after two jousts, the kids usually lose interest, too. However– your faire’s joust was mostly singing and dancing? That IS lame. A proper joust should be a cross between pro wrestling and demolition derby. Keeping to the county fair analogy, jousts are presented to appeal to the tractor-pull crowd — which is, you know, okay.

  • Elizabeth

    I loved how you kept harping on the lack of rides at NYRF but there *are* rides. There are a few man-powered rides, like the Barrel of Fun, throughout the Faire. Also, that $22 you pay covers a lot of ‘free’ entertainment. You can go from show to show, never tip a dime, all for that cover price.

    The community at Faire is open and accepting, giving people a place to express themselves, to let go, not be judged, and have fun. So we’re a little different, not the ‘norm’, but we have a great time and don’t feel the need to knock down those we find different in order to boost ourselves up. Try the Faire again, talk to the cast members/employees/those in costume, and get an idea of what it’s all about.

  • Chrissy

    I LOVE renfaire and I can say i have been to refaires all over the us, in Ca, Az, Nc, Ne, Md, and Va, and am hoping to one day get to the one in NY and am also hoping to go to the one here in Pa before it ends in oct. Its definately not a serious atmosphere but a place to have some lighthearted fun! You should try dressing up next time you go and it will give you a lot of respect for those gals wearing corsets…lol

    I am surprised by the security guard dressed the way he was because at some of the ones I have gone to they were dressed up as well…it does ruin it a little to see him like that…as far as the food goes would we really want to eat all that they ate in that time period? Probably not…

    I think the price can intimidate some people but as others pointed out its an entire day of entertainment!! Get a schedule and plan our which shows youd like to see, many have some very good comedic acts, juggling with fire, belly dancers, etc…if jousting isnt your thing…I like the jousting of course I admire the jousters because I imagine doing what they do wouldnt be particularly easy and I love to see the horses.

    I say definately give it another go..and try not to pick it apart and just have fun with it! Its MUCH different than an ordinary fair.

  • Colleen

    Interesting… I can’t find the comment I posted on here earlier.

    Mostly, I want to point out that some of my best friends at Ren Faire PUSH the NUMEROUS rides that NYRF offers, and the repeated (read: repetitive) statement that there are no rides there is not only a complete fallacy, but is also a real slap in the face to those who work hard making a living that way.

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Your “Interesting…” implies we’d remove your comment because it criticizes the post. We actually have a strict no comment deleting policy here–that I disagree with philosophically, but I’m not the boss. Even still, I wouldn’t delete your comment.

      Anyway, you can hit command+F and type your name in the box and that will take you to your original comment. Which is still sitting there, humorless as ever.

      Or you could just, you know, scroll down.

  • Claire Poechtrager

    thank you. this brought me out of the haze of ren faire desire. You saved me and my wallet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FriarBBBBBB David A. Dixon

    Please tell me you specialize in “downing” other peoples past times. Any jr high kid could do what you have done here. Lets hear your article about Pro Sports fans, and Motocross. Ooo…I’ll bet they’re easy to pick on too!

  • Malina

    I would like to note here that you are confusing Elizabethan Era with Medieval Era (also known as the Middle Ages). They are two different periods in time, labeled respectively and are not the same thing. The Medieval time period ran from 476 AD to 1453 AD. Although some influence of the Middle Ages have been proven to trickle all the way to 1500. Queen Elizabeth the 1st actually died in 1603, 100 years after the end of the Medieval time period (assuming that the end was in 1500. and not 1453, in which her death would have marked 150 years afterward instead of a 100). Although her birth was only 50 years after the end of the Medieval Era, she was not part of the Medieval time period.

    Other than that, your article was entertaining and hilarious! :) I’m a stickler for facts.

    • Know-it-all

      Not sure where you get 1453 from. 476 AD is the fall of Rome to the Goths, marking the end of antiquity and the beginning of the middle ages. 1500 is generally acknowledged as the beginning of the renaissance and the end of the middle ages, marked amongst other things by Tudor coming to power in 1485 and Maximilian coming to power in 1486 (King of the Romans) and 1508 (Holy Roman Emperor). Although it is acknowledged that the Italian renaissance pre-dated the wider European renaissance by about 50 years, so perhaps that’s your reasoning. Absolutely correct though, Ren Fayres are not medieval. That’s why they’re called ren(aissance) fayres, rather than med(ieval) fayres.

  • http://www.facebook.com/myty143 Ty Mathes

    I would just like to say that yes a lot of what was said has its humor however I work at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in southern California….which has been around since 1962….we do have a lot of foods on sticks, but no cappuccinos….we have several rides like the giant swings pushed by some very attractive gentlemen lol, we have very strick rules about using things like phones in front of patrons, simply because its rude, people dont pat that much money to see its people not maintain their character….we have some amazing shows to watch, everything from music and of course dance, but the hand blown glass feet in front of u is truely an art tis being lost to machines, our faire is huge, roughly 6 football fields worth of things to see, do, buy….our joist is definitely worth watching, 45 mins and u see them show their talents and accuracy in its best form, up close and personal….the joist last more then 15 mins and they continue smashing one another till someone is dismounted from their horse….not an easy feat….we have many patron who show up in the most ridiculous things like storm trooper costumes and renaissance capes, and we have themes every weekend, so we have bit of silly fun with these themes….this last sunday was blue ribbon day, whicj by tradition was about the men in true regimental style while wearing their kilts, thanks to the Scotts for this one….for true faires, we embrace the faire bratts as we love to call them, our kids grow up playing in the dirt and not laxing around on videos games, they r probly the most well rounded children when the r older…for those of us who embrace this culture find a new found family that return yr after yr to play the same games, to dress in our garb, end each day with what we call faire nose (those who knowwhat this will love me for mentioning it) we continue as peasants and poke fun at the pompous windbag, self absorbed manor In which the nobles behave and wonder to ourselves If they ever get bored…to those who share my love of faire and its silly nonsense….I say to u. HAZZAH! FAIRE THE WELL & GOOD MORROW TO YOU!!!!

    • Jeff England

      SoCal Ren Faire was the one that got me into this. Visited it first back in 1987. Can’t believe they moved it closer to Los Angeles. I now thoroughly enjoy going to the Texas Renaissance Faire every year! The common comments I hear are: “You feel out of place if you don’t dress up.” It’s not for everybody, but for those it is… it is a great time. At least he took the time to go and went with an open mind. Hazzah to you, good sir.

  • Princess Lolly!

    $22 for a full day of Renfaire; a variety of acts on several stages, a massive market of hand crafted items not made in china or from walmart, immersion entertainment, unique and eclectic musicians & instruments instead of Justin Bieber, tasty tasty food, sports (joust / quintain / swordfighting / etc) you actually read about in fantasy books and novels (unless someone recently authored Kirby the Quarterback or something…) OR…

    $22 for: appx 5 Starbucks coffees; 2 hour 3D movie & soda; appx 6 meal deals at McDonalds; not even close to a pair of Nikes; less than a mani-pedi or dinner and drinks at the bar; what about that last perm/foil/; recently bought a bottle of perfume?/ or “built-a-bear”?; how about looked at toy prices?; CD prices? DVD prices? 1 large jar at Yankee Candles?

    Kinda sad to see such a review :(

  • DarkStrange

    As much as I love the Ren Faire, I have to admit that your article made light of some things that (when you actually stop to think about them) are obviously hysterical. I enjoyed your piece and I hope that despite your humorous take on your visit, that you still found ways to enjoy yourself. (And if you plan to visit again, next time buy your tix in advance at Walgreens. Instead of $22 per person at the gate you’ll pay $18.)

  • Doggen Happeyheimers

    Wow, QQ Moare newb. All of these things is what makes the experience. It’s not one of them, or a few of them. Ren Fest is meant to be a conglomerate of fantasy, and, well, people making money off of fantasy. I went to my local ren fest and walked with about 25$ of my 100$ budget. Oh lord I spent about 100$ on 4~hours of fun for my family/myself. 25$/hr. If you can’t afford it, go elsewhere.

  • Don Hardy

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy your time, and found so much out of kilter with your expectations. Someone from our faires posted your article, with encouragement to up the game in terms of authenticity. We don’t have any say over what the patrons wear or do — the Darth Vaders are particularly unsettling, but the Doctor is amusing — but do over our own guilds. I try to keep mine as clean and period as possible.

    If you’re ever in California in December, you should check out the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. There’s no way, of course, to make California into 19th Century London, but it’s a pretty amazing experience.

    Try a smaller faire as a participant sometime. It’s pretty amazing.

  • Lynne

    Ah, my beloved NY Ren Faire! I’ll never forget the year we showed up untimely and had to park in a ditch.

  • Emily

    “All furries are otherkin” I know you meant that in a humorous way, but that is very false.
    other than that bit, the article was really funny.

  • http://raymondduke.com/ Raymond Duke

    I went to the Ren Faire today in Irwindale, California. It was okay. I would describe it as an overpriced swap meet with a theme. As soon as you enter, there are people in booths selling trinkets, wooden art, candles, and all kinds of artsy stuff.

    Like another commenter said, to enjoy this type of thing you have to be a participant. IMO, Ren Faires are for people that want to get into costume and meet other costume folk. If you’re a non-costume wearing person off of the street, Ren Faires aren’t for you.