Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Renaissance Faires: Fun for all!" By Aimee.

Nate & Aimee with friends in '05.
(This blog post is a year in the making. In late April of last year, I decided to do a check of the local renaissance fairs, only to discover that I had just missed the 6-week local annual faire five miles from our apartment. So I remembered that the fair was in March through April for this year, all year long, and looked forward to going.)

This weekend I finally got to go! I enjoyed going to the local Tampa Bay Area Renaissance Faire with Rachel in costume for the first time in years and had more fun than I've had in years as well!

Aimee: Bay Area Ren. Faire: 2011
In college, I went to my first Renaissance Faire (2005): King Richard's Faire in Carver, MA and enjoyed my first 'taste of the faire' as a tourist. (See photo at right.) We took our family christmas photo that year with my dad, mom, and Nate eating turkey legs with bare hands and making a big old mess. It was delightful. We saw sword fighting, jousting, competed in a family archery competition, watched my mother scream her head off at her own wooden horse jousting ride, saw the Princess and King and Queen, all of the artisans and their shops, elf ears for sale and all of the good pub food you could want. We spent a few hours there, which at the time I thought was a lot, but now know to be not nearly enough time at all.

Yesterday, Rachel and I returned to the Renaissance Faire, in style. I had created my own garb to wear (see photo left) out of material and nine hours of sewing, and a little bit of love. I really had fun making it. I figured my costume might be a bit Medieval for the faire, but nobody bothered me about it! Rachel pulled out some of her favorite piratical accessories (it was a Buccaneer-themed pirate weekend) and off we went!

Johnny Phoenix
Photo: Sarah Chambers Garcia
We saw the hilarious comedian Johnny Phoenix twice, the second time for the infamous "Adult 'Rated R' Show" which was as good as he had promised. He's coming to USF in May, for "A Dangerous Night of Comedy" which Rachel, Tom and I will all be going to. I like how he mixes humor ("The Top Ten Ways to Know You've Been to the Renaissance Faire") with his escape stunts- watching him get out of the straight jacket in a minute was impressive! (I also enjoyed watching him get out of the saran wrap in the Adult show!)

Aims & Rachel, Bay Area Ren Faire '11
We came too late in the day to see any of the main jousting shows, but we did see some one-on-one combat as we walked the fairgrounds. There were an incredible amount of artisan booths- with authentic and replica armor and weaponry, clothing, accessories (jewelry, elf ears, fox tails, masks, garlands, etc) and booths where you could practice skills: axe throwing, archery, fencing, etc...) Even though we walked around for three hours seeing different booths, people and eating, we still didn't get to see it all. We'd have to go back to see any of the main shows, but right before we left we did see the Queen Catherine Parr (Henry VIII's last wife) and she introduced the last music, gypsy and comedian shows over at the Pirate Bar and outdoor theater.

What I loved most about the Faire, were the happy people, in their element all around us. It was fine to wear normal street clothes (although you were far more likely to be picked to go up on stage if you did) or to wear homemade costumes, or truly authentic or replica costumes. There were pirates, and wenches, and Lords and Ladies, and Orcs (although we didn't see any yesterday) and black knights, fairies, elves, zombies (although we didn't see any of those either-but they were on the FB page), gypsies, musicians, human fountains and statues,  kids, adults and elderly alike. There was a man, who looked even more like Captain Jack Sparrow than the latest Johnny Depp promos from On Stranger Tides, who was nice enough to say hello and greet us, mainly because Rachel and I couldn't stop staring at both him and a beautiful lady wearing a black leather and metal cut out bustier/corset, but it was more fun to watch them interact than to see any of the lead actors and actresses I've seen this month (and it's been a lot: check out my April film review) interact with each other. Everyone just looked like they were having so much fun! From watching the local tourists in street clothes be uncomfortable, to seeing the pros interact, it was a blast to me a part of, and I can't wait to go back!

It's not too late to go! The Faire runs through next weekend, culminating in the "Huzzah to the King" weekend (April 16th & 17th) and the Afterhours Ball (April 16th). (I'm working on Tom for the Afterhours Masquerade Ball already.)

For more pictures check out the Bay Area Renaissance Faire on Facebook.