Come Ye to the Fair

For many of us growing up, the local fair was the place to be every summer.  With the fattening food, the lovable animals, the exhilaration of the carnival rides, and the crowds of people, there could hardly be a more exciting environment.  But you may have to reconsider your idea of fun after visiting a Renaissance fair!  Think of it as a cross between a county fair and an amusement park, but with a dose of danger and a whole lot of style!

Comparable to a theme park style, such as Disneyland, most Renaissance fairs invite you into an imagined English village during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, while some are set during the reign of King Henry VIII, or even earlier eras such as the Vikings or 18th Century pirates.  The idea of these fairs is to recreate a Renaissance environment with accuracy, so that you feel as if you are taking a trip back in time.  Thus, visitors to Renaissance fairs are encouraged to come in period costumes and some fairs will even allow weapons as part of the attire.  If your wardrobe is lacking in Renaissance garb, or if you desire to accessorize, fear not!  The streets are filled with several vendors, where you are able to purchase clothing, ornamentations, and other merchandise to authenticate your look.  Many costumed guests often take their fair experience one step further by embodying lords and ladies, peasants, pirates, and other character types.  The name given to these guests is “playtron”, taken from the words “patron” and “player”.

Early Renaissance Shirt:

Early Renaissance ShirtOne of the most unique aspects of Renaissance fairs is the costumed actors, who jaunt about as historical figures, musicians, jugglers, and dancers, interacting with visitors.  They can be bawdy and a bit intimidating at times, but they add a fun element to enhance the fair experience.  At the end of the day, a fair ritual is for the actors to gather together, either in a parade or concert, and bid farewell to the guests as they exit.

Late Renaissance Shirt:

Late Renaissance ShirtOther distinctions of Renaissance fairs are the stage shows, which encourage audience participation.  Shows include Shakespeare or commedia dell’arte plays, magicians, jousting matches, sing-a-longs, jugglers, and other circus related acts.  Performances are frequent and with so many options, there is never a dull moment!  And of course, a fair would not be complete without games and rides!  Common Renaissance game offerings range from archery to axe throwing to dunk tanks-all of which allow you to test your aim.  Common Renaissance rides include human powered swings and animal attractions.

Renaissance fairs began in the United States in the 1960s and have become an American phenomenon.  People can’t seem to get enough of playing pretend and romping about in an era that takes them away from the woes of today.  Why not get into the act as well!  Check out our Renaissance clothing selection at:




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