My 10 favorite things about the Renaissance Faire

It’s not really a secret that I love my local Renaissance Faire, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. 1 year ago my husband proposed to me at the Renaissance Faire, and I’ve spent so much time with my best friends frolicking the Faire grounds. It’s full of great memories for me. Since my husband, Mark, and I are moving to NYC in 5 months, it makes me wonder what the Renaissance Faire there is like. I’ve been going to the Pennsylvania one for almost 10 years and it’s hard to imagine going to a new one, but I get the sense they have redundancies that make it easy to get into them, wherever ye may wander in ye olde travels. So here’s my list of the things that make my tummy tingle with butterflies in regards to the Renn Faire!

  1. The role-playing.
    pa-renn-faire-queen
    Via patseastcoasttravels.com
    The staff is completely immersive, almost at a LARP level, when it comes to their specific character that they play at the Faire. And sometimes it can be a little off-putting – the nobles do not necessarily shy away from looking down their nose at so-called commoners and peasants, but it’s all in good fun. The lower classes must bow to the higher classes, at least as far as the staff goes. And they all have names, jobs, back stories – and they all interact with each other improvisationally, as if this is what is really going on right now! It’s fantastic and fun to get involved and play along with the staff.
  2. The booze.
    renn-faire-blackguard-booze
    The guys from Righteous Blackguard having an ale
    Oh goodness me, the booze. Our local Faire rests atop Mt. Hope Winery, which is a winery who create such delicious wines, including Honey Mead, which is practically a relic at this point. My favorite flavors include: Majesty’s Blend, Pennsylvania Dutch Spiced Apple, and Moonlight Encounter. (And the Honey Mead, of course.) In addition to great wine, the Faire also sells the ale from a fabulous microbrewery, the Swashbuckler Brewing Co. Delish, huzzah!!
  3. The people who do all the amazing things. Archaic skills and tool crafting doesn’t have much of a place in today’s society of factories and well-oiled machines, mass producing everything we could ever need. But at the Faire, you’ll find leather crafters, fletchers, bowyers, basket weavers, glass blowers, jewelers, soapers, chandlers, blacksmiths, hatters, jugglers, chain mail armorers, and so much more. Definitely the kind of people who will come in handy during the zombie apocalypse. There aren’t many places these crafts get the appreciation they deserve, and there really aren’t many places where you can actually watch these people craft and create. But at the Faire, you can ogle them all day long. Feeling left out? Do you wanna do something old school? I found this awesome list of 100 medieval careers.
  4. The jewelry and hand crafted accessories. I love seeing what kinds of interesting goodies they have in the stores on the Faire grounds. Gorgeous pieces set with all manner of gemstones! They have so many gorgeous styles – celtic, historic, LARPy and more! Necklaces and earrings, yes, but also LARPy and Renaissance accessories like sword frogs, mug holders, fancy hats, corsets, and more!
  5. The immersion.
    pa-renn-faire-clothes
    Via Panoramio by Kati Garner
    At times, during the Faire, I become completely lost in the world. The beautiful historic buildings, the medieval clothes hanging on a line over top the street, the scent of lavender soap and sandalwood incense seeping from the stores… It feels like a world I wish I could live in. It’s a historic and magical escape that puts me in the mindset of playing pretend, and envisioning that perhaps, for a moment, I am on the streets of England during the 16th century. In, of course, a rose-colored glasses world, where I’m not a peasant or sick with the plague. :3
  6. The food. The smells of the food are almost as good as the food itself. Some of my favorites include: tomato, basil, mozzarella crepes; honey glazed nuts; and their New England clam chowder. Mmm.
  7. The costumes.
    renn-faire-pirates-faeries
    Via the PA Renn Faire Facebook page
    As a lover of costumes and cosplaying, it is not often I can spend time with kindred spirits… my true costume-loving brethren – but at the Renn Faire, we all love to play dress up. Mark and I play dress up probably 20 times a year at various costume parties and conventions, and the Renaissance Faire is no different. Not only do we get to don our own creative costume masterpieces, but friends and strangers put their time and effort into putting on a great show. Faire-goers outfits are a colorful spectacle that I could watch parade around all day long. I get so inspired!
  8. The camaraderie.
    renn-faire-buddies
    I never get too far into the Faire grounds without spotting a few friends. Running with a crew of LARPers means that we pretty much all love the Renn Faire when it comes around, for a few precious weekends. I will usually run into someone I know at the Faire at any given time! Not to mention, I always go in a big group of my geeky friends. It’s the best!
  9. The music. I assure you, this is the kind of music you don’t hear anywhere else. Bagpipes, lutes, tabor drums, tambourines, and maybe if you’re lucky, a hurdy gury. Here’s a few of the famous instruments you might see at your local Faire. 2 troupes I have seen and loved at our Faire are Righteous Blackguard and Empty Hats – but some of my other favorites as far as celtic, folk and renaissance music goes include Telynor and Blackmore’s Night. If you’re into this kind of music, I’d love to hear what you listen to – so leave me a comment to let me know!
  10. The magic.
    faerie-pa-renn-faire
    I’m a wingless faerie – deal wit it.
    Upon entering the Faire grounds, my friends and I become a different sort of friends. In this immersive world with our costumes we worked so hard on, we take on a new role. The magic of the world takes over, and we transcend reality into an alternative reality. It’s like leaving reality and entering a magical land, where anything can happen. Faeries flit about, dragons perch on shoulders, and magic is made. It’s so much fun.


What are your favorite parts about the Renaissance Faire? Let me know in a comment!

Featured image from PADutchCountry.com

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