The bright colors, the costumes, the rich smell of roasted turkey legs and the slightly pungent odor of the fat guy eating one… all hallmarks of the annual tradition that I’ve come to love.
I’ve been attending renaissance festivals for over 30 years. I’ve been to small ones in Wisconsin, medium sized ones in Florida and the grand daddy of them all in Phoenix. From jousting to human chess matches to the clever wit of the comedic performers, there’s just nothing like it. Where else can you go to see full figured women in low cut tops with their massive breasts spilling out while they spew idioms like “Prithee” and “M’lord”?
So this year when I attended the event, I was prepared for all the fun the festival had to offer. I brought my appetite because some would argue that the food is the best part of the festivities. From the aforementioned roasted turkey leg to soup in a bread bowl to sausage on a stick to funnel cakes, there was something for everyone. And to wash it down there was no end to the supply of beverages from soft drinks to beer and wine to the delectable “honeyed wine” or mead. (Yum!)
I chose to start my day with cinnamon roasted almonds as I made my way through the crowded streets to see my favorite performer, Adam “Crack” and his… firewhip! That’s right, this master of the bullwhip lights his on fire (which might explain his lack of hair).
From there it was off to jousting. Men in armor riding at each other on large horses with long sticks pointed at each other. Yes, I’m sure Freud would have a few comments about that, but setting aside the obvious male ego jokes, it’s still dangerous fun.
From there I sat in on several comedy skits where the entertainers manage to work some decidedly adult material into a medieval context. Sure it’s basically sex jokes and toilet humor but when a guy is wearing pantaloons and a doublet, it’s funny in a whole new way.
Finally, the shopping begins. One cannot go to a renaissance festival without checking out all the wares presented. From swords and axes to musical instruments to clothing and jewelry to candles and incense, everything is hand made and expensive. Ah, but where else can you get custom crafted leather boots for the mere steal of a price ($900)?
All in all it’s a great time for the whole family, but why bring them? They will only slow you down. Go solo and really have a good time.