Yup. We did two shows a day, and spent most of the rest of the time lounging about, gypsy-style.
This is us on stage at the Escondido Renaissance Faire in years past. See how young and thin I was? Yikes!
We have about a million old-timey photographs of us, but, no, you don’t have to look through all of them.
This is me and my best friend in the whole world. Aren’t we cute together?
We performed many times with our friends in Tribe Roman Morga. Please enjoy a few photographs of all of us!
Okay, enough of the past.
Let’s go to a Renaissance faire!!
What is a Renaissance faire? It’s knights and ladies, queens and scamps, battles and dancing, lots of critters, and people dressed in all kinds of costumes.
We are at the Escondido Renaissance Faire, not as performers, but just as regular folks enjoying the craziness with everyone else. It is important to wear a hat or carry an umbrella because it gets hot and a sunburn is almost guaranteed.
A young knave inquires whether he might place his cup between my Renaissance-esque décolletage and imbibe a sip. Impetuously, I allow it, to the apparent disapproval of a passing squire. I can assure you: it is quite enjoyable. You know, I suspect I am not the first to serve as a serving station at this faire.
Well, let’s carry on and see what there is to see, shall we?
Every guild has an encampment where they eat, sleep, play, and live as their Renaissance counterparts did.
The members of the guild stay in character throughout the day, leaving behind the cares of the modern world.
Clothing, fruit preserves, and body jewelry are just a few of the goods that can be purchased for a farthing or two.
A Fendren rests in the tree’s shade, his lair protected by magical tape of many colors.
Either this camp is selling clothes for dead people, or they are clearly telling us to Stay Out. However, if you want to purchase asymmetrical clothing, this seems to be the place.
No encampment is complete without a really big rocking unicorn operated by a Scotsman and surrounded by wonderful wenches.
Each morning, the faire officially opens with a parade.
It’s a fairly casual event, where the main purpose is to introduce the faire’s performers.
This is but a subset of the many folks who inhabit a Renaissance faire.
The parade ends when Her Royal Majesty, sitting in court, officially declares the day’s activities are to commence.
Performances occur throughout the day at the Renaissance faire.
You will notice that this list of performances is for the Pavilion Stage. In fact, there are a number of stages and you would do well to schedule your time accordingly. You wouldn’t want to miss any fabulous folks being fabulous!
Belly dancers abound at the faire and take advantage of the winds to entice us with long veils. Is she wearing anything behind those veils? As long as the wind blows, we won’t know…
For a while, Tribal Belly Dance was all the rage, and a Renaissance faire, with its casual acceptance of a multitude of art forms, is the perfect place to entertain an audience.
We can find no evidence that suggests that Renaissance folks juggled fire but, at a Renaissance fire, I mean faire, no one cares. Besides, this fellow is pretty good!
Her Majesty and court sometimes take to the stage for a bit of bawdiness, for even a Monarch loves a good time.
It has been well established by countless sages that animals lived during Renaissance times, so it is not unexpected that we see such creatures at a Renaissance faire.
We ask the falconer if he will demonstrate his bird’s ability, but he declines. Apparently, the management of the faire frowns upon actual bloodsport. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The falcons wear hoods, known as burqa in Arabic falconry and rufter in European falconry, which are designed to calm the critters. Out of sight, out of mind.
Horses can be found at the faire, more often mounted by fair lasses than by fiery lords. Why this horse is being shouted at will remain a mystery.
Although boa constrictors were probably not found in Europe during the Renaissance period, we do not correct someone holding a large predator, especially someone as beguiling as this maiden.
An encampment will sometimes keep a ferocious beast to guard their possessions. We do not dare to approach closer for fear of being mangled.
If you have been reading our articles for a while, you know that people watching is a hobby of ours.
Ladies sometimes seem to be unaware of their virtues. We, however, are not so unaware of said virtues.
When a fairy stands on a piece of wood with a long rope and a mischievous smile, something wonderful will soon happen. It will not necessarily be something good, but it will be full of wonder.
If a scruffy fellow of girth and stature approaches, unless you are a knight, it is best to let him pass unprovoked.
A highwayman puts a protective arm around a trollop, his intentions obvious. As are hers. 😀
There are many, many interesting characters at Renaissance faires.
As the battle begins, the lady uses her breasts to her advantage, as Renaissance ladies are known to do. In the background, the audience is entranced by the grace and violence of the battle, barely able to contain their shouts of encouragement.
Although fights are consensual and rules are established, these are in no way WWE-type entertainment. Metal and leather body armor is worn, and helmets are lined with cushioning, because the swords, hammers, and maces are made of iron and quite heavy. A sharp blow from such a weapon will indeed knock over an opponent.
Some fighters specialize in sword play, where finesse is prized over brute force. In these situations, the object is not to strike your opponent, but to simulate a piercing thrust.
This bold lass, holding a knife fashioned of hard rubber, challenges ruffians to battle. The men recklessly accept the challenge and are defeated, one by one. The lesson is this: do not trifle with a pretty woman wielding a blade.
Large-scale battles regularly occur at Renaissance faires. These are more choreographed than single-combat fights, yet are none-the-less spectacular.
Both sides rally their forces, assembling soldiers and allies. The more experienced warriors wait patiently, understanding the rhythms of battle.
Pole arms are set with their heel in the ground to dissuade cavalry and massed attacks.
At the other end of the field, the Gaelic forces watch carefully, hoping to discover their enemy’s tactics.
On command, archers fire a volley at the enemy. (Because no one wants to actually kill anyone, arrows tips are rubber rather than sharpened bits of metal.)
The Gaelic forces, no strangers to battle, quickly assume a testudo formation, and the arrows fall harmlessly to the ground.
Soldiers advance and engage, sword and shield against pole arm, testing each other’s courage and determination.
Before long, single-combat warriors rush into the melee, eager to prove their merit.
These battles are heavily choreographed and practiced, allowing the combatants to provide an authentic demonstration of the fighting.
Scenes from a battle illustrate the effort and artistry of the combatants.
Another time and another battle, equally as deadly as the other.
War is not all glory. The wounded must be tended to by a barber and the dead must be carted away. As they say, war is Hades.
And so, we must leave the faire, bidding à deux to new friends, and wishing them luck in their endeavors.
We have been enchanted, and the feeling lingers still. 😎
Special note: Some of these photographs were taken by and copyrighted by Juli von KleinSmid.