A little-known fact is that yours truly met in a Renaissance performing troupe called Tribe Roman Morga, many years ago.

Hey! No bunny ears, please!

Hey! No bunny ears, please!

Yup.  We did two shows a day, and spent most of the rest of the time lounging about, gypsy-style.

No, that's not "me"; the pants are just cut like that.

No, that’s not “me”; the pants are just cut like that.

This is us on stage at the Escondido Renaissance Faire in years past.  See how young and thin I was?  Yikes!

Awwwww.  So cute!

Awwwww. So cute!

We have about a million old-timey photographs of us, but, no, you don’t have to look through all of them.

My bff and me!

My bff and me!

This is me and my best friend in the whole world.  Aren’t we cute together?

The Tribe Roman Morga gypsy tribe at their finest.

The Tribe Roman Morga gypsy tribe at their finest.

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.

Visiting the Ren Faire as just me.

Visiting the Ren Faire as just me.

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.

Why does this keep happening to me?

Why does this keep happening to me?

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.

Okay, I guess that is why it keeps happening...

Okay, I guess that is why it keeps happening…

Well, let’s carry on and see what there is to see, shall we?

Encampments

Every guild has an encampment where they eat, sleep, play, and live as their Renaissance counterparts did.

Colorful tents dot the meadow, nestled under the oak trees.

Colorful tents dot the meadow, nestled under the oak trees.

The members of the guild stay in character throughout the day, leaving behind the cares of the modern world.

Shopkeepers sell their wares.

Shopkeepers sell their wares.

Clothing, fruit preserves, and body jewelry are just a few of the goods that can be purchased for a farthing or two.

Beware the dryad...

Beware the dryad…

A Fendren rests in the tree’s shade, his lair protected by magical tape of many colors.

There is so much I don't understand here.

There is so much I don’t understand here.

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.

Ride 'em, cowgirl.

Ride ’em, cowgirl.

No encampment is complete without a really big rocking unicorn operated by a Scotsman and surrounded by wonderful wenches.

Opening Parade

Each morning, the faire officially opens with a parade.

Just your typical Renaissance, um, things.

Just your typical Renaissance, um, things.

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.

 

Her Majesty is not to be trifled with.

Her Majesty is not to be trifled with.

The parade ends when Her Royal Majesty, sitting in court, officially declares the day’s activities are to commence.

Performances

Performances occur throughout the day at the Renaissance faire.

Some of the many performances at the Faire.

Some of the many performances at the 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!

Dance of the Two Veils.

Dance of the Two Veils.

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…

A tribal belly dancer dances tribally.

A tribal belly dancer dances tribally.

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.

The Forest Stage: the perfect place to play with fire.

The Forest Stage: a great place to play with fire.

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 allows us to be entertained.

Her Majesty allows us to be entertained.

Her Majesty and court sometimes take to the stage for a bit of bawdiness, for even a Monarch loves a good time.

Renaissance Critters

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.

A falconer and his falcon pose for us.

A falconer and his falcon pose for us.

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)_/¯

I'll see your falcon and raise.

I’ll see your falcon and raise.

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.

The Horse Hollerer, at work.

The Horse Hollerer, at work.

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.

We know she's not from Ireland.

We know she’s not from Ireland.

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.

Let slip the dogs of war!

Let slip the dogs of war!

An encampment will sometimes keep a ferocious beast to guard their possessions.  We do not dare to approach closer for fear of being mangled.

Hey, bitch!

Hey, bitch!

If you look closely, there is a dog in this photograph.  Yes, just a bit lower and to the left of where you are looking now.

Who's a pretty bird?

Who’s a pretty bird?

Macaws and other parrots are a common sight at the faire. We do not put our fingers anywhere near their bills.

People Watching

If you have been reading our articles for a while, you know that people watching is a hobby of ours.

A fairy of some sort graces us with her smile.

A fairy of some sort graces us with her smile.

A lacy tutu, a flower parasol, and a heavy cloth bodice tells me this fairy just might be doing the walk of shame.  However, since fairies don’t have shame, there is no telling what she’s been up to.

Getting a tan, Renaissance-style.

Getting a tan, Renaissance-style.

Ladies sometimes seem to be unaware of their virtues.  We, however, are not so unaware of said virtues.

Wanna see my famous rope trick?

Wanna see my famous rope trick?

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.

Sometimes it's okay just to keep your distance.

Sometimes it’s okay just to keep your distance.

If a scruffy fellow of girth and stature approaches, unless you are a knight, it is best to let him pass unprovoked.

Who is that masked man, and why is he smiling thus?

Who is that masked man, and why is he smiling thus?

A highwayman puts a protective arm around a trollop, his intentions obvious.  As are hers.  😀 

There are many, many interesting characters at Renaissance faires.

Combat

Based on historical records, there are reasons to believe that combat occurred in Renaissance times, and the good folks at Renaissance faire strive to replicate those mad, carefree days.

"Kendo" is Japanese for "Renaissance".

“Kendo” is Japanese for “Renaissance”.

A stalwart warrior from ancient London embraces her Japanese heritage and readies to engage in the sword way.

The battle is truly engaged.

The battle is truly engaged.

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.

Battles

Large-scale battles regularly occur at Renaissance faires.  These are more choreographed than single-combat fights, yet are none-the-less spectacular.

Knights clad in maille and iron glare at enemy forces.

Knights clad in maille and iron glare at enemy forces.

Both sides rally their forces, assembling soldiers and allies.  The more experienced warriors wait patiently, understanding the rhythms of battle.

Pole arms to the ready!

Pole arms to the ready!

Pole arms are set with their heel in the ground to dissuade cavalry and massed attacks.

The Gaelic forces stand ready.

The Gaelic forces stand ready.

At the other end of the field, the Gaelic forces watch carefully, hoping to discover their enemy’s tactics.

Archers nock their arrows, and let fly.

Archers nock their arrows, and let fly.

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.)

Let slip the tortoises of war!

Let slip the tortoises of war!

The Gaelic forces, no strangers to battle, quickly assume a testudo formation, and the arrows fall harmlessly to the ground.

The battle escalates!

The battle escalates!

Soldiers advance and engage, sword and shield against pole arm, testing each other’s courage and determination.

Attack!

Attack!

Before long, single-combat warriors rush into the melee, eager to prove their merit.

Prepare to die!

Prepare to die!

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.

Barber!

Barber!

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.

Fare thee well, good sirs and ladies.

Fare thee well, good sirs and ladies.

We have been enchanted, and the feeling lingers still.  😎 

Special note: Some of these photographs were taken by and copyrighted by Juli von KleinSmid.

awa Travels Tip:  Escape the responsibilities of modern life and spend a day in the magic of a Renaissance faire.  Allow your inner knight, lady, king, or clown to come alive, even if only for a day.