Ren Fest

©2022 Michael Raven

Tomorrow, I go back in time at the renaissance festival.

No, not the way it might seem. I honestly will be going as a mundane old man me in hiking boots and cargo shorts with a long sleeve shirt to limit any sunburn I might invite by being outside, with a courier bag worn cross-body over a shoulder containing at least two bottles of water and a handful of snacks.

I am inducting my eldest daughter to the Fest life, and she is hopefully going to follow my advice and not try to cosplay her way into what she thinks fest is all about. And if she doesn’t follow my advice, that’ll be on her if she makes herself a bigger target for embarrassment by not researching before she goes. The local festival actors historically have loved targeting someone who is obviously clueless for a good tease.

But — going back in time… I haven’t been to a festival in ages. In part, because I have significantly changed since I returned to the area after a short stint in Seattle and everything felt off the past few times I went since that return. So I stopped. Part of it was the change in entertainment incomes which seemed to result in lower-quality content for a few years running. Another part was that I had changed and gotten jaded by my very negative experiences while I was away. I had a hard time embracing anything smacking of fantasy for a few years there. Arguably, there are times I am still stuck in that mindset.

So, I stopped going.

Well, my eldest daughter has been pestering me to go and I decided that this year we could hit it, although I’m still a bit nervous about covid even though the bulk of it is outdoors. Crowds, you know.

Part of me is wondering how many of the old friends I’ve lost contact with over the years are still spending their August and September each year out on the grounds. I suspect more than a few still do work out there. One, in particular, I know works out there with the rest of her family and I look forward to seeing her for the first time in about three or four years, assuming I can find her. I haven’t tried to reconnect beforehand for personal reasons, so it may be very well that we don’t cross paths. And that is okay, as well.

You see, I haven’t decided that I want to meet up with anyone unless it is in a very organic manner. “Oh, hi! Michael!” Not that I’m entirely recognizable compared to what I looked like before, between aging, being an alcoholic in recovery, gaining a bit of girth here and there.

And that’s okay, too.

In fact, I am bringing one of my notebooks in that courier bag and may send off the kiddo to enjoy the fest without her old man messing up her mojo. It’s not boys she’ll be chasing, and she can handle herself with her aikido if they chase her. But I think she’ll enjoy having her own stories to tell as I sit at a bench and do a bit of old-fashioned writing with a pen on paper, watching all the merry people go by.

10 thoughts on “Ren Fest

  1. I missed this post, but I resonate with some of your thoughts, having attended our local RenFest off an on for two decades. My fiancee, TJ, is passionate and brought me back after missing a few years, and she has been instrumental in my still-developing outfit. I remember many years back, putting together scroungy homemade garb when we had little money, and getting pestered in a mostly harmless if still embarassing way for how I looked then.

    What I like about ours now is the acceptance of all races and cultures and while you can still see some one-uppance here and there with the diehards who show up most weekends, it’s a chill, fun atmosphere. There was a lot of gay pride this past weekend and that makes me smile. Nobody gave them static. Considering all the nasty backlash actors of color have been receiving in Star Wars and Star Trek, it was refreshing to see people of all races dress up and chat with each other with respect with the point of making sure everyone was enjoying themselves.

    TJ does a lot of author signings at our RenFest and she’s brought me deeper into the festival background accordingly. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the fest booksellers and though my current book has nothing to do with fantasy and Renaissance, they have already agreed to showcase a copy of “Coming of Rage” and perhaps down the road, get me into a signing slot.

    Getting to see other stand owners who know TJ, they have been following us and our exploits and they have likewised welcomed me to the fold. I can only hope the spirit of kindness I see continues on. Maryland Renaissance Festival is a decades-long institution and mostly first-rate. Unfortunately, the jousting events have appeared to have been quashed now, but it’s heavily attended week-to-week and a total blast, despite the rising prices of food and spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Where do you live, again, dude? We both have a ton going on in life, but future signing events will be in our interest. She’s been doing local festival and convention signings. We’re both Wiccan and she’s a high priestess. She has “The Healthy Witch,” a self-care workbook using esoteric means, and “Four Little Witches,” a children’s book speaking to the path. In the past, she wrote a whole bunch of kid’s mystery books and her “Shadow Legacy” adventure series.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Minnesota.

          I’ll have to look her up. I don’t expect you’ll be heading this direction, but we have one of the healthiest pagan communities in the US. We also have Convergence and one of the bigger permanent fest sites on the circuit. Lots of fantasy and freaks and geeks in the state…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Boom! I love it. She and I made the pilgrimage to Salem last year and she really cooked getting her book into many of the local stores. We were trying to brainstorm other big pagan communities, so I will absolutely discuss Minnesota with her. Convergence sounds terrific as well!

            Liked by 1 person

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