©2022 Michael Raven
Here I am smearing aloe on my face to calm the sunburn I said I wouldn’t let myself get. I spent all day at the renaissance festival and all I got was the burn, a bit of dehydration and some stinking metal runes. It was great. It was also something I can wait a while to return to.
My eldest has been pestering me since before covid to take her to the festival and we finally got around to going today. It has been something on the order of 20 years since I last went and, amazingly, not much has changed. Many of the same performers were there, albeit a shade older than I last saw some of them in the flesh. There were new performers who acted as much like the old performers did when they were the same age — overconfident, a little overwrought, and ever so much filled with a hint of ennui in everything they did (or not, if they decided it needed to be overdone). These are criticisms, they are observations. While there were a few stores I found myself missing, and the stores tended to not cater to men’s clothing anymore (with the exception of kilts kilts kilts everywhere), it was much the same as I recalled it being. Decently priced (for the most part) and ever-so-slightly more grounded, but still prone to ribaldry.
While it was great to get Zilch the Torysteller telling familiar stories such as Rindercella and Jumio and Roliette in Spoonerisms, I felt like there was only a minimum of evolution in the experience. Taunts for the Elder Daughter hanging with dad, suggestive and sexual innuendos to get me to part with more of my money… Folks with good accents, bad accents and not-bothering-with-it accents… Clueless people thinking they were fest-y, people who were fest-savvy, mundies (like us), people who a whole another agenda that I couldn’t figure out… Drunks and sobers, loud and quiet, bad jokes…
It was very nearly the same as my last visit. They even still had the crowd-drawing comedy duo, Puke and Snot, and I am fairly certain I heard that one of the two died in the past decade.
Please don’t infer this as criticisms, but it didn’t give me the urge to swing by next year, let alone a second time this year. It was too samey, even granted that it was opening weekend and everyone needs to get into their groove (although I haven’t decided to turn up my nose at the Halloween town it becomes in October, something I’ve not experienced yet).
In the end, my daughter picked up a jingle belt and a couple of pieces of art she liked while shaking her head as some of the saucy things tossed my way to get me to buy her more. I ended up stumbling on a neat pile of runes cast to look like metal antler slices. Ignoring my better judgment, I succumbed to making a purchase, although it was a bit on the frivolous side.
And I didn’t see any old friends, for the record. Not that I tried terribly hard. And that was fine in of itself, too.