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Unlike LARP systems, Renaissance Faires are casual events, and have open doors to the general public, not just those who have purchased tickets to the event, either beforehand or on the door, so it’s normal to see people in everyday clothes outnumbering those dressed in kit. Costumes are very much encouraged, however, but not required as a standard to attend – and with all the vendors available on site that could kit them out with bodice, hoop skirt and sword, should you want to have a sudden upgrade, you can have it at your fingertips. So where’s the link to LARP? Remove the rules, and the system, and you have the beginnings of a Renaissance Faire.

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The well-known war of the Horse and Llama.

For all those that do go all out in costume, they make a substantial effort, from purchased gear to homemade kit, the attention to detail across the board is really something to behold, and it’s easy to find little trinkets and parts to add to your kit at the vendors. You can also drink and be merry (!) on the local craft beer sold, alongside hard cider, wine and mead. People in medieval times didn’t drink water either, so you’re being authentic!

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It’s OK, this isn’t real serfdom.

Connecticut Renaissance Faire has been running for nearly 20 years, and they also run a LARP called ‘Mythical Journeys’ along side it, so the Faire knows how to cater to LARPers as well as non-combatants. They have jousting and run a “Smite the Knight” ring where LARPers can test their mettle against some of our best fighters, gladiator pit-style. They also have a game called Archery Tag – basically paintball but with LARP safe bows and arrows.

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I didn’t realise these swords were so sharp! Neither did that man in the front row!

In the UK, Renaissance Faires have yet to take hold, but Brian H Harvard, the General Manager says that the appeal of the Faires in the US is the ‘escape’. “People love stepping “back in time” to interact with our characters whether it’s the Pope or Queen Elizabeth …at our spring show you can meet Robin Hood or Prince John,” he says of the character interaction. “Then there’s the shows too. Comedy, magic, sword fighting, juggling, music…so much! It’s a vaudevillian atmosphere and people love that!”

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Someone just learned mass charms, didn’t they.

As a casual event, there is no moment of Time In, but some people do consider their time at the Faire as In Character, and some others just love the dressing up but will forgive having their Bluetooth receiver in their ear (but my immersion!). It seems that there’s something for everyone at the faire, and you don’t have to worry about your character being ganked in front of the loos.

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British Bulldog has really gotten out of hand in recent years.

Connecticut Renaissance Faire runs all throughout October during Saturday and Sunday, 10:30am – 6pm, and also on Columbus Day in North Haven Connecticut, USA. General admission starts at $15 for 16+, $10 for children aged 7-15, and kids under the age of 6 go free!

Tickets can be purchased online here: http://ctfaire.com/buy-tickets-faire/

AND IF THAT DOESN’T CONVINCE YOU, CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME PHOTOS (and great kit inspiration!

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If you think I’m scary now, you should see me with a… oh, I’m already holding a sword.
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Level up in 5…4…3…
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“You still take the paralysis effect even if you parry it.” “NO, READ THE RULES.”
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“This chain? Of course I just looted it!”
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Man, that’s an amazing horse suit.
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That must be some tasty mead.
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Pecan tarts? Pecan pastries? Pecan vol-au-vents?
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Because chain mail can also armour wrists.
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I have poison lore, you know.
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I also have poison lore. In powder format.
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Tasty tasty foods.

All photos shot by Eric Tetreault

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