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.
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!
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.
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!”
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.
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!
All photos shot by Eric Tetreault