Why Renaissance Faires Are Wonderful

A few weeks ago, the front panel fell off of one of the drawers in our apartment in San Jose. (I know, this doesn’t sound like the start of a very good story. Stay with me, here.) This front panel falling off required me to call the apartment building’s landlord, and…you know how some people can best be described as “characters”? This guy. He fixed the drawer in about thirty seconds, and then spent the next hour and a half standing in the doorway of my apartment telling me stories (“Just one more! Promise!”) about his Renaissance Faire adventures, with full-on accent and dramatic reenactments and wild gesticulating.

When he finally left, he bowed practically to the floor and called me “my lady” with absolutely no hint of irony.

I loved him.

And that is the kind of person who you meet when you go to Renaissance Faires: people who just do their thing, and do it BIG. And meeting people like that – with that level of passion and excitement for anything, whether it’s a passion that you “get” or not – is always fun, and exciting, and a good reminder of how cool it is to just let yourself go and embrace the moment once in awhile.

The best part of these fairs (besides the fact that you can buy a mug of mead, a pickle out of a barrel, and a pair of elf ears without walking more than five feet): the total lack of pressure to be anything other than exactly what you want to be. There’s such a sense of acceptance – I love that you see suburban moms wearing little feathered headpieces wandering around next to teenagers dressed up as goth fairies and old men waving pirate swords, and they’re all happy and having fun and doing their thing.

lunch at faire

This photo is an excellent encapsulation of why I like Renaissance Faires so much: I’m usually a little anxious and self-conscious about breast-feeding in public…but I felt as comfortable feeding the baby sitting on a bench in the middle of a big plaza as I would have in my very own home. I think that’s a pretty good indicator that somewhere is a good place to be.

bow and arrow

sword from stone

camel ride


leather bracelet

Now that is a pirate bracelet if I’ve ever seen one.

ren faire

(More info on the New York Renaissance Faire here.)

  • Hope Varnedoe

    Yes! To everything you said. We are total Renaissance Faire nerds. We get season passes here in Maryland every year and go every other weekend or so for it’s 9 week run. It is such a magical place and experience. 🙂