10 Reasons Why the Renaissance Faire is Cooler Than You Think It Is

I know the image that the term “Renaissance Faire” conjures up in your mind: an image of pimply-faced nerds dressing up in drugstore-grade costumes to play with paper swords and talk about Dungeons and Dragons in some remote field.

But that’s where you’re wrong. The Ren Faire isn’t about nerds, and it certaintly isn’t about videogames (hell, in the 1500s, they didn’t even have Atari). It’s an adventure into the past where you can go to day drink, eat, and watch silly shows with all different kinds of people. Since I’m always up for an adventure, I tried it out nearly 4 years ago when a boyfriend’s parents suggested it. Since then, I’ve gone to the LA Faire every year, and had a blast every year. So don’t let high school you’s preconceived notions of Ren Faire’s dampen your energy for adventure! Here are 10 excellent reasons why the Renaissance Faire is cooler than you think:

1) Costumes

Let’s face it, by May, you’re going through a costume withdrawal because it’s been nigh on 6 months since All Hallow’s Eve and it’s another 6 before you get to don your finest costume and trick-or-treat once again. And the best part? Anybody can throw together a frock that screams (or just whispers) Renaissance.

Do you have a white collared shirt, pants/skirt, and a scarf? Poof, thou art a pirate.

Or a long skirt/loose pants, a t-shirt and a vest (or corset if you’ve got one)? Bam, a peasant. (Frankly if you own a corset, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be at the Ren Faire)

I certainly don’t have the means to purchase a full “legitimate” costume, so over the years I’ve thrown together this or that into some pretty good combos. You can see below, I added together some relatively common pieces:


And it became this:

A perfectly pirate-y combo, if I do say so myself. And that’s not even the best part. Although the Faire welcomes all levels of costume attempts, about half the people there are in excellent, well-made costumes that are very impressive and a lot of fun to look at. It’s one of the best places you can go to people watch.

2) Boobs

Men and women alike will be impressed by what some whalebone can do to the female form. The cleavage is everywhere, and it’s plentiful. No wonder the Renaissance was such a saucy and lascivious time, between the corsets and the codpieces, everything was on display.

At the Faire, the cleavage is also functional. Women carry pouches, money, knick-knacks and even shot glasses in their buxom bosoms.

3) Drunken Archery

That’s right, this is one of the few places where alcohol and bows and arrows mix. Get a good day buzz going on ale and mead, and then head over to the archery booth. At $5 for 11 arrows, you might have a chance of actually hitting the target for less than $50.

4) Bawdy Carols

Don’t you wish that we still lived in a time when, rather than pub quiz and beer pong, you leaned unstably against the bar while singing bawdy songs in full volume disharmony? Even though your local watering hole might frown on it (although really, would that stop you), you can sit on a haystack at the Renaissance Faire listening to classics like “I Wear NO Pants” and “She’s a Whore” sung by our favorite band The Poxy Boggards (rated NC-17 for lots of bad language and general roguishness).

5) Creative Catcalls

Everyone knows the confidence boost of being hit on. And though even the tightest corset wouldn’t give me enough cleavage to squeeze a penny in, I feel like the hottest wench on the block when I’m walking down the dirt paths of the Ren Faire because all the rogues and gentlemen are calling out to us ladies. But what makes their enticements entertaining rather than offensive? It’s not that they aren’t vulgar and suggestive because they can be. It’s because they’re creative. I mean, who doesn’t smile when they hear a clever play on the word “javelin”? Or appreciate that someone would pledge 100 goats for one kiss?

6) Weapons Stand

Because where else are you going to buy yourself a new broadsword?

7) Finger Food

Because I’m not talking just chicken strips and fries. I’m talking meat on a stick and baked potatoes – no forks allowed. Grab a frozen banana to enjoy during The Poxy Boggards show for definite bonus points and ridicule.

8) People Not in Costume

Because it’s one of the few times where they’re the weirdos.

9) Jousting

Because I’m not sure the sport even made sense in the idle ages, but it sure is fun to watch.

10) Photo Op

Because you need to spice up your Facebook wall, and what better way than by posing with the knight grinning on billboards all over LA?


**The lovely lady in the pictures with me is the wonderful Lady Steinhoff.  Purchase her book, a raucous tale of bawdy pirate women and a must read for all Ren Faire enthusiasts, on Amazon.

**Several of the pictures (and all of the good ones) taken by the lovely Madame Rima. Find more of her work on her Flickr as well as on her website.


~ by sarahjeanne on April 27, 2012.

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