‘Tis a Faire Cop
Do you like dressing up in costume and acting like a fool?
Do anachronisms make you physically aroused?
Do you like stuffing your gullet with meat and being drunk before noon?
Do you long for a simpler time before electricity and sexual harassment laws?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Ren Faire is probably a good place for you! (And I promise to limit my puns to 3; and that pun, being the third pun reached, shall snuff it, amen)
For my So Cal friend and readers this weekend marks the last of this summers Renaissance Pleasure Faire. For the price of admission you can literally party like it’s 1699. Enjoy jugglers, jesters, jousting, sword fighting, tasty treats, and drinks full of alcohol! Costuming is not required, but it is a lot of fun! Participants in character will oft interact with you, so throw on your best Elizabethan garb and dialect and have a ball!
If you like activities, within the span of 2 hours you could take a fencing lesson, shoot a bow, learn to make chain mail, throw an ax (or pike or knife for that matter), sample wares from all over the realm, and spend a king’s ransom at the assortment of artisans booths. There are some seriously talented people here from hatters and clothiers to leather work and arts in all mediums. Traditional drawing/painting as well as work in glass wood and metal will have anyone with an eye for quality crowding the shops all day long!
If entertainment is what you’re looking for, then you don’t have far to go! The Faire offers treats for the eyes and ears: belly dancers, aerialists, comedy troops, fire-breathers, sword fighters, and musical acts of all genres await patrons on a dozen stages throughout the day. Acts range from the kid-centric to family friendly to the rogues reef stage appropriately rated Arrrrr (Pun the first).
If it’s your first time, here’s my guide to having a great day at Faire! These tips and acts will certainly not disappoint and are the product of years of trial and error.
- Arrive early! Don’t be dragon your ass (pun the second). The earlier you get there, the better your parking situation will be and the more time you’ll have to take in the faire.
- Bring sunscreen! Even an overcast day will result in a lot of sunlight and not even a big floppy hat will keep you out of those late afternoon rays.
- Come in costume! Like i said, not required, but way more fun; if you don’t have anything there’s a rental booth near the entrance with a great selection and decent prices.
- Hit up the shops on the way in; if something catches you eye check it out, because it might not be there on your way out! Most booths will hold your purchases till the end of the day leaving you hands free to enjoy the faire.
- Stop to eat when you pass ye olde foode courte! There are snack and alcohol stands throughout the faire, but if you’re at the joust and get a rumbling in your tumbly it can be a long walk till your next meal.
- Stay hydrated! You may get hot, you may get sweaty; and if you don’t drink some water you may very well pass out!
- Bring cash! While the ticket booths take Master Card (and Lady Visa) and there are ATM’s scattered throughout the faire, the waiting times to get a transaction processed can range from the inconvenient to the unbearable (more so for the ATMs than at the entrance, but even so, better safe than sorry!)
- Take in an activity or two! There’s nothing like a fencing lesson or a good axe throw to put you in the spirit of the day. The queens college is a great place to pick up a fun trade and the skills of what might turn into a new hobby! Ranging from free (bellydancing) to $20 (fine leather pouchmaking) skilled instructors provide you with the materials, history, and knowledge of your new craft. At the end of the session you’ll keep your new creation and hopefully have a good story or two to tell. I got into chainmailing myself after a class at the queens college in 2010 and have since made armor for my costume, and jewelry for my wife for holiday/b-day presents!
The Dread Crew of Oddwood: What would your reaction be if I told you that there was a group playing metal…on acoustic instruments…that were also a gang of pirates? If you said BEST THING EVER, check out their music video then check ’em out at the faire!
These salty swashbucklers do songs ranging from covers of things like They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengaurd and a medley of Legend of Zelda tunes to truly inspired original material like that seen above. Great stage presence and musicality make them one of my favorite acts year after year! Music to my Buccan-Ears! (pun 5, no 3 sir!, ok i’m done)
The Merry Wives of Windsor: These busty barroom belles can belt a bawdy ballad! This all female troupe features a great ensemble of choral delights from traditional folk tunes like Mad Jenny or Whiskey in the Jar done with such impressive musicianship you almost forget that they just had you rolling in the aisles with not so subtle entendre like Has Anybody Seen My Cock? These gals have HUGE…tracts of talent; and an equally large…repertoire, you’ll never see the same show twice! In fact, the first time I saw The Wives I heard a great parody entitled What do you Do With a Drunken Barmaid? (Cover her in honey and let us lick ‘er, duh) that I hadn’t heard again till their latest album was released earlier this year. Raise a glass to the Merry Wives as they serve you up a great set!
MooNie & Broon: One is a mute juggler, the other a comic “magician”; they do acts separately and together, but either way you split them they get their own stage all day long and can certainly captivate a crowd! The individual acts don’t change much from year to year, but certainly a stop you’ll want to make if you’re bringing a first timer. The end of day combo show is certainly worth catching as its mostly improved and at a perfect time if you’re on your way back from the joust. These guys are so solid and truly hysterical, we almost had to cut my friend Jess out of her corset one year to keep her breathing straight!
Joust to the Death: There’s nothing like capping off your day with a solid lance to the breastplate! Sadly this joust is more Medieval Times than it is Joust to the Death; but it is still an awesome display of lance games, horsemanship, and athleticism!
Other Acts Worth Catching
- Wash Well Wenches: Wet Dirty Women, Good Clean Fun!
- Manly Men in Tights!: A comedic, swashbuckling, metro-testosterone fueled romp
- Sportive Tricks: Energetic Irish Folk tunes (usually performing at the exit of the faire if you stay till the end, perfect way to end the day!
- The Gentlemen Adventurers: See these military officers take to the streets conducting personal duels and practicing their swordplay.
- Suspended Reality: Aerial dance troupe takes flight, performing graceful and daring acrobatic dances high in the air
- Sky Kings Falconry: A new event this year, experience the sport of kings; a free flying falconry and birds of prey demonstration.
If you can’t make it up to Irwindale for the Pleasure Faire this weekend, don’t fret; Ren Faires can be found around the entire country throughout the year! Texas, Northern California Pleasure Faire, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and even up in Wisconsin and Minnisota all have large and noteworthy Faires worth looking into. As I no longer live in So Cal. I’m especially excited about the Maryland faire this year as jousting is the state sport here! My heart will be at Pleasure Faire this weekend, even if my body cannot; so in that spirit I’ll be attending the Fair Hill Scottish Games in MD if anyone wants to come join me!
As always, check out my Flickr account by clicking here or any of the photos for a full set of some of my favorite pics from Ren Faires throughout the years.
Posted on May 16, 2012, in Events, Nerdy Shit and tagged 2012, broon, california, costumes, crew, dread, fair, faire, joust, jousting, knight, may, merry, moonie, oddwood, pirate, pleasure, ren, renaissance, so cal, sword, windsor, wives. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.