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Author Topic: Ren Fair??  (Read 9684 times)
Kasmira
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« Topic Start: September 13, 2007, 11:59:02 pm »

So a group from my college is looking for folks to go with them to the NY Ren Fair and I am kind of interested. But I have never been to a Ren Fair and other than that they are Renaissance style I know pretty much nothing about them. So I know that many here at TC are Ren Fair lovers and was wondering if anyone could give me any help with what they are, why they are interesting/fun, etc.? I am also thinking of it as a place to meet new folks as I am under the impression that Ren Fairs are pretty big hangouts for Pagan, eccentric, and just plain interesting people to hang out.

So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?

PS. Is there any easy way to find something to wear Smiley .
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« Reply #1: September 14, 2007, 01:06:51 am »

So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?

Ok, it's really late and I shouldn't be posting right now but...

Ren Faires are fun, lots of fun.  Essentially, unless you are going to be working the faire, you don't need to do or be any more than yourself.  Enjoy the shows, the crafts and the spontaneous meet-and-greet that the actors occasionally working the crowd toss out.  I once had an interesting conversation with a knight in full platemail concerning the rust on his armor.  Totally spontaneous, neither of us had been looking for the interaction but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity.  The actors are there because it's a passion for them.  Some like the historic aspects, others really get into period crafts.  Most of them are highly creative and intelligent individuals who put a great deal of time and effort into this.

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PS. Is there any easy way to find something to wear Smiley .

Going in costume is always fun.  A word of advice, peasant costumes are much easier to make and are infinitely more comfortable than nobles costumes.  You will appreciate this as the day wears on.  I don't think you'll actually be working the faire so you can fudge on historical accuracy.  Second hand shops are great places to find costuming materials.  If you can sew you'll have much more to work with.  Here's a *.pdf of resources I found off the Northern California Renaissance Faire site: Costume Resources.

Here's a link to some language references and here's the site for The New York Renaissance Faire.

Well, here's hoping that helps some.  I know I didn't provide a great deal of detail so if you have any specific questions ask and I'll do my best to answer.  If it helps, think of this as a themed craft faire with entertainment and you'll do fine.

Most of all - Have Fun!
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« Reply #2: September 14, 2007, 08:26:10 am »

So a group from my college is looking for folks to go with them to the NY Ren Fair and I am kind of interested. But I have never been to a Ren Fair and other than that they are Renaissance style I know pretty much nothing about them. So I know that many here at TC are Ren Fair lovers and was wondering if anyone could give me any help with what they are, why they are interesting/fun, etc.? I am also thinking of it as a place to meet new folks as I am under the impression that Ren Fairs are pretty big hangouts for Pagan, eccentric, and just plain interesting people to hang out.

So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?

PS. Is there any easy way to find something to wear Smiley .

Ren Fair is in the air!  I am all a-twitter!  Yes, I will be going to a couple myself. They are great fun indeed! 

Do go expecting to be entertained, have some fun, and learn a few things about the times.  Don't go expecting to find a pagan group to network with though. At events such as this, people of all kinds attend -families, couples, groups, there may even be buses unloading kids on a field trip or seniors on a day trip.

The people working at the festivals know their stuff and try to be as authentic as possible!  Be warned though, the handicrafts are not cheap, they are costly, but well worth it!

Some festivals have costume rental booths, so you don't need to buy or make anything if you do choose to dress in costume.  Most have web-sites, so you may wish to check out the one you will be attending.

If you are looking to find a pagan group, you would do better to attend a Pagan Gathering.

Enjoy your day there!

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« Reply #3: September 14, 2007, 10:22:33 am »

So I know that many here at TC are Ren Fair lovers and was wondering if anyone could give me any help with what they are, why they are interesting/fun, etc.?

Depends what you think is fun, in part.

There's a lot of variation based on the Faire - different places have different kinds of emphasis on what's going on. There'll usually be some combination of vendors with various crafts, performances (music, dance, theatre, comedy, etc.) Sometimes there are demonstrations of period crafts (ours has falconry, sheep dog herding, glass blowing, and a forge going, among other things.) There's often a tournament or joust.

One reason I'm fond of them is just for the spectacle: it's lovely to look out and see a wide range of colors, clothing, people having fun, etc.

Quote
I am also thinking of it as a place to meet new folks as I am under the impression that Ren Fairs are pretty big hangouts for Pagan, eccentric, and just plain interesting people to hang out.

It can be hard to meet people *at* a Faire if you don't know people there already - simply because the people working there are working, and don't have a lot of time to chat, and the other people attending are likely with their own friends, families, etc. (Which isn't to say it might not happen that you'd strike up a conversation with someone, but it's more likely to happen if you work out there, know someone who does, or if you're the kind of person who normally makes friends with random strangers who interest you (which takes someone *far* more outgoing than I am, personally.)

As far as clothing: places do rent. If you want to do something that's close enough to feel fun, you women can do a peasant-style shirt, a long loose skirt and get the feel.

One useful note: for Pagan purposes, you can do some great shopping. I finally picked up an athame I like at my local Ren Faire earlier this month: it's made by a shop that uses historical techniques and design, which pleases me greatly. Someone I was with picked up a Renaissance-style broom. You can often get interesting incenses, mugs, goblets, bowls, and jewelry, too, besides clothes.

Since you've got people to go with, I'd say go, see whether you like it.

I'd offer two suggestions: pace yourself (it can be a long day: see if you can talk people into sitting down to watch a performance every hour or two.) And it can be a *hot* day - drink plenty of water, find shade, consider wearing a straw hat if you have one. And definitely wear sunblock if it's at all sunny (and especially if you're wearing a style of shirt you're not used to: Renaissance chemises often leave bits of your body exposed to sun that aren't used to it.)

Food can be pricy, but there's usually some good options out there. (We had spinach pie and pulled pork sandwiches this year, and lemonade). Eat before you spend all your other money. If you don't have the money for something now, a lot of places have business cards or websites you can note down, for later shopping. (Also, a lot easier, once you've seen stuff in person.)
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« Reply #4: September 14, 2007, 10:41:19 am »

So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?

What Oaksworn said!  The vendors and actors make it so much fun, because they're usually very friendly and knowledgable.  Entertainment usually runs from ribald comedy to jousting with a bit of everything else thrown in for good measure.  The shopping is usually very tempting with some unique pieces to be found (chainmaile hoorah!). 

You will indeed find lots of interesting and eccentric people.  Depending on the fair, you may a number of pagans, but you'll not find an organized group of them as a general rule.  You just never know who'll you'll run into.

You don't have to go in costume, but IMO, it's a lot more fun if you do (so says the person who makes her own ren dresses).  Sewing is not everyone's thing, so you might want to try local costume shops and halloween stores to see if you can find something suitable.  Unless you're officially acting, authenticity isn't such a concern.

Have a great time!
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« Reply #5: September 14, 2007, 11:27:34 am »


Thanks so much for the info. I am definitely thinking of going. I need to figure out logistics, but all looks good at the moment Smiley .
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« Reply #6: September 14, 2007, 12:07:48 pm »

Thanks so much for the info. I am definitely thinking of going. I need to figure out logistics, but all looks good at the moment Smiley .

I love the Ren fair!
If the NY one you're talking about is the one at Sterling forest, that's the one I go to every year since I only live 20 minutes North of it. We already went this year on the opening weekend. It was fun and I usually end up getting free tickets which is a good thing, because stuff inside is expensive!
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« Reply #7: September 14, 2007, 12:46:38 pm »


So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?

PS. Is there any easy way to find something to wear Smiley .

First off, I admit to being quite biased. I loved Ren Faires so much I decided to make a living out of 'em.

TO DO LIST: The New York Faire is part of REP (Renaissance Faire Productions) and an excellent Faire. I would very much recommend seeing the joust, REP usually uses the guys who ride the big Percherons, very cool to see, Moonie's show (The best comic/clown tightrope guy I have ever) and if he is still there Broon has a great comedy/juggling act. Oh, if Sound and Fury are performing and you like twisted Shakesphere, they are certainly one of the best troupes going. Right there you have 3 hours of so of things not to miss!

THE MARVELOUS PAGAN SHOPPING: I have been vending at Rens for over 18 years and I do not know one vendor who is not Pagan of some sort and quite excentric. As all item sold must be hand made you get a great mix of Pagan and Artist = very creative and often overeducated folks. As many of the Faires run during major holidays there are always afterhour rituals and celebrations on Summer Solstice, Beltane, Mabon etc. Southern Faire in CA had a glorious 24' Maypole at the old site. *sigh*  During the day you will see Morris dancers, Stag Dancers, people selling many things Pagan (elemental scarves, pents of all sorts, jewelry, things for use in spells, ritual robes, the best athames hand forged by masters, leather masks, many Fae things) the shopping is top notch, no plastic swords from China etc. This can also make many things somewhat pricey. Before I worked Faire I would save for months for the one of a kind things I could only get at there. Your first trip, you may just be developing a list for next year.

MEET AND GREET: Jennet is correct, it is hard to really meet people at faire. We are working and have much to do. You can certainly connect with other people just coming to play, but I think to really get to know the folks you need to work Faire. Socializing begins with the closing parade when everyone else goes home. Working or volunteering gets you into the legendary after hours performances, parties and celebrations too. Vendors always need help, the usual pay is a gate/parking pass in exchange for three or four hours helping in the booth, but it is up to each vendor. You must also have an approved costume to work, which means passing muster with the Costume Mistress. At REP faires they are Costume Nazi's indeed, but a very acceptable costume can be had for about a hundred bucks. I also have acquired many bits of costuming over the years and can outfit my Boothies myself if they do not have their own.

COSTUME:It is fun to dress up and you feel more a part of the experience. My advice is to come prepared to either rent an outfit for the day ($30 to $85 depending on what class you choose) or buy a simple one while you are there. If you have never been it's hard to know just what to make/buy that will work. Heart's Delight is a great family run booth that has the least expensive clothing, you can go from there up to the full on leather and silks of Pendragon. But if you just wear a long skirt or dress, and pick up a bodice for about $25 and a $10 snood for your hair you will fit right in. - Oh pirates are very big right now as well, many people come as 1700's buccaneers nowadays.

PERSONAL PLUG: Oh, while there you will notice most of the Rennies wear bodices and jerkin's sporting many Faire Favors. It is a tradition at Faire to give little gifts at the end to workers, friends or boothies, usually pins or something to attach to hat or vest. Almost everyone will have a pin that is made of white buffalo bone with interesting/funny sayings on them. I make those! New York is too far for me to travel (I am in CA) but my stuff will be very present  Cheesy
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« Reply #8: September 14, 2007, 04:06:44 pm »

First off, I admit to being quite biased. I loved Ren Faires so much I decided to make a living out of 'em.
PERSONAL PLUG: Oh, while there you will notice most of the Rennies wear bodices and jerkin's sporting many Faire Favors. It is a tradition at Faire to give little gifts at the end to workers, friends or boothies, usually pins or something to attach to hat or vest. Almost everyone will have a pin that is made of white buffalo bone with interesting/funny sayings on them. I make those! New York is too far for me to travel (I am in CA) but my stuff will be very present  Cheesy

Ah, then you must be well aquainted with the Thousand Oaks Faire?  I used to go when I lived in CA! 
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« Reply #9: September 14, 2007, 04:21:36 pm »


What she said!!!!!!  (I vend at faires too, and yes the after hours parties are quite legendary.  There was this one time with the absinthe Papa thor makes....)

Eadie
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« Reply #10: September 14, 2007, 04:25:46 pm »

Ah, then you must be well aquainted with the Thousand Oaks Faire?  I used to go when I lived in CA! 

Hmmm, I'm not placing a Thousand Oaks Faire. I live in the Bay Area, but I do all six of the Gold Coast Pirates and Rens (Ojai, Escondido), Gold Coast Productions is based in Thousand Oaks. I did the REP Southern Pleasure Faire in Devore near San Bernardino for many years till just before it closed, and the San Diego Ren Faire. That's about the only Rens I do in Southern CA.
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« Reply #11: September 14, 2007, 05:30:20 pm »

Hmmm, I'm not placing a Thousand Oaks Faire. I live in the Bay Area, but I do all six of the Gold Coast Pirates and Rens (Ojai, Escondido), Gold Coast Productions is based in Thousand Oaks. I did the REP Southern Pleasure Faire in Devore near San Bernardino for many years till just before it closed, and the San Diego Ren Faire. That's about the only Rens I do in Southern CA.

I've been gone for over 10 years now.  Sad  I may have had the wrong city, but it was called The Southern CA. Pleasure Faire, it was huge! 
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« Reply #12: September 14, 2007, 05:57:36 pm »

it was called The Southern CA. Pleasure Faire, it was huge! 

Ah yes! Southern Faire ran for eight weekends and was great fun (when it wasn't over 100 degrees anyway  Wink ) It was huge, took at least two days to see it, and the parades, shows and people were great and and and... *sigh* too bad the silly promoters didn't pay their bill and the faire lost the site about three years ago. I refuse to do the show now at the new site, I just do not trust those people anymore. My schedule is still very, very full.

As I thought about it I realized (insert shameless plug here:) that I myself make a large stone and wood altar tile, night lights and candle holders with pentacles and Chaos stars on them, leather bound sketchbooks with Tarot Card images, Celtic knots and Triquetras, fairies and dragons too. Funny, I've been doing it so long I didn't even think of the stuff as Pagan, just the regular things I make and haul off to shows. Witchy things are very much the norm at Ren Faires.
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« Reply #13: September 14, 2007, 06:00:47 pm »

MEET AND GREET: ... to really get to know the folks you need to work Faire.

It's a little over 2 hours away for me, so no chance of working there Cry.

COSTUME:It is fun to dress up and you feel more a part of the experience.

I really would like to make myself something but I only have a little over a week, hmm. *thinks about possible ways to adapt stuff in existing wardrobe*

PERSONAL PLUG: ... Almost everyone will have a pin that is made of white buffalo bone with interesting/funny sayings on them. I make those! New York is too far for me to travel (I am in CA) but my stuff will be very present  Cheesy

Oooh, yay, Juniper-made pins, I will be happy to see them Grin.
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« Reply #14: September 14, 2007, 09:50:04 pm »

Ahhh! I love ren faire, and I miss it sooooo much. I worked as an unpaid actor at the PA Ren Faire a few years ago, but since then school and life have gotten in the way, which upsets me a lot!

I am also thinking of it as a place to meet new folks as I am under the impression that Ren Fairs are pretty big hangouts for Pagan, eccentric, and just plain interesting people to hang out.
Actually, I generally find this to be true. You can find about the most eclectic group of people around faires. Both good and bad. lol. And almost anyone there will be more than happy to interact with you. Go after those actors and have fun with them! They are there to make your experience wonderful. And if they talk to you, talk back! (You'd be amazed the crazy looks you get when just saying "Hi, how are you?" in dialect and costume. lol.) The shop owners love to share their craft and chit chat.

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So what do you folks think of Ren Fairs?
In case it was not clear by now, I love them. Smiley It can be hard to juggle in one day; you want to get a good mix of shopping around, going to musical or theater shows, and seeing exhibitions like jousting, falconry, or glass-blowing. Just take in all you can, dance, and smile. lol.

Quote
PS. Is there any easy way to find something to wear Smiley .
It's not a prerequisite to dress up. When I go as a patron, I generally just wear a full skirt of two (tuck the top one into the band on either side, and you've got the whole peasant look going) with a fitted top of some sort. Wear fun knee socks and tuck your skirt up to show them off (totally not period to show ones ankles, or where fun socks for that matter, but who cares). Wear comfortable shoes that aren't sneaker. Mary Janes or Birkenstocks are good.
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