My brother Josiah and I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival with some friends a few weeks ago. It was our first time ever at a Ren Faire, and it definitely met all of my medieval/fantasy loving self’s expectation.
Prepare yourself for an onslaught of pictures. You have been warned! 😉
We left early that Saturday morning, hoping to make the 3-hour drive in time to get good seats for the first joust. I’ve been working on a fantasy novel for about 2 years that begins at a Ren Faire and contains several jousts, so, naturally, those were my priority for the day.
The first thing I would do differently if I ever go to a Ren Faire again is to not eat greasy food in the car on the way there, which is not directly related to the Faire itself, but it certainly affected my morning. Heh! I forget that I tend to get carsick if I ride with an empty stomach early in the morning, and greasy food does not help. I want to be in top shape when I get to the Faire, not dealing with nausea.
We arrived about half an hour after opening time, and already the field used for parking was packed. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing the costumes that Faire goers came up with. Being in a place where your inner fantasy nerd can emerge and roam freely without getting you some funny looks is AWESOME.
The Ren Faire is such a colorful place. We ended up going on the weekend they were celebrating Halloween, which was not by choice, but even the gory and dark costumes were fascinating. These people put a LOT of effort and creativity into their costumes! We saw everything from fairies and bloody zombie priests, to knights and orcs (including one riding around on a Segway in full makeup and costume. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was laughing too hard!).
The second thing I would do differently is to put more effort into my costume. I borrowed my dress from a friend, and I loved wearing it, but after seeing the elaborate costumes and makeup at the Faire, I would love to be little more creative next time. Maybe I’ll try a fantasy makeup look or hairstyle. I already have a Pinterest board of ideas for next time!
We walked by this show just in time to see not one, but two audience marriage proposals on stage! So cool!
And then – THE JOUST. Thankfully, we managed to get there early enough to get front row seats! I was amazed at the number of people that gathered to watch, even once the stands were full!
The third thing I would do differently is to bring a smaller camera. I brought my big camera, which is the size of a DSLR (even though the lenses are not interchangeable) since I don’t have a phone that takes good pictures. I hope to have a better phone by next year, and I would much rather bring that than haul my big camera around all day. Carrying my camera around my neck or in my big purse put quite a strain on my neck and shoulders, and it was hard to pull it out quickly to snap a photo.
Our lady of chivalry and mistress of ceremonies – beautiful even with her eyes closed 😉
We had a blast cheering for our knight, Sir Don Venchenzo (or something like that). He ended up winning the joust that morning!
I love this picture. The gypsy guy who helped seat everyone on our side entertained us throughout the entire joust.
The fourth thing I would do differently is to take more pictures of the people that I am with and to try to get pictures with the knights. I took a couple of pictures of my friend and her boys, and me and my brother, but I wish I had taken more. The knights often hung around the arena after the jousts, and I’d love to get pictures with them next time.
After the joust, we wandered around for a few more hours, grabbing some food and exploring the shops. Josiah and I sat and watched this group of jugglers for a while. Their show was called “London Broil” and they were EXCELLENT. If you ever go to this particular Ren Faire, try to go and see these guys. They are great at what they do, funny, and generally family friendly (not always easy to find!).
The last thing I would do differently next time is to see more shows. Obviously, when you are traveling with other people, you have to coordinate your schedule and make sure everyone gets to do what they want, but I would definitely love to sit and watch more of the shows next time. I enjoyed the shops, but the Faire got so crowded that moving around was difficult and slightly claustrophobic. The shows provide a nice break from shoving your way through the crowd, and the performers are amazing.
Our day at the Carolina Ren Fest was AMAZING. I would love to go again next year, if possible. If you ever get the chance to attend a Renaissance Festival, GO!
Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival?
What was your favorite part?
Would you do anything differently next time?