It began last year. I remember it vividly clear–it was my first time attending a full scale Renaissance Faire.
It was like walking onto the set of a movie…while the movie was playing.
My two friends dragged me along on this silly escapade of theirs that they had been talking about for years. They usually went once a year as a family, and after much deliberation, I finally caved to their whims. So one Sunday afternoon, we drove out to Kenosha, WI, dressed in silliness and garb I normally would not have sported (save for Halloween). The parking lot was a field of grass. Bumpy, lumpy ground. We exited the vehicle and I stared up at the entrance wall made entirely out of hewn logs. Banners streamed from the turrets, the grand welcome greeted us. In the far off distance, hidden behind that barricade, came a roar–it wasn’t the sound of screams from a thrilling ride at a general State fair, it was more like a cheer, voices rising in crecendo.
We entered this peculiar place, kicking up dust and stones–there was not a lick of pavement to be found. Immediately, we were surrounded by a throng of the most unusual specimens. There were peasants and nobles, witches and wizards, fairies galore, and every creature and being from myth and lore. We weren’t the only ones dressed up. The garb ranged from light accessories to full blown costumes.
I had never experienced anything like this before. It truly astounded my imagination. For years I escaped inside books, later to begin writing my own tales of adventure and fantasy, but now I had found a place where I could live the dream. I was at once a Wendy experiencing her first Neverland visit as well as a Peter Pan who felt as if he had never left–as if I had always belonged.
The true magic was in the cast members–actors devoted to their craft, embodying a character, an image, and playing it out so well you almost forgot the face behind the mask. All the games were old Renaissance games (throwing rotten tomatoes at unlucky citizens), and the rides were constructed of wood and propelled by human power. All the venders and crafters spoke the old Renaissance English, doffing hats and bowing low in respect. It was marvelous.
So now we’re at this year. Last year I went twice. This year by the time Labor Day weekend is over, I’ll have gone eight times. Next year? We’ll see what happens next year.
When you find something that brings you joy–honest, harmless joy–why, I see no reason for you not to continue.
This has been,
The whimsical and wandering
Fanny T Crispin