As I mentioned in my last post, I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival (or Faire, whatever) over the past weekend with some friends. I had an awesome time.
The temperature did not exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit and it drizzled off an on all day. Now, that may not sound particularly pleasant to some, but for me it was actually ideal. It kept things cool—I’m a cold weather person—and the crowds were minimal because of the rain.
Lines were short and seats for shows were ample. We managed to avoid getting rained on while sitting around except for while we were at the joust. Of course it rained during the joust, where there was no tree cover. Our side also lost the joust, but whatever.
Part of the reason I enjoy going to the Faire is looking at the patrons in costume and interacting with the employees. I like buying into the fantasy; it makes for a more robust experience. For example, I spotted Captain Jack Sparrow floating around near the lists. While he was slightly misplaced in the time period, it’s always fun recognizing a character.
I grinned, walked up to his group and waited for a pause in the conversation. “Excuse me, Captain Sparrow,” I said (you can’t just call him Jack. It’s Captain.), “May I?” I held up my camera.
“Of course, love,” he answered in the expected slurred grumble.
I walked away happy, and I hope, he walked away pleased that someone liked his costume. It was ridiculously accurate. That takes a lot of work, you guys.
Earlier in the day, I spotted a lady in a traditional Viking apron dress. Well, I squealed (on the inside) with delight because, hey, I’m writing a Viking novella! Got a picture of her, too:
I also went to see Johnny Fox the sword swallower and during his act he kept talking about the March of the Green Men, which happens once a Faire. Men dressed up like, well, trees, wander around the Faire giving out blessings in the form of acorns.
I was really excited to see that because the costumes are elaborate and it’s eye candy and story fodder and all manner of things. So, about an hour after the show, my group ran across the Green Men. I pulled out my camera and started snapping away—my pictures are blurry because I was in a hurry and didn’t get some settings right and they were, you know, moving and stuff. But I digress.
I pulled the camera away from my face long enough to receive an acorn from a bespectacled tree person, “A blessing for you, my lady,” and then I returned to my friends, grinning.
“I got a blessing!”
“So did we!”
Smiles all around. And then, someone taps me on the shoulder. Some strange guy in a t-shirt. “Here, have mine,” he said. He laughed that kind of nervous, I-don’t-get-you-people-and-I’m-slightly-scared laugh that first-timers usually have.
I hate that laugh.
The whole point of coming to a Faire, or a Con, or even a football game, is to suspend your disbelief and buy into the eccentricity of the event. Let go of your pride. Get involved with the magic. Get involved with the story.
That’s when it dawned on me. I like the Faire because I’m a storyteller. I like it because it reminds me that the same people wandering around in costume are the kind of people who will eventually read my books—and enjoy them. Not Anti-Acorn Dude. But the Green Men, the sword swallower, that little kid wearing the wizard hat and toting a wooden axe.
These are my people. You guys are my people. Thank you for reading. Blessings!