Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Going Medieval

Saturday we drove up to St.Petersburg, FL, where my big brother Ben lives. There we ate too much Chinese food, drove around downtown counting the plaster seahorses on houses (and debating whether anyone would mind my prying one off with a crow bar), and then walking along the Bay watching a pod of dolphins play in the waters just off shore. All in all, a nice, relaxing day.

Sunday, it was Ren Faire time. (Forsooth!)

Sadly our day was cut short when I nearly fainted while being laced into a corset*, but I still have some fun photos to share. (And no, none are of me in a corset. Sorry/you're welcome.)

*I wish I could say "it's a long story," but actually that's about the sum total of it right there.

Upon first entering the grounds we spotted the May Pole dancers:

Love the colors.

Next we stumbled on a Nature-show-esque display by these two:

Here the two females have spotted their quarry, and begin cat-calling and posing, um, "suggestively."

The terrified objects of their attention skirt by as fast as their legs will take them, studiously ignoring the pair's advances.

The females continue to vocalize their undying devotion, and promise to hold their breath until the men return. (They don't. Either of them.) (And yes, that IS a peanut shoved up the one girl's nose.)

So...yeah. That there pretty well sums up the general "vibe" of the Renaissance Festival. :D

Oh, but looky what I spotted!

[singing] Whatever it is I thiiink I see, becomes awesome Steampunk for me!

A few more colorful characters:

I had a pleasant conversation with this guy. Most people in costume there stay completely in character, which often gets awkward. He managed it with good humor, though, unlike some of the town drunks* and battle ogres and whatnot.

*I debated putting "drunks" in quotes. After some consideration....nah.

Speaking of which, this goblin was being led around by a little princess:

It was pretty funny watching her grab him by his sword and drag him off after her.

A pretty parasol vendor:

These fairies were also fully in character, demanding to know the name of the "magic man in your box," (ie my camera):

Leave it to me to find a giant seahorse at a Ren Fair:

And a miniature rooster:

There was also a hawk rescue organization there with three tiny

It was breezy, so they kept their wings outstretched. Not sure if that was for balance or for show.

We didn't get to see any shows (boo!) but we did catch this guy's "Lamb Wow!" pitch:

Yep, a medieval themed Shamwow parody. It was great. He was midway through his bit when we wandered by, and he immediately honed in on me, waving us forward all the way to the front. Then he asked, "Are you following this, camera girl?" Followed quickly by, "Thank God you're here; I've been waiting to use that line ALL DAY." Ha!

The funny thing about the Fair is how it turns your regular average guys into mall-shopping girls. By which I mean: they have to try on EVERYTHING. I think I spent half my time waiting on Ben or John or both to get strapped into some leather armor, or try on new gauntlets, or swing around big two-handed broad swords. It was adorable. In a manly way, of course.


(And Ben may look grumpy, but he's actually giggling like a school girl on the inside.)

The guys also took it upon themselves to engage in all the "throw something dangerous!" games: first axes, then throwing stars, and finishing up with knives. They both managed to strike the targets with all of them, while I stood by taking pictures and wondering how anyone could ever afford insurance for these things. (I suspect the answer is: they don't.)

And here they are, my mighty warriors:

Oh yeah. This one is totally getting printed out and framed.

(That's hubby on the left, brother on the right.)

One of my favorite things at Ren Fairs are the busking entertainers. Just look at this creepy statue:

He remained totally still even while being poked and prodded by inquisitive passers-by.

Until, that is, they actually passed by:

Creeepy. And usually, the person walking by had no idea he was turning to watch them.

Then there was this guy:

Also creepy. From behind he blended in perfectly with the moss-covered trees.

But my favorite was the living fountain:

You can't tell by the photo, but this lady actually had a water spout in her hair, so there was water trickling down her entire body. Her head was angled so the water didn't get in her face, but I imagine it was still a less-than-comfortable sensation. Then again, it *was* pretty hot out, so maybe not.

The best part, though, was when her performance time was up. Her handler then lifted her off the pedestal and loaded her onto a hand truck to wheel off, while she remained (almost) perfectly rigid.

Talk about dedication! That does *not* look comfortable.

And here's one last beauty shot of her:

And that was my abbreviated day at the Renaissance Festival! It's there through April, if any of you fellow Floridians care to make the drive. To be honest, we might even go again, since I didn't feel well enough to really enjoy the day, and also because barely anyone was there. It was supposed to rain all day (and didn't) so parts of the Festival looked like a ghost town. I'd have loved to see more guests in costume. So, if we get another free weekend this month, you might be seeing more medieval pics.

Oh, and before any of you ask: yes, I bought the corset.
My first one! Although I wonder if the sales ladies ever use swooning to their advantage. "Oh, are you feeling faint? Well, if you just bought that corset you're trying on I'd be GLAD to take it off you..."

(No, that's not what happened. Although feeling faint *does* rush a few decisions. Wish I'd felt well enough to try a few other styles, too...)


  1. Sounds like fun, Jen! Fingers crossed that you get to go back this year. :)

  2. oh sweetie, it's never good to be faint while corsetted. The trick is before the final tying take a huge breath and then have it tied. Lots of water and a pickle will help as well.

  3. Love the lamb-wow guy...lol

    Mostly I'm just jealous that you live someplace where people can dress like that in March! I'm still wearing my down jacket and plugging in my car. :P

  4. Although glad you had a fun day, I must take this moment to pout a bit that you went this past weekend, meaning my plans to go next weekend (it's the Irish theme weekend! yay!) will *not* include running into you there. And that's cause for a loud exclamation of "Double Rats!" because I would so love to meet you and possibly subject you to one or two fangirlesque squeals of glee before resuming acting like a somewhat together sort of person.

    *waves from Tampa Bay*

  5. I have a deep running fear of anything "Ren Faire" as far as photos go, since I'm an avidly obsessed in costume history in the way only real and true OCD people can.

    I wince at "professionals" making "historically accurate" designs, when more often than not, they are indeed poor replicas of something from someone's romantic fancy of an era, in stead of from that era. (Yes, I scour through museums for fabric samples to copy, when I'm at it!)

    Most often I look at pictures with a growing dread the more I see polyester and a variety of colours that scream "I was made in a lab in 1987!", but this series actually looks cute, making me think it wouldn't be too uncomfortable to visit a faire after all. :)

    And kudos on getting the corset. I've been without wearing one for almost a year now, and I miss the cinching. It's easier to wear one, if it's tailored to measure, though, as it takes into account where your ribs are. I'm hoping to retire the corset some time next year, and make it into my "nightwear/equestrian" corset to keep my ribs in place when not cinched into a proper, maximum tightness Victorian profile.

    Maybe I'll ask my seamstress to make me a "Vampire hunting" corset next. Something that looks more like it came out of a Steampunk setting... *glistening eyes*

    It seems like you had a great time, though! :D

    WV: Exere. "With a deep guttural sound, the hunter exered their vilest curse at the stake missing its intended target and hitting the hostage's arm."

  6. Sorry to hear your day was cut short by an improperly laced corset. Hopefully that will get worked out and next year you'll get to enjoy the entire day.

  7. Oh, Jen - buying a corset is the first step down a slippery slope of full on costume regalia... Post more pictures of future visits, pretty please?

    from the place that won't see a Ren Faire until Mid-July (try wearing those costumes in 100f/80%humidity...)

  8. No going to lie, I read the first picture description as "We say MANY pole dancers." I wondered what the heck kind of Ren Faire you went to!

  9. Ooooh we'll be going there in a few weeks. Trying to put together some sort of an outfit, and maybe even try wearing my corset all day (I'm so not used to wearing one. I need to get back in shape for it by Dragon*con!). Last year my friend went as a satyr, and had many a photo taken of her :D

    I remember the green man from last year, he was great!

  10. You're so lucky! I LOVE Renn Faires, and I don't have anyone in my new town to go with! The one back home in Chicago didn't open until like the first weekend in August, and only runs through Labor Day. It can get ridiculously hot and humid! Please go again and show us more pictures! :)

  11. On your manly photo, who is who? Or which is which?

  12. Hi Jen!
    Huzzah! Looks like a great time, it's so fun to see the menfolk get worked up! Kids in a candy store, they are!

    Being a 20+ year vet of the Renaissance Fairs, and having passed out once myself (flat on my arse in a palm readers tent, nonetheless) I have a bit of advice on corsetting as well (which might conflict a bit with Mararox's up there...). While you are being laced up, *DON'T SUCK IN TOO MUCH*. I know, it sounds counter intuitive, but if you hold your breath in as the corset is being tightened up, you'll never be able to breathe properly once it's laced.

    So yeah... that's been my experience. Too tight a corset + heat = blackout. Not good.

    Anyhoo, hope you make it back for another go!

  13. @ Penny -- I feel you on your fear of bad ren costumes...I developed mine due to growing up working at the NorCal Ren Faire, at which, prior to the faire opening, there were mandatory classes on the weekends (they were actually really fun) to learn about everything from costuming to the games of the time to the language to the time period in general, and a required costume assessment and approval before you could work there (and this went for all participants...not just fancy guild people...if you were working in costume, you had to speak and dress correctly).
    So many other faires I have been to, especially the smaller ones, tend to be soooo lax on their regulations, often to the point that I wonder why they are still sticking with the tag 'Renaissance' and if they mightn't just be better off calling it a fantasy faire.

    I do try not to be too much of a snob, especially when attending with people who are not born and raised faire brats, but it is often hard to get through some faires without the occasional huff of 'are you KIDDING me?!"...like at the Pittsburgh ren faire, where they chose to use LotR music for the joust, because customers would respond to the pop-culture familiarity...ugh!

    But no...this one doesn't look too bad.

  14. if you missed ALL the shows, you should definitely do back!

  15. @ i-can't-talk-now - That was my brother Ben in the armor. Sorry, didn't realize I hadn't said who was who! I just went back and added names.

    @ anony - not to worry: we've been to this ren fest a few times before, and have seen almost all of the shows. I especially love Johnny Phoenix & the Washing Women.

  16. The mantling (the half-spreading of wings) is for both balance and cooling.

    WV: murres (The cheese factory was overrun by a plague of murres.)

  17. I heart Ren Faires. If you're ever up in Ohio (and why would you be, Florida is better in most ways, at least climate-ly speaking), we have a FANTASTIC one. www.renfest.com :)

    (I never do this, but WV: afavat... "'ello Mate, might I have afavat pint you're drinkin'?" Teehee!)

  18. I live near Bristol Renaissance Faire, but haven't been able to go in years. (I had to work every weekend!) But, I may have to search my closet for my corset & skirt and head up there this summer! I wonder how it's changed.... Loved your pictures and I would love to see more of them, if you're willing to share!

  19. regarding the "tiny hawks" - those are peregrine falcons, and i'd hazard a guess they're using the breeze to cool off. bigger birds tend to do that when it's particularly warm. :)

  20. Ahhh! Ren Faire! I used to go to the one in Colorado Springs almost every summer since I was a kid! I don't dress up or anything but, I love the atmosphere and the people...unfortunately, I haven't found one quite up the same caliber here in So Cal. And a lot of the performers that were around when I was younger have either retired or passed away (oh, Puke and Snot! How I miss thee!)

    Jen-I tried on a corset once a few years back and I actually DID faint...super embarrassing and you bet your butt I didn't buy that torture device! lol...although, right before total black out I couldn't help but think I looked pretty darn sexy!

  21. You probably saw all the ones in costume really, as a regular rennie myself the ones who wear costumes are the ones who show up when its supposed to rain... otherwise at least up here you just get crowds of normal tourists.

  22. In order to establish that Texas is NOT TRYING TO KILL YOU, you must come back one year while the Sherwood Forest Faire is open. Less than an hour from Austin, this is only the second year of the faire and it's already garnered lots of praise. Most patrons don period garb and for those who aren't historically accurate (me being one!), well, at least they're trying, and it's all in good fun. Then, after the faire, you can hunker down in Austin for a day or two and finally ENJOY being in Texas!

  23. I agree with Tori above. I live in Indiana but have driven the roughly 2 hours to go to the Ohio Festival three times in the last 3 years. Well worth it! I looked at corsets last year but money was a little tight (badum-PA) My boyfriend is set on an assassin's creed costume & I know he would wear it ANYWHERE he could get away with it. :D

  24. Can't wait for next years pics!

  25. I am going to our AZ one this coming weekend. I have given up the corset--I'm just too fat and clumsy to be able to lace it up by myself. So I bought a different shirt for my pirate outfit and will be trying a new outfit this year. I'm sure I'll still look like a fat moron!

    Penny: For those of us who go to the Ren Fest and dress up, it's just to have a good time, not to be authentic. You ought to give it a chance and try a Ren Rest--AND I bet you'd have fun finding costumes that ARE authentic.

    WV: Habou. "What is all the habou about? Can't you see he's merely dipped himself in peanut butter and running around naked?"

  26. Oh, and P.S., the falcons in your pics are actually called kestrels, aka sparrowhawks. They are the smallest raptor in the bird world. Very common here in AZ--we have some that visit our yard from time to time. Great rodent control!

    WV: nulne. "Isn't it about time we took down the nulne? Festivus was three months ago."

  27. You might have already gotten this link, but there's an awesome faire up in Atlanta. If you're ever nearby, you should come!! You'd LOVE it! (I'm not affiliated with it in any way....me and the hubs just like going!)


  28. My boss DID faint at Ren Fest wearing a corset last year. Probably not the first and not the last.

  29. Dang! My parents house is only 40 min. from there, but I was not planning on going down this spring... how much sick time can I take by claiming Sick of Working in Illinois?

  30. Jen, if you're talking about the thing that goes over your shirt, it's actually called a bodice. If it's under a shirt, then it's a corset. I'm a ren faire geek, and have an entire selection of garb (the costumes to all of you mundanes), and and am in love with anything medievel. That lamb wow guy was funny. My hometown has a renaissance faire every June, and it's gotten really hot in 15lbs of fabric, and being laced in a bodice. The best advice is to drink plenty of water, and bring a fan to cool yourself off. Even if you're just wearing regular clothes, it gets really crazy.

  31. lamb wow... hahahaha. The fair is coming here in April... we are SO going.

  32. Sorry you fainted! It was pretty hot last weekend... Darn, that means we'll just miss you since we're headed to the fair for the Irish theme weekend. We decidedly need more geek friends here, since no one wants to join us. I grew up going to the Medieval Fair that used to be in Sarasota on the Ringling Museum grounds - a really incredible setting.
    More importantly though - where did you get large quantities of good Chinese food in St Pete?? We've been on a quest for it since moving here last fall... no luck yet.
    Btw - the next time you're here, have your brother take you to St Pete Shuffle on Friday night - vintage 1920's St Pete shuffleboarding at it's finest!

  33. fyi. the falcons were flapping thier wings and keeping them out to cool themselves off. birds dont do well in heat and flying actaully cools them down. :)

  34. The little hawks are keep cool by lifting their wings.

    And how did you not steal that seahorse??

  35. Yay, that's my renaissance festival, too- been going every few years since elementary school (and I'm 32)! The food there is so freaking good! I'll be back next year for sure...

    Every time I go, I try to buy a new costume piece. It doesn't matter how many styles I try on or how great the deal, I always manage to leave with buyer's remorse :( Could just be the guilt of buying something for myself...

    If you go back, wave to the Washing Well Wenches for me :)

    wv: anace- Bay Area Ren Fest is anace place to visit

  36. I want to be the living fountain girl.

  37. @ Cara - I said we ate too much Chinese food, but I don't recall saying it was *good* Chinese food. :D The place actually scared the bejeepers out of me with frog legs and whole crustaceans piled on the buffet - but I did get to try a "custard bun" for the first time, so...there's that. ;)

    @ Charlene - Ha! No, we did not. I would've been sure to get a picture if we had.

  38. Oh, I used to go to RenFaires every year, but I haven't been in awhile.

    While it's fun to do bodices and corsets and all the girly frilly things, let me tell you that it's MUCH easier to navigate the grounds and spend the whole day when you're dressed as a man (no big ol' skirt to deal with, for one thing).

    I started going as a pirate, and then a Musketeer, and boy, was it so much more fun.

    One year I wore a false beard and freaked everyone out.

    Good times, good times.

  39. Being from the UK, im always slightly confused by ren faires. They seem more role play than historical faire. We have both in the uk, live action role play ( the fairies, goblins, fantasty based warriors) and we have our historical events ( accurate history periods)
    these faires seem to combine both.Maybe its because the US is young and has to borrow alot of history from other nations as i never see puritans at these faires lol
    Oh and if you felt faint from being laced into a corset, then you were laced too tight! For a newbie, a 1-2" difference is what your looking for in first wear, a 4 " difference after a while and only if tight lacing, any further.

  40. Some pretty decent pics. Thank you for sharing... I've been trying to decide if I was going to go to a Ren Faire this year. Love the atmosphere and the costumes. But not as much fun without someone to enjoy them with... (someone other than my 11 yo son that is)

  41. She reminds me of the weeping angels from Doctor Who: I'm remembering the special features on the 5th season where you get to watch them getting made up. (They were cool...even though no David T.)

  42. Oh! And for everyone-- if you don't know about this site, it lists most of the Ren Faires by state/location.

    Renaissance, Medieval & Pirate Faire Directory

  43. <3 Ren Fest! <3 LambWow guy cracked me up, and I don't think I've ever seen a parasol seller at ours. We also don't have a lot of living statues - but we do get Twig the Fairy!

    Now you've got me all antsy for Fest season, and that's not til mid-August. :(

  44. Those "statues" were amazing!

    Also, completely unrelated but I have to geek share because she makes "bots" out of everything.

  45. Oh my!! That looks like SOO much fine! I just went to my first Renaissance fair in Michigan in September... it was amazing! Looking at your pictures, I can't wait to go back!
    (The fact that I bought a full outfit kinds helps my immense desire to go again, though.)

  46. Hi, I'm Amy (insert sing-songy chorus of voices saying "Hi, Amy!" here) and I'm jealous of anyone can go to a Ren Faire in March.

    My Ren Faire (don't you love how people "claim" the Ren Faires in their areas as their own?) is only open from 8/6 - 9/25 every year. I usually try to go as close as possible to my birthday on 9/17 so I can tell the characters that it's my birthday and get even more attention.

    As for your corset fainting incident, don't feel too bad, Jen. The first time I was ever laced into a corset, not only did I faint, the ribbons ripped out as I fell so I "had" to buy it. The girls in the corset shop fixed the ribbons for me and now, hanging in my closet, is a black leather corset edged with purple lace and tied closed with purple ribbons. Too bad it doesn't fit me anymore. :(

  47. i used to be middlingly into the sca (society for creative anachronisms), mostly for the fencing. i looked at my wardrobe one day and realized i had period accurate clothing for like four different time periods (medieval, revolutionary, and regency, plus modern.) i love having garb geek friends. Once i even got to play the crazy peasant in a renn faire start up. Still, all that being said, the fantasy stuff at renn faires drives me crazy. walking trees aren't period. :).

  48. Would love to see more pictures if you go again! Renn faires are always fun to see. There is a cool one just south of Minneapolis, MN that is pretty huge and lasts about 6 weekends I think. I went a couple years ago and even talked my mom into sewing me a costume for it.

  49. tiny purple elephantMarch 8, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    i really hate to see birds in cages or tied at their feet...its so sad.

  50. My girl scout troop has corsets<3
    ( and now you're asking why. why is it that EVERYONE wants to know what a girl scout troop is doing with corsets?!?!?!!! )
    I was once quoted in a rather public manner (meaning it can still be found in fb quotes) Saying "it's really difficult to hop a fence wearing a corset!"
    which lead to all sorts of other questions.. such as why I was hopping a fence in a corset.
    It was to watch the hot soccer boys if you must know...

    I really want my own corset. Unfortunately there is no where cool like a ren fair around here to buy one... so you have to get them from sketchy stores at the mall (expensive!!!)
    or ebay (not very reliable when it comes to sizing on such things....)

    Anyhow, you should post a picture of your corset!!!
    And don't faint wearing it!!!

  51. I've done the fainting thing myself. It sounds like they tied the corset too tight. When that happens you can't breathe and all kinds of things can go wrong.

    As for the falcons, they are keeping their balance by keeping the wings outstretched. They would have had them folded but since they're on a flat surface instead of something they can wrap their talons around there's no way for them to really grip, the poor dears.

  52. @katphoti The problem is, that in Northern Europe where I'm at, SCA and Renaissance Fairs are an alien thing. (Doesn't mean I don't want to visit ren fairs, on the contrary, I sort of even want to, especially if my arts and crafts would sell there! Each age-appropriately clad visitor would mean one less eye-sore for me and many others... *grin*)

    We have Medieval fairs with jousting at our old castles in summers, and people really do dress like their ancestors would have centuries ago. I even have friends who practise the troubadour arts with lutes and all.

    There is no "creative anachronism" at play there the same way. And we do not speak Olde English here, so the whole language bit is a little silly.

    Those things fall into the world of live action roleplayers and RPG conventions, and fantasy fairs and movie fan meetings.

    I've always been a little baffled by SCA stuff, as well as Ren Fairs, as I'm from a part of the world where we go for realism, and arts and crafts are in some places still practised as they were by the artesan's medieval ancestors. Some crafty ladies did their artesan master's work by recreating, in the original methods from scratch, the dresses and outfits of iron age women, and the Kalevala Koru jewellery replicated the jewellery from the same tombs, so the outfit would be whole.

    I live a short-ish ferry-ride from a medieval capital city, and an even shorter ferry ride from an UNESCO world heritage site that is a massive sea fortress structure, both still surrounded by walls.

    And the foundation stones for my grandparents' summer villa were pilfered from castle ruins, I'm told. Despite the monastic castle being gone, you can find the same name that is found in maps from older days where the castle was also adorns the manor house today.

    The old city a ferry ride away is Tallinn, the old Hansa town of Reval, and it still reeks history, as well as every old store and stall you see is offering handmade goods that are made just as they were made 900 years ago... Benefit of living in the old world. :)

    WV: "That child really doesn't seem to care about growing up, tagsclatting through town as if only twelve. What will his mother say?"

  53. Somehow this Ren Fair sounds all kinds of mor awesome than anything like that I can find in Germany

    (and one would think we´d be good at it ..having all those Castles and the like standing around)

    well maybe I just leave in the wrong part of Germany

    On corsets: I currently only have one. But an awsome looking one *~*
    I plan to get more.
    Though I never got the nearly fainting feeling...
    <.< >.>
    apart from that one time at the disco...2 songs and I was out for the rest of the evening.

  54. If Zilch The Torysteller or Don Juan and Miguel are there, you MUST see their shows.

    Zilch tells stories in spoonerisms (ex. Rindercella And Her Stoo Tugly Epsisters), Jomeo and Ruliet among others. He mixes a lot of pop culture in while he is talking between stories also.

    Don Juan and Miguel are two sword fighters who do a lot of slicing and dicing of things while keeping up witty banter back and forth.

    Both acts are well worth watching.

  55. Ahhhhh, the wee falcons! Love them!

    And the fountain statue was cool--that is some dedication right there.

  56. Wow, the Renn Faire by me (Maryland) never has cool stuff like the living fountain/statues/moss man! That living fountain idea sounds amazing!

  57. BARF is my hometown faire but I haven't gone this year yet. I missed the Men in Kilts day for opening weekend! Bah. Anyway. About half the time I ditch the full skirts for breeches and the pirate coat. Check out Damsel in this Dress for some lovely, very comfortable bodices. And please post pics of you!

  58. i seriously LOVE this post!! we are going to Ren Fest for the very 1st time this year!! It sounds like you had a blast!! we're going this weekend for "Shamrocks & Shenanigans" & after seeing your post, i seriously can not wait to go!!! thanks for sharing!!

  59. Bonner Springs KS, has a pretty good Renn Faire that runs from labor day weekend to Columbus day weekend. We usually went the first weekend in October because it was for my Mom's bday. Her BFF always went in costume. She worked there back in the day and then her son worked there when we were teens and then when he moved to Dallas he joined that one. We're hoping to to go the one in Maryland this year. I luf Renn Faires!

  60. LOVE the pics!!! I <3 Renn Faires! If you are interested -- http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=255296&id=745226320 I opened it up so that you don't have to be my friend to see it. That's the Bristol Renn faire that we've gone to 2 years now. We dressed up both years, but this was my boys' first time wearing kilts. (Last year they were pirates)

    And this is not on Renn fair subject, but was awesome song about how he broke up with his girlfriend for not liking Firefly, lol.


    wv: douter: I doubter the story is *actually* true, but hilarious anyhow!

  61. Jen, I'm surprised that you don't have a Ren Faire costume yourself! I'd think you and hubby would be totally into that. Unless you're saving up for a Steampunk costume, which of course, you can wear to the faire too. It's a crafty opportunity! Would love to see pics you guys all dressed up in yer garb! :)

  62. Hey, Jen, I know this post is about RenFaire, but there was a "Chronicle" show on Boston TV last night spotlighting a fantastic local steampunk guy. I even made a note of his website, so you can drool over his creations... it's http://www.steampuffin.com/Home/Steampunk-Form-Function.aspx
    And they just opened a new "walk-thru adventure" place called Nemo's over at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA (near the football stadium). Gorgeous.

    Wish my footsies and kneesies would still allow me to traipse through such wonderful things as RenFaires... there's one here in the fall that my son says is fantastic - King Richard's Faire.

    Thanks for showing me what I'm missing! I think. Wahhhh!

    Merry from Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

  63. Huzzah to this post! I live near the Bristol Renaissance Faire, and it's always one of the highlights of my summer. I've gone down that slippery costume slope and have been going as an elven courtesan of late. :) I know some of these performers travel the Faire circuits around the country - must keep an eye out for the Lamb Wow guy come July...

  64. Oops. I just realized I put in a link and then didn't use the proper formatting. Sorry. You can look up our local steampunker at SteamPuffin.com!

    (The guy has even steampunked out an entire house! And it's for sale...)

    Merry at Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

  65. I love the Tampa Ren Fest crafts! The shows are pretty awesome too. =)Tried to bring my son last year and we got rained out 5 minutes after we got there. Should have known better than showing up after three pm as long as I've lived here. lol Wish I could take him this year! *sad face*

  66. Wish I could enjoy Renn Faires more.. I got my first at one when I was 15, from a flamboyant sideshow host name Winnie because I refused to kiss his hand. My friends were no help, just stood there and laughed.
    My poor 15 year old brain exploded and I nearly cried.

  67. Concerning corseting from a living historian (i.e. I do reenactments from the Renaissance era, Baroque era, and right about the 1900 mark)...be sure what type of corset you're getting yourself into.

    Because of my shape (unfortunately curvy with a super short torso), I was unable to "buy off the rack" for either the stays I wear for the 1700s work (which are really quite a bit more comfortable) to the full Victorian corset (which makes me between 4 and 5 inches smaller about the waist and pushes everything else around). Because I spend so much time in mine (and to be healthier overall), I ended up making them myself - but the key is to be sure to find the right shape and size. You shouldn't be pushing your bones around at all.

    ANYWAY, the point was to be careful - you should still be able to breathe while corseted. Keep in mind that it wasn't really until pretty late (right around the Victorian era mark) that corseting was for shape exaggeration -- before then (in Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Baroque eras, for instance) it was for torso/back support, not for becoming Scarlett O'Hara.

  68. @Penny
    The SCA groups here in the US can vary widely, but tend to operate on one main point: a love of history. And sometimes there is a cross-pollination of US history reenactors.

    Some people do draw upon their European roots for their names, costuming and personas. Others focus on a small historical period they fancy or find a tie to locally. (Maybe a University library has a collection of old-world manuscripts or colonial papers.)

    Groups here research and recreate recipes, music, court and country dances, embroidery techniques, chainmail, fighting styles (fencing, daggers, swords), etc.

    So the anachronism comes more from looking at many of the same original traditions, just enjoying them a continent away.

    And there are some New World adaptations to the fun--kingdom names that generically refer to later US history or events that make use of very American geography to recreate European pastimes--competitions/wars and river rafting parties and such. : )

  69. Oh, you were in my neck of the woods and I missed it? Drats!

    PS: I am friends with the pink maypole dancer, so I was uber excited!

  70. Jen, this is totally unrelated to this post, but I had to share. I know you are a big fan of the movie Labyrinth, so look what ThinkGeek is now selling!

    I do love Renaissance Faires, but I've never made it to the FL one. Someday.....

  71. Totally OT here, but I saw this link on another blog and you were the first person I thought of!


  72. Love all the living statues! And the pic of the hubs and big brother is sooo awesome!

    wv: wooff-overheard by the 'ladies' you snapped who were scaring the men away :)

  73. That's not you with creepy green guy, is it?

    Also, teen dream store Claire's actually has a vaguely steampunky line right now... on a teenage level, but since you're always doing something interesting with jewelry findings and whatnot, you might see something useful there. I thought of you when I saw it.

  74. I used to work at the Ren Faire in Devore, CA years ago. There was almost always a celebrity to run into, and always fun shows to watch. I had the privilege of being involved in a marionette show back then. I, sadly, have not been back since I got married and have heard that it went downhill within a few years of when I left. I'm sure it wasn't my fault. :)

    I love the living fountain! She was here in San Diego at the zoo a couple years back during their special summer program. She's absolutely amazing. I stood there staring at her for several minutes before the show started and gasped out loud when she started moving and I realized it was a person, not a statue standing there.

  75. I have never been to a Ren Faire. Please don't laugh! I know there's some in a reasonable driving distance, I just have never gone. A friend of mine in WI goes to two or three a year.

    Glad you had fun Jen. Your pictures were great!

  76. Love the lambwow guy! Too funny!

    I'm awfully jealous of you getting to go to so many fun things! I'm counting down the days till I'm back in the States for Faires and Cons. I'm hoping to hit LeakyCon next year!! *fingers crossed*

  77. You are SO right about the guys love of throwing dangerous things. We have a great Ren Fest in Maryland every fall and the first time we took our boys (probably 10 & 12 at the time) they loved it! The axe throwing, dunking the wench, eating turkey legs, huzzuh! It was the only "fair" type thing they ever went to willingly (you just don't "do" arts & craft fairs when you have boys). We continued to go almost every fall and they went from bringing friends along to bringing girlfriends along to going with just their girlfriends and leaving us behind. Now they also enjoy the pub drinking and singing and can more appreciate the shows, but the best is still the throwing of dangerous objects!

  78. I second seeing Zilch the Torysteller, if you can. We've seen him many years in a row now, although at our RenFaire he always seems to just tell the Tad Sale of Jomeo and Ruliet.

    Welcome to the "we bought a corset at the RenFaire" club! ;) (I don't know anyone else in it personally, but I know they're out there! My friends just think I'm weird...)

  79. We just got back from vacation and I'm catching up on my blogs. So it may be a little late but consider this your official invitation to join us this year for the Maryland Renfest, in the fall. We've got a spare bedroom for you and John!! ;-) We go every year and love it. Thanks for sharing your pictures.


  80. FAB! I should so go to this. It's been ages since I've gone.

  81. Oh wow! I went to that same Ren. fair about 2-3 years ago and it looks like they've made it so much more awesome!! Then again, it was "Florida freezing" out (60 degrees) so literally no one was there the day I went. Is the potion maker still there? He has this little cart with tons of tiny vials of perfume that are just divine.

  82. Looks like you had a blast, Jen! I spent a good part of my life working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (southern California); those remain some of the best times of my life. Even though I remember more than a few weekends where the temperatures got over 100 degrees...in the shade. We were insane, but it's a fun insanity. :)

    My advice on costuming, for what it's worth---don't be pushed (or laced) into a bodice that doesn't fit (if you can't breathe, it doesn't :-P) It should be supporting, not suffocating. ;-)

    Drink plenty of water and if you're going to do the full-on costume thing, wear cotton. If you wear the standard peasant hat (a muffin cap) you can throw ice in them--they make nifty air conditioners. ;-)

    I love the Lamb Wow guy. :)

  83. How awesome! My sister and I are going to be doing several Renaissance fairs this year - we're working on costumes and everything, and since we're both amateur actresses we'll definitely be in character. Our goal is to hit every Ren fest in the state of Missouri (although I may end up going to graduate school, in which case we'll have to miss Kansas City...boo!). So if anyone on here is planning on attending one in Missouri, and you see a teenage girl and a young woman in matching outfits of a green bodice and brown skirt (well, and a chemise, of course), say hi!

  84. I know they're birds of prey...but they look adorable.

    Oh, and did anybody else notice that the green guy has a hedge fund? :p

  85. Jen, I am so jealous that you got to see the living fountain! They're part of a theatre group called The Living Garden, www.thelivinggarden.com

    I first saw their work a few years ago at the local botanical garden!

  86. I actually work at that show.
    I'm part of the group with the first "colorful character" you show (the Landsknechts.)
    Figures, me being a fan of yours that the one day I'm NOT out there, you are!
    The living fountain is a friend of mine (she was a fairy at another show and equally gorgeous OUT of garb) and the "Lamb wow" guy is another friend.
    Yes, he's that funny in regular conversation too.
    I'm so glad that you had a good time!


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