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Renaissance Festival 2017

One day of Spring Break was devoted to one of my favorite things: Renaissance festival. Huzzah! Continue reading


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Bay Area Ren Fest 2015

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Renaissance festivals. Many years ago a friend introduced them to me, and I was hooked. Since then I’ve been to Renaissance festivals in three different states! 

Today, I took a full day off to go to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival (lovingly known as B.A.R.F.). I’ve gone every year since I lived in Tampa, starting with the 2011 BARF. It doesn’t get old.

Here‘s a post about my experiences last year.

I’ve established a tradition. The first order of business is to get breakfast: a Scotch egg. 




After that, I mostly just wander. There’s so much to see. The cast are in costumes, of course, but many people who attend the Renaissance festival dress up too. You definitely get an eyeful of wizards, witches, trolls, steam punk, Renaissance Superman, Renaissance Star Wars characters, etc…

I couldn’t decide if my costume was more gypsy or pirate, but the Gypsies adopted me. They even taught me their family cry in case I get lost!

What do you think: gypsy or pirate? Or, perhaps, a pirate gypsy?



Whether pirate or gypsy, I like my costume. I especially like my black bag, which hangs from my belt, and my tankard strap. I made them myself!

I had a wardrobe malfunction with both, because I didn’t set my rivets straight. Fortunately, the vendor at the Shop Troll booth replaced the for me, free of charge! They make beautiful leather skirts, kilts, and other clothing. Check them out!

It’s kind of funny when a guy in a button-up blue shirt and a tie stands out as abnormal in the midst of all of the unique costumes.


Mr. Button-up in the incense shop…


I met up with some friends. We shot archery together, and some of them tried their hands at throwing knives. I think overall we fared better at archery. 

I killed a Tyrannosaurus rex and a capybara!


03072015_Ren faire prey

My Renaissance faire prey! (The targets are shaped like different animals…)

I talked a bit with some of the different workers at the Ren. fest. I made sure to say hello to Pickle Man, the pickle vendor. I always like talking with Green Man. Today I learned that he does his act at the Michigan Renaissance festival too. He said he makes a decent amount of money doing it. Certainly he’s a very witty plant.

Greenman me_crop

Green Man and me – 2011.


I also spent some time talking with the elephant keepers. Apparently they do get flack from protesters. However, they said at BARF, since it is a bit smaller and slower than some Renaissance festivals, they get to talk to people and answer real questions about the elephants. They said that this interaction really helps people to understand more about the animals and their care. I came back time after time just to watch this majestic beast. She is amazing. And at no point did she seem to be distressed. Except, perhaps, if one of the keepers took a bit too long to give her a piece of banana…


The elephant, Essex, getting a drink of water. She seemed to be using the hose like a straw.


I also got to see my favorite Renaissance festival band: the Black Velvet Band! Unfortunately I missed most of their set, because of my wardrobe malfunction. But it’s always good hearing them and talking with them. They are a fun group!

So, it’s been a good day. Since my schedule is so crazy right now, this will likely be the only time I make it to the festival this year. But I’m glad it was such a good day for it. I had a wonderful time.

Until next year… Huzzah!

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Living daringly … Renaissance style.

While my friend, Mary, was paddling her heart out on the second day of the Everglades Challenge, I lived daringly by going to the Renaissance festival. (I did feel a *little* guilty.)

You might not think so, but the Renaissance festival definitely fits into the living daringly mode of life. If you are doing it right, you see through the eyes of a child again. You enter a world where fairies, dragons, mermaids, and trolls are real. You pass by shops with wares that delight the eyes and the senses, often hand crafted. Vendors sell turkey legs, Scotch eggs, fish and chips, and more. There’s beer, cider, and mead! Oh, the mead(Mead + cider = bee sting, cider + lager = snake bite: drink in moderation or ye shall regret it. Trust me on this one.).



But wait! There’s more… Smile

There are also stage shows and other performances. Many of the performers travel around the country to entertain Renaissance festival goers with shows ranging in topic from Shakespeare to laundry. There are contact jugglers (think of The Labyrinth) and acrobats. As the Washing Well Wenches like to say, this is their real job. If traveling from town-to-town in Renaissance garb to entertain a crowd isn’t living daringly, I don’t know what is.


The Washing Well Wenches
Izzy and Pearl

And you can’t forget the musicians. The Black Velvet Band (BVB) has become one of my favorite Renaissance faire musical acts. These Irishmen will lead you through traditional pub songs. Participation is required! While at the faire they tend to keep their songs clean. Go see them at The Pub on a Saturday night, and you’ll get the full BVB experience. Bawdy (to downright dirty) songs and lots of beer. Often they’ll play drinking games in between sets, but they are word games or games that require hand-eye coordination. I tend to do terribly, which means I often am punished with not drinking (drinking is a privilege, you see… Winking smile). I’m fortunate that these guys are local, so whenever I’m missing the Renaissance festival I can stop by one of BVB’s shows for a refresher.

Black Velvet Band

The Black Velvet Band
Neal on fiddle, Danny on drum, and Kevin on guitar
(picture stolen from their Facebook page)

Every year I’m excited and grateful to go to the faire. They are incredibly fun, and there is certainly something for everyone. If you like music, shows, food, beer, fencing, fighting, torture, true love (Well, I haven’t found the last one yet, but you never know!), you should most certainly go. If you live in the Tampa area, you are lucky because the Bay Area Renaissance Festival (lovingly known as BARF) is going on through April 6!

Go to the faire. Take cash and take small bills. Use those bills generously to tip the performers whose shows make you laugh or want to dance. Show some love to the performers who make you feel like a kid again.

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