From the Editor (October 2004)
Renaissance festivals -- an excuse to wear tights
October is known for many events. Oktoberfest, the German celebration of drunken lechery and sauerkraut, remains popular. Halloween, which has nothing to do with sauerkraut under normal conditions, is in October as well. And let’s not forget that wacky Columbus Day.
One of the big October events is the Renaissance Festival, also known as a "renn faire" by those with too much spare time. If you’ve never been to one of these events, the entire purpose is to recreate a Medieval-era village, complete with merchants, knights, merchants, maidens and merchants. All participants are in full period costume. These events are heavily frequented by those considered to be "nerds" or "goths," as this is one of the few times they can portray their D&D character in public.
Essentially, the entire event is staged so that craftsmen can sell useless items that wouldn’t be purchased elsewhere. Take the leather mug maker, a staple at all renn faires. Here is this guy, usually a bulky, bearded man, fashioning tankards out of leather and rivets. Then there’s always the sword maker who never appears to sell anything but returns year after year. Somewhere on the grounds will be a fat guy selling giant turkey drumsticks.
After a few trips around the fairgrounds, you’ll realize that nothing ever happens. There are usually a few cursory "events," such as the crowning of a "king" and "queen" or a joust between "knights". But other than that, it pretty much consists of people walking around holding giant smoked turkey legs and wondering what the hell they were thinking paying $450 for a broad sword.
So, what have we learned? Mainly, renn faires are over-rated tourist traps frequented by J.R.R. Tolkien fanatics. If you’re into role playing as a medieval person, then by all means slap on those tights and buckle those leather boots. For me, though, I’ll stick with Oktoberfest.
Pass the sauerkraut.
Michael Haislip is the editor of AntiMuse. For 6 years, he published the cult favorite American Assassin magazine, churning out almost 1000 pages of commentary and humor in that span. In his spare time, Michael is a freelance writer and musician. He also wishes it known that he has the longest biography out of all the staff writers.
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