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Renaissance Festivals

Updated on October 16, 2010

Renaissance Festivals, also known as Renaissance Fairs or Ren Fairs, are a fantastic way to broaden your knowledge of historical living and to meet new people and make friends with those who share similar interests as you. All Ren Fairs are a hearty mixture of craft fairs, historical reenactments, and performing arts. Many individuals who participate in Ren Fairs will wear clothing and costumes of the specific time period along with talking and acting like the people of that time period. Most Ren Fairs are based on the times and lifestyles typical of the late Elizabethan age.

If you decide to visit a Ren Fair, you will more than likely spend your day walking around and enjoying a more classic lifestyle of old world traditions. There will be craft booths available that sell jewelery, home goods, and other craft-related objects. There will also be food vendors that sell old-style foods and beverages such as ale. There will also be a variety of parades, magicians, jugglers, and musicians there. Workers and visitors of Ren Fairs will be dressed in time period clothing and may even have different roles of nobility. By using the Internet, it is easy to find Renaissance Fairs in your area. If you are highly involved in historical living and have experience with reenacting, working at a Ren Fair is a good idea to not only have some fun but also make some extra money as well.

Children in Renaissance Clothing.
Children in Renaissance Clothing. | Source

Costumes for Renaissance Fairs

Clothing during the Elizabethan period always reflected the social status of a particular person. During a Renaissance Fair, it is usually easy to pick out who is dressing as nobility. In earlier times, much like it is today, clothing was a sign of how wealthy a certain person was. Cost of clothing was specific on the color of a particular item. Certain dyes were harder to produce than others. For instance, purple dye had to be extracted by crushing thousands upon thousands of small sea snails. Crimson was obtained by crushing a certain type of beetle. Because of this fact, purple and crimson clothing were very expensive and left to the more wealthy individuals of society. Flax and wool clothing were common in ancient days and are often seen at Ren Fairs. Women wore shoes, an over and under skirt, bonnet, bodice, and shirt. Jewelery was optional, with many wearing puzzle rings. Long hair was typically braided. Men of the time period wore a shirt, shoes, trousers, a jerkin, and hat.

Accessories for Renaissance Fairs

Like today, accessories were popular in the Elizabethan age. These accessories would include shoes, belts, and even jewelery. Many shoes that one would wear were made of canvas. Feathers and bells are perfect for those who are juggling or playing instruments at the Ren Fair. Many women who are acting as dancers at the Fair may adorn themselves with jewelery such as head dresses, puzzle rings, and dangling earrings. Stockings should always be worn by women attending a Ren Fair who wish to dress in the time period. Straw fans are also popular, especially when a certain Ren Fair takes place in the hot summer months. Men would also typically wear knives on them, so many men who attend Ren Fairs have a knife belt and knife at their side.

Language and Grammar for Renaissance Fairs

Language and grammar are important aspects to any Ren Fair. Almost all of the participants and workers will talk in an old Elizabethan accent. This accent is not the proper English that we often assume of older times and living. Instead, this language is more like the language of the back wood communities native to the East Coast of the United States. Of course, this language has evolved over time. Old words have been altered and changed from their original language. If you are new to Ren Fairs, you may benefit from visiting them before feeling fully comfortable participating in them. With time, the language will be like second nature to you. Visiting a Ren Fair with a friend may help you feel more comfortable.

Food and Cooking for Renaissance Fairs

Food and cooking is a big part of any Ren Fair. Foods and drinks available will be of the time period. Ale was a popular drink in the Elizabethan ages and is often found all throughout mainstream Renaissance Fairs. Ale is basically a watered down and weak version of beer. Fish and grains are also rather popular, along with vegetables and fruits. Some vendors may sell fruits and vegetables to patrons along with cooking them to sell. Pricing at food and drink vendors varies from vendor-to-vendor and fair-to-fair. There are many foods and drinks available for anyone's taste buds. If you are handy at cooking old-style recipes, selling them at a Ren Fair may be a good idea and can be quite fun and entertaining as well.

Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival?

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Now that we've covered the basics, it's time to share stories of Renaissance Festivals! Leave a comment below recounting your story, your costume, or your thoughts! Or you could always just leave a friendly hello and comment on the hub itself!

                          Any other information of Renaissance Festivals can be found at these sites:

        Elizabethan Age | Best Renaissance Fairs | Renaissance Wedding Gowns | Renaissance Costumes


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    • authorfriendly profile image

      authorfriendly 7 years ago from Charleston, SC

      These festivals can be quite enjoyable... especially the jousting, and the minstrals