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Renaissance Faires - Shopping in the Renaissance

Updated on April 14, 2012

Ah, renaissance faires....

The adventure...

The comedy...

The drama...

The food...

The shows...

The ... shopping...?

Most people think of renaissance faires as immersive entertainment. Indeed, they are great for that, but the renaissance faire is also a great place to go shopping and find amazing things (some of which you can't find anywhere else...)

Let's take a look at the renaissance faire in its secret identity as marketplace of marvels...

Being Part of the Faire

One of the first kind of things that people think about buying are things that make them more a part of the adventure and drama of the faire itself. Not just food and drink, but also other things that bring you into the story and make you part of the renaissance.

Some things that immerse you in the faire are:

  • a cloak or other costuming (rented or bought).
  • henna.
  • pennants to wave to cheer on the villain or the hero at the joust.
  • face painting.
  • faire memorabilia, such as t-shirts, pins or goblets.
  • a pack basket or medieval style shoulder sack to carry all of your other finds home with you.

You're always an important part of the faire from the moment that you step through the front gate, but some people like to shop to enhance the experience.

What Would You Buy?

What would you most like to buy at a renaissance faire?

See results

Not Found in Stores...

A renaissance faire is not just good for show themed items. It's also good for finding unique items that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else.

Odd things. Beautiful things. Quirky things.

Things not found in stores....

Some things you may find at your faire that you won't find in the local mall or chain store.

  • Swords.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Devil sticks and other juggling equipment.
  • Costumes and accessories for bellydancing.
  • Unusual jewelry and hair ornaments.
  • Chocolate covered bacon.

If you pay attention, you will find things at the faire that will amaze you.

Shopping for Experiences

Not all of your renaissance shopping will be buying interesting or beautiful things to take home with you. Some of your renaissance shopping will be about interesting experiences that you can pay to enjoy at the faire.

Want some examples?

  • Take fighting lessons from a knight errant.
  • Have your palm or tarot cards read by a mystic seer.
  • Have a quality massage in the midst of the renaissance.
  • Compete with your companions at throwing knives or axes.
  • Learn fencing from a master of the blade.
  • Enter the archery contest for fame and prizes.

Not every souvenir is a tangible item. Some of the best mementos are the memories of doing something extraordinary in another time and space.

Hand Made Treasures

In this age of homogenization and mass production, a renaissance faire is a perfect place to shop for unique hand made items. The market is full of beautifully crafted items and unexpected treasures.

Amongst the special things you may find are

  • Clothing.
  • Banners and wall hangings.
  • Soaps and lotions.
  • Hand wrought metal items, such as tent stakes and lamp hangers.
  • Jewelry.
  • Slippers
  • Hand made toys and games.
  • Custom blended scents and perfumes.

And many more interesting and curious things..

If you want something unique and one of a kind to give as a gift or to keep for yourself, go on a treasure hunt in the booths of the renaissance faire marketplace.

Take Home the Faire

A renaissance faire is full of special experiences- performances and encounters and opportunities to learn things. Once you've paid your admission, a majority of these experiences are free for the taking, which is a bargain for the renaissance guest.

Indeed, you may find many of these experiences so delightful that you want to continue them after you've finished your day at the faire.

Fortunately, there are many experiences that offer this option.

Some take-home experiences:

  • Many musicians will sell CDs of their music and other souvenirs at the end of their show. Drive home to the sound of madrigals or bagpipes.
  • Some performers even sell DVDs of their shows.
  • Have you ever wanted to learn to juggle? In addition to watching great jugglers at a faire, you may find a merchant selling juggling toys such as balls or devil sticks. They may offer basic instruction, a chance to try the skills or even sell a class on DVD

Your fun at the faire isn't just limited to the day that you're there...

Custom Made For You

One of the great pleasures of a renaissance faire is the ability to purchase something that is not only hand made, but custom made to your own unique needs and specifications.

In our modern culture, having something custom made is an experience usually reserved for the very rich, but at the renaissance faire, every visitor is a lord or lady, and chances to purchase something custom made are all around you.

Some custom made items include:

  • Bodices and corsets.
  • Other items of clothing.
  • Art work.
  • Henna.
  • Portraits.
  • Face painting
  • Leather work.

And many more things.

If you could have something made specially for you, what would you choose?...

A Pocket Full of Memories

When you visit a renaissance faire, please be sure to experience all of the theatre, shows and chance encounters that you can fit into your day - but don't forget to set some time aside for touring the various merchants and looking at all of the beautiful, original, quirky and unique items for sale.

When you shop well and bring home a pocket full of medieval memories, your renaissance experience continues long after the day of your visit to the faire.

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    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      If you check www.faires.com, you'll find several listings for faor faires in Australia. Hope that helps :)

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Sounds like a fun and absorbing thing to do, I have a friend who would love this, not available in Australia that I know of, but then again maybe I just don't

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Handmade unique items are amongst my favorite things too. As of today, my husband and I are working in between a blacksmith and a woman who makes the most amazing jewelry with dragons, wolves and other critters. Makes my wallet want to spring open just looking...

    • FranWins profile image

      FranWins 5 years ago from Takoma Park, Maryland

      Other: Aside from clothing and food, my favorite thing to purchase are handmade items from the artisans. I've found some wonderful and unique finds that I don't see the likes of anywhere else!

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanks again.

      I think it's good to build relationships w/ merchants whose unique product you value, and the ability to restock, or to buy another hand dyed scarf to give to your sister for Christmas, so she stops swiping yours, is a great one.

      As a renaissance vendor, we like it when people love what we have to offer and want more :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Scotch eggs! I had a season pass to "my" area's RenFaire, so I was there every day for six weekends, and the Scotch Eggs booth was my first stop every morning! Times I can relive any time by looking at the photos I took AND the souvenirs I brought home. (Well, everything but the recipe for Scotch Eggs...)

      And yes, RenFaires ARE the only places to get certain items, but thank you for mentioning some (actually many) vendors have year-round websites to order from if, perchance, you didn't bring enough coins to the Faire. Or if you use up an item you did purchase, like soap or leather-scented candles, before the next year's Faire, and need to replenish.

      Voted up, useful and awesome! ;D

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Yes indeed, the green knight ATM will help you if you're short of cash.

      Some vendors also have websites that you can order from....

    • profile image

      Valos Kes'Ternan 5 years ago

      As Catherine said, not all vendors are set up for plastic, but also be sure to check a faire's website, as many will tell you if there is an ATM on site for those just in case times as well.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      By all means go, and have a great time :) !

      If you think you're going to want to shop, take cash, as not all vendors are set up for checks or plastic.

    • hildred profile image

      hildred 5 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I've always wanted to go to a renaissance faire, and I know I would probably spend a considerable sum buying All the Things. Thanks for the quick and handy guide to give me a taste of what I'm missing out on! :p