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Renaissances Faires - Visiting the Renaissance in Challenging Weather

Updated on May 4, 2012
In public domain. Currently on display in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore
In public domain. Currently on display in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore | Source

A trip to the renaissance faire, with heros and maidens and feats of derring do. Where stories of adventure and romance are played out on a faire day that is always sunny and beautiful...

But some times it's not.

Some times the weather is questionable.

Some times, it's challenging.

Some times, it's downright foul.

And still the travellers wind their way to the gateways to the past.

You should too - and here's the way to turn a day of challenging weather into a memory of a life time...

Why Would I Want to Visit a Renaissance Faire if the Weather Isn't Good?

Good question, right? Why would you even want to go to an event that's largely outdoors if the weather is less than pristine?

Well, you might not. The faire in good weather is delightful.

Some times, however, you don't have any choice. Some times the only day you can go is the one where the weather map is full of funny colors. Some times, something special is happening only on one day, so you want to go then. Some times, the weather looks fine right up to the point when the gates at faire are opened, and the skies open up right along with them.....

And, surprisingly enough, some times you might actually choose to go on a day with challenging weather...

  • Many times, the weather looks threatening but clears up, with little or no precipitation. On these days, while many folks have stayed home, the faire is your playground.
  • The proportions of cast to visitors is higher on such days, which increases your chance of amazing encounters and special experiences.
  • There are less crowds on days when challenging weather, which means better seats at shows, and shorter lines for food and the bathrooms.
  • There's a feeling of adventure that you get at a faire when the clouds are threatening, the winds are blowing or the air is chill. It gives you the feeling of something about to happen- and of course, at a faire, something always is..
  • If the weather comes in small spurts, you can dive undercover in a shop or covered show and enjoy yourself until the weather passes.
  • And there can be a great feeling of comaraderie between people, whether cast or visitor, who weather a storm together. It can make you feel like one big adventurous family...

The Renaissance in Rain

Rain is one of the primary conditions that keeps people home as opposed to at the faire; but if you lay your preparations right, the rain will roll right off your back...

  • Dress right.Wear or bring some kind of water resistant or proof outer wear. Since some shows are outside, which means the benches may be wet, something longer than hip length is preferable, so that your coat offers dry sitting space. Raincoats are great, but some shops sell water resistant cloaks, which may also be your cup of tea.
  • Remember to have something to keep your head dry, whether it be a hood or umberella.
  • For those of you wearing floor length gowns, robes or, for that matter, trousers, Scotch Guard is your friend. It's a spray on water proofer, often used for furniture, but using it to treat long garments in advance will help prevent water soaking your hems and then wicking its way up your body.
  • Have dry clothes, such as socks, sweatshirt and spare shoes in the car, so you have the option of changing into something dry for the ride home.
  • Use your program. Note which interesting things are happening in the open vs under canvas, and plan to choose your activity based on when the showers are rolling through.
  • Be flexible. Adjust your activities with the passage of those storms.
  • Listen to your body. Slightly squelchy shoes are one thing, but if you're chilled and your teeth begin to chatter, it might be worth packing it in.
  • Most of all, have fun. Don't let a few April showers in July spoil your day at the faire

Are You a Faire Weather Friend?

Have You Been to a Renaissance Faire in Challenging Weather? What Kind?

See results

The Wild Winds Blow...

A gentle breeze can be a charming thing at a faire, but a stiff wind is less charming, and even mild breezes that blow constantly can be disconcerting after awhile.

If you're going on a breezy day, choose clothing that will not be blown off, or around. Hats with straps, hoods wth drawstrings and clothing that is more close fitting, as opposed to flowing are good choices.

A good stiff wind can chafe your skin and give you a wind burn. Consider carrying some lotion to moisturize your skin, rather than having that ersatz "sunburn" caused by wind at the end of the day.

If the breezes are wearing after awhile, take advantage of the chance to dive into vendors shops or shows in tents to enjoy ourself out of the wind.

Have a great day, no matter which way the winds blow....

Some Like It Hot

People think that rain, wind or sleet are the worst weather at faire, and that a sunny day iis wonderful, but sunny days can also be challenging in the renaissance. Sunburns, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are all possible options at an overly hot faire day.

To enjoy the faire when it's hot:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If the weather is warm or sticky, you'll be losing more water than you think through sweating, so be sure you're drinking plenty of water to replace this.
  • Remember, other beverages are great, but many of them (such as coffee, tea or colas) are diarhetics, which make you lose liquids more quickly. Drink plenty of water and, if you drink caffeinated beverages, drink even more water to compensate for those.
  • Bring sunscreen, apply it liberally and reapply regularly. Don't take home a sunburn as a renaissance souveneir.
  • Consider wearing loose but skin covering clothing to offer some protection against the sun's rays.
  • Remember many of the activities are out in the open. Portable shade, whether it's a sun hat with a broad brim or "shade on a stick" (a parasol) can help keep your brains from cooking while you're waiting for the joust to begin.
  • When choosing seating or positioning at an outdoor show, try to arrive early enough so that you can take advantage of any shadier spots there are.
  • Alternate activities in the sun with shadier pursuits. Time shopping in a vendor's booth or eating in a food tent can give you a chance to cool down after a sunny show, giving you more energy for more fun
  • And, once again, hydrate. Water- it does a body good...

The Lion in Winter

And then there's the cold...

We're used to thinking about renaissance faires in the spring and summer, but, as more faires arise and the season continues to expand, faires at the beginning and end of the season can have frost,chilliness, sleet or even (shudder) snow as part of the mix.

Remain calm. These types of weather are also not beyond your talents if you prepare for them, and you can still revel in the chilly reniassance faire.

  • Monitor the weather in advance in times of potential cold, and lay your plans accordingly.
  • Layer clothing, whether everyday clothes or costumes, and add or remove layers as needed.
  • If you're wearing long costumes, consider Scotchguard, as noted in the rain section.
  • Did you know mittens and gloves were worn in the medieval period? Be sure to include them, as well as hats and scarves, in your outfit for the day.
  • Listen to your body. If you find yourself beginning to get chilled, move into a tent to warm up (Shopping and some shows may be set in tents.)
  • A warm drink or something warm to eat can help your body beat the cold.
  • Snuggle with someone you love while you're waiting for the next show.
  • Movement, like a brisk walk down the festival lanes, can also warm you up.
  • Finally, use your common sense. If you're getting chilled and can't warm up again, you should consider whether you want to stay or need to leave the renaissance for now

Times Not to Go

There are some conditions that are just no fun, even at a renaissance faire.

Flood. Tornado. Hurricane. Earthquake. Flash fires. And other such exciting events.

Challenging weather can be fun at a renaissance faire, but even this has its limits.

So we count on you to watch the weather and use your best judgement in the matter.

(And if the air raid sirens are going off or your governor has declared a state disaster area, think about perhaps going some other day....)

In All Kinds of Weather...

In sun and rain and wind and snow

The point is this - that you should go...


To the renaissance faire, that is....

The faire in optimal weather is faire indeed, but the faire in challenging weather can still be amazing good fun, and an adventure in itself.

Don't let the weather tell you what to do. Chose to see the faire on your terms, in all kinds of weather.

Just prepare wisely, and you never know what kind of adventures you may have...


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      you didn't add that the people working at the faire have more time to play in bad weather. i love to have patrons visit, sit down and talk when i am not busy and my booth is a comfy, cozy place in all weather.

    • Catherine Kane profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Kane 

      6 years ago

      I'm glad you had a great time, and hope that we can welcome you back into the renaissance in the future.

    • CynthiAnn profile image


      6 years ago from Indiana

      Very fun to read and informative! I've only been to a Renaissance Faire once and the weather was nice. I would have had a blast in rain or shine though! :-) I love that feeling of being sort of "transported" into another time.

      My friend and I were in a high school choir group called Madrigals and we went to the faire to get costumes. I still have mine (that was about 10 years ago when we went) and I use it for Halloweens or just a Tuesday night. :-P The tips you gave are very useful! When I get a chance to go to another one, I'll know I'm prepared for whatever the weather! :-)

    • Catherine Kane profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Kane 

      6 years ago

      It's funny how it works out that way sometimes. But even in hard weather, a faire can be a magickal place...

    • giazz profile image


      6 years ago from North Reading

      Actually, for the last 4 years at Winslowshire the forecasters only said rain, thunderstorms and the like. I told everyone no, and one year (I think in 2009?)they were forecasting heavy rains/thunderstorms. The only time it rained (and really it was just a mere sprinkle) was at the end of Finale/Pub sing at the very last song (Auld Lang Syne) it was like the G*ds were crying with us. When we all got home in the mundane world that following Monday, we all learned that it had Hailed big quarter hail storms in the following town just 1 or 2 miles away from where we were. I swear that place was magical.


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