Huzzah for the Renaissance Festival!

I first went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in about 1979. Here’s my sole surviving photo from that adventure:

I (very) vaguely remember enjoying the spectacle, but that’s about it. So it’s kind of surprising that Esteban and I have developed a tradition of attending the RenFest at least once a year.

Esteban goes for the giant turkey drumsticks. And I go for the people-watching.

But we have several touchstones that we look forward to, year after year. One of them is Tuey, a ridiculously coordinated juggler. I especially love his “flaming beanie of death.”

The jousts are another mainstay. I haven’t yet gotten a good shot of a lance connecting with the armor, but I’ve always enjoyed the pomp and circumstance.

The grounds are enormous—and virtually unchanged.

But today I was struck by how much my experience has changed over the years. For one thing, I’ve become more aware of the humorous anachronisms: somehow, the Middle Ages have melded with the Renaissance—and Captain Jack Sparrow.

Today I was also struck by how much more outgoing I’ve become. One of the highlights was making small talk with the Grim Reaper, who confessed that he was having a “bad hood day.” Considering that he is, well, death, he really was a very nice guy.

But most of all, I enjoyed the spirit of merriment that embodies the Minnesota RenFest.

Everyone is there to have a good time. And by the end of the day, that spirit becomes contagious.

Traveling this way? The festival runs through October 2, 2011. Check out this link if you want to know more.


  1. I love going to Ren Faires, and being a part of them. I got into it with my husband who was part of a guild here in Calif. I’ve only been a participant once, but have gone to a few others and just love everything about it.

    • How cool that you and your husband have actually been participants! I’ve thought about doing that once or twice, but I worry that it would spoil the fun a bit. But you have me wondering whether maybe I should give it a try; after all, I already have the bodice! 🙂

  2. A conversation with the Grim Reaper ! You were brave, I hope you had your vacuum cleaner with you to beat him off with if he got too friendly …
    Talk about Dyson with death !
    :-S (sorry, couldn’t resist that one).
    Great photos, looks like a lovely day out.

    • Ha, ha … “Dyson with death!” Very punny. Now that you mention it, I wish I’d asked my husband to snap a photo of me waltzing with Mr. Reaper. Or maybe arm-wrestling him for my soul, or something. The guy wearing the costume was pretty hilarious … I’m sure he would have played along. Oh, well. Next time!

  3. I’d love to go to a Ren Faire, sadly we just don’t seem to have them here in the UK 😦 We do have other cool stuff which has similarities, but still. Maybe one day 🙂

    • It’s a shame you don’t have Ren Faires in the UK — although I suppose you *do* have all of the history and the archaeological sites that inspired RenFests in the first place. Well, if ever you make it to Yankland, I’ll lend you my velvet bodice and buy you a turkey drumstick and some mead. 🙂

    • Wow … that’s quite a compliment! Thank you! If ever you do decide to take the plunge, I recommend starting with a glass of mead and a wee bite. The fake British accents and bad puns are much more tolerable when the belly is full and the head somewhat fuzzy. (Grin.)

    • Would you believe I actually *pet* that snake? After spending my youth surrounded by rattlesnakes in Mexico it’s kind of refreshing to live in the North Country, where most of the beasties are fairly inoffensive (and rarely poisonous). As for the RenFest: If ever you have an opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend it. The people-watching alone is worth the price of admission.

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