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15 things I learned at the Bristol Renaissance Faire

I thought the depths of geekdom I'd go to as a parent would be the Ninjago Lego level or perhaps the dungeons where mothers debate which color light sabers each Star Wars character wields. I didn't realize I would ever willingly, excitedly go to a renaissance fair. But I did. And I liked it.

Before you get all crazy-thinking that I dressed as a wench and spoke in Middle Age-y terms, know that driving out to the fields of Wisconsin was as far in that direction as I was willing to go. I traded in wedge sandals for flip-flops, brandished suncreen from my leather belt and tucked snacks inside my corset. I swear that's the extent. 

Bristol Renaissance Faire invited the boy and I and a few friends to experience opening weekend of it's 25th anniversary season. We headed north, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, where we were assured we'd join the mud beggars (what are those?) and swashbucklers (seen enough Johnny Depp in eyeliner to get that one) and jousters (ooh, giant pokey stick thingies) and steampunk bagpipers (interesting) for a day of rides, shows and old-timey talking. 

Here's what I learned from a day at the Faire:

1. People do really dress up for this thing. Like in full horse-head hats and eight layers of robes in 100-degree weather.

2. Staring at these people is the most fun part of the experience.

3. If you ever happen upon a dead or dying squirrel, chicken or racoon, you can always taxidermy the carcass to carry around on your shoulder at the Faire. You won't be alone PLUS you will be super animal-afterlife-friendly. Perhaps a little stinky and crazy-looking when you step out into the 7-11 on the trip home, but inside the gates, you will be magnificent.

4. If you don't have dead animals, colored snake=eye contacts, reversible corsets, feather caps, real swords or machetes, or a Star Trek outfit, feel free to fashion yourself a Coors Lite costume out of the cardboard boxes from several dozen cases you've so valiantly consumed in the name of "getting in character."

5. Dragon's blood = ketchup.

6. Sassafras = rootbeer + licorice. And it is delicious. And only a dollar.

7. Apparently, gelato, tempura broccoli, pizza rolls and frozen dacquiris were part of the hearty cuisine Englanders in 1574 enjoyed alongside gigantic turkey legs and mushrooms simmering in garlic on a cauldron.

8. That dragon WILL eat you.

9. Should you need to rush to follow Robin Hood and his Merry Men, yell out repeatedly, "MAKE ROOM FOR THE DRAGON!" and people will, in fact make room for your cranked-up motorized scooter bedecked as a dragon.

10. You will need extra cash to pay for the spinny rides and jumpy rides and skill-testing games and face-painting that are all operated by Faire staffers and men who traveled through time to wrap you in a bench with twine and then crank you up into the air and laugh as they let go and you think you may possibly fall off and die on the ground next to an onlooker who really thinks he's the court jester.

11. The fire-whipcracker guy is pretty awesome. Also? Hot. But, hot in that "it's a thousand-degree oven out here and the guys blowing flames from his mouth out toward the audience" kind of way.

12. You won't need to videotape anything. There are plenty of other people in the audience taping the juggler and the comedic acrobats, and it is highly likely you can track down the highlight reel on YouTube or some D&D message board somewhere.

13. Your feet will be covered in dirt and dust. It will not come off for days. Don't sweat it. 

14. Sunburn is likely.

15. You will have a great time. I mean it, GREAT. You will laugh, you will poke fun of people only slightly geekier than you, you will drink buckets of sassafras concoctions, you will cheer during the jousting championships, you will watch your kid love it, and you will have a really great time.



Bristol Renaissance Faire provided the tickets to this event; I provided the review. For your own tickets to the event, open through Labor Day Monday, visit


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Reader Comments (1)

Great Blog!!!!

April 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGourav Rathore

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