Yesterday, I once again braved another hot Wisconsin day to attend the Bristol Renaissance Faire for the very first time. The Faire is located outside Kenosha, Wisconsin, 30 miles south of Milwaukee, and it is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.
As a Theatre major in college, I kind of knew what to expect. But, there were some surprises as well, which made it a fun experience. If you yourself have never attended a renaissance fair, here is a list what you would expect to find there.
1) Actors in costume everywhere. That's what makes the faire so much more unique than your typical festival. All of the actors I encountered were really friendly. They will interact with you, try to make you laugh, show you their skills, and they don't shy away from photo-ops, just like these folks:
Some of the actors even walk around on stilts:
2) Beautiful costumes, like those found in period movies. And there is a wide array of types of costumes worn by the actors. Most of the fair-goers dress up too, which adds a whole other aspect to people watching:
If you show up to the fair and feel out of place with your t-shirt and jeans, you can even rent a costume for the day:
3) Fun statues:
4) Music, of course:
5) Many stages of entertainment, from skits to comedy to swordsmen:
6) Knights on horseback:
And in the jousting ring. This was the main event for me yesterday, since I had only seen jousting a little bit on TV. They first had a skills joust:
Then the knight-to-knight joust:
7) Food - all kinds of it. While the most popular item was the Turkey Leg, there was also shrimp or vegetable tempura, sandwiches, crepes, fried fish, onion strings, and it wouldn't be a Wisconsin festival without these:
8) Acrobats and Animals (there was also a petting zoo and camel rides):
Well, there is a rundown of what you can expect to find at one of the many renaissance faires around the country. Google Renaissance Fairs to find the one nearest you. The Bristol Renaissance Faire has one more weekend of activity over Labor Day weekend. To find out more, visit: http://www.renfair.com/bristol/.