I’ve been a long-time fan of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, from back in the day when they held it in the woods near Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. I think the first time I went I was perhaps 10, and I tried to participate in the Human Chess game, but I wasn’t quite strong enough to hold the pole with my chess piece on top for too terribly long in the hot sun, and I almost conked someone on the head with it when I lost my grip and it started to fall over. I was quickly captured and removed from the board anyway, so it didn’t matter, but I was a very frustrated 10 year old.
I try to make it at least once a year now, if not more. I get my Halloween outfits at the RenFest (new one debuting this fall, complete with red velvet tights with codpiece and a white shirt with puffy sleeves … I know, for some of you TMI). Anyway, the current RenFest is held near Annapolis in a permanent facility complete with jousting arena, multiple stages, and a series of shops and food vending stalls. It’s a great place to bring the kids for a day, and to indulge your inner childlike (and not-so-childlike) fantasies as an adult. Where else can you go and play dress-up as a naughty knight or bawdy tavern wench (as appropriate to your persuasions), talk like Shakespeare (or a pirate), and nobody will bat an eye at you (or maybe they’ll even compliment you for it!)? And you get to watch craftspeople do ironwork, leather, weaving and glass blowing. Here are a trio of folks plying their theatrical trade at the RenFest: