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ren faire fans?

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Fri September 26th, 2008, 9:54 am

[quote=""EC2""]So what happens at a Ren Faire? How does it work? I've heard about them but only have a vague idea.
[/quote]


Well at the one I go to it takes place in Elizabethan England. The queen is there and some of her court. There are various activities or acts. There is a joust, glass making, skits and other things. People talk like the time and they also have activities that would take place then.
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Leyland
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Post by Leyland » Fri September 26th, 2008, 1:19 pm

[quote=""EC2""]So what happens at a Ren Faire? How does it work? I've heard about them but only have a vague idea.[/quote]

Most Faires have entertainment, markets and competitions - all as authentic as possible. Here's a link to a better description regarding the experience: http://www.renaissance-faire.com/Fairexp.htm

[quote=""EC2""]For my sins I am doing a living history event in Sherwood Forest all day Sunday. They're having the annual time-trail through the woods. Visitors walk along the forest paths and happen upon various camps, beginning with the stone age and working up through milennia and centuries to WWII. I'm with the Norman bunch and I've got cauldron duty.[/quote]

I haven't heard of a living history event like the one you're participating in, EC. It's sounds like a fun and interesting day and wish I could check it out! I'm partial to walks in the woods and would love to see history along the way.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri September 26th, 2008, 1:34 pm

One of my daughter's friends is a co-owner of six faires in Northern California, so I hear a lot about the business side of things. Essentially, the faire organizers pay to rent the venue, and for all the costs: porta-potties, security, professional acts, advertising, wages for those workers they must hire. Then they need to schedule enough vendors (who pay a fee based on their expectation of selling enough product), entertainment acts, and enough re-enactors to make the faire attractive and fun for the public.

They generally pick some specific time or incident in the renaissance period, such as 'Henry VIII meets Francis I at the field of the Cloth of Gold' (and expensive but showy choice requiring two courts) or the Golden Gate faire, which does one day of the reign of Jane Grey and the second day Mary I, complete with a faked trial. Elizabeth is popular also. Very few venture as far as James I, or as early as Henry VII. The court re-enactors have to be arranged; usually they get paid, or at least the queen/king do. And then a plan for each hour is laid out for them so that they will always be busy and 'on display'.

Then comes the part where the faire organizers sweat bullets. Is the 'gate' (the number of tickets sold) going to turn a profit, or will they lose their house? The weather has a lot to do with it. One faire got snowed on. A big loss. Or if it's 110 degrees out, people are going to hide in their air conditioning. But nice weather plus no competition for people's leisure can result in a whopping profit. As you can see, with this kind of pressure, the faire coordinators don't much care if the general public wants to come wearing Star Trek costumes or fairy wings, as long as they swell the crowd! (They are pretty picky about the actual re-enactor guilds, tho -- guilds whose members don't dress/act the part don't get invited back.)

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Post by Ash » Fri September 26th, 2008, 1:35 pm

Ive been to a few living history events in the UK. One was at Dover Castle which was great fun. There is one in Wales, its not just one event but is considered a living history museum (similar to our Williamsburg or Plimouth Colony, both excellent places to visit for learning about US history).

EC, Ren Faires might be considered living history events. They have vendors from all over the country who sell medieval type clothing, weapons and such, as well as more modern items such as wood carvings, glass products, jewlery. There are also roaming vendors selling food, and many roaming musicians and artists. There are demonstrations of weaving, glass blowing, blacksmithy, and other crafts, as well as a tournament, several parades of royalty, falconry, skits and dancing. (take a look at my link of the Az Faire, it gives a good description).

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Leyland
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Post by Leyland » Fri September 26th, 2008, 3:37 pm

I know some of the performers have challenges when needing to use modern electric acoustic equipment. A dance/comedy group at PA Renn Faire was allowed to use a small and quiet generator for the amps, etc. They had to keep it hidden and look as unplugged as possible.
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Alaric
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Post by Alaric » Fri September 26th, 2008, 3:45 pm

I've never even heard of there being a Ren Faire in Australia, although there probably is. There's plenty of reenactment groups around.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri September 26th, 2008, 4:00 pm

Thanks everyone for all the information on Ren Faires. Ash, I've looked at your link. We have very toned down smaller versions of these in the UK. In fact we've got one at the end of October where my group is providing the 'authentic' detail among the less authentic. It's Nottingham Castle's annual Robin Hood Pageant where there's a similar mingling of the historically accurate and the totally naff!
This is the websit for my lot. I'm in the brown dress on the far left on the home page and can be seen on one of the other pages (Tollerton Village fete) stirring a cauldron and swigging mead from a cow's horn!
http://livinghistory.co.uk/homepages/ConroiDeVey/
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Post by diamondlil » Fri September 26th, 2008, 10:55 pm

[quote=""Alaric""]I've never even heard of there being a Ren Faire in Australia, although there probably is. There's plenty of reenactment groups around.[/quote]


I don't recall having seen one either. Maybe they are just not very well publicised.
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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Fri September 26th, 2008, 11:19 pm

I've done lots of SCA stuff over the decades, but I tend to avoid the Ren Fairs as some of it is a bit too out there for me, and it's getting harder to get around any more as my body falls apart. Still, I do enjoy the technical aspects of things, especially the recreation of household things.

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Julianne Douglas
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Post by Julianne Douglas » Sat September 27th, 2008, 5:29 am

I went to the Northern CA Ren fair several years ago and had a great time, although we had our kids with us and you have to be careful about what you stop and watch/listen to (some of the acts can get rather bawdy). The jousting (on horseback with full armor) was superb and very entertaining to watch. It would have been more fun to have rented costumes, but again, with kids, it was too expensive. We'd hoped to go again this year, but it doesn't look like we'll make it. :(

The Scottish Games held in our town invites guilds to portray the court of Mary Queen of Scots. I don't know how the members survive in the 110 degree weather wearing long sleeved, long skirted woolen dresses! It looks like it would be a fun but very time consuming (and probably costly) hobby.
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