Monday, February 12, 2018

So you want to go to a medieval faire: What to do, what to expect!

I have often, as I did over the last several posts, described performers, singers, merchants and even the faires themselves.  I think it is now time for something for you, the patrons of a faire.

From the comments left over the past several years, I have noticed many people have never been to a medieval/renaissance faire.  Well, hopefully, in this post I can inform you what to expect, and what to do, and not to do at one of these faires!!!

Before you even get to a faire, CHECK IT OUT!   Many faires have a website, which will post or list the performers and merchants at that particular faire.  By knowing what is available, you can ration your time to know which performances you want to see, and what you might want to buy.

Now take the next step.  Check and see if these performers or merchants have a website themselves. View their website, see if this is an act you might like, or a vendor you might want to check out.  REMEMBER, TIME IF YOU ENEMY.  You may not have much time to visit every single act, or vendor at these faires, being a little prepared will help you manage your time better.

Also, when you are checking online, see what the entrance price of the faire is.  This is important, because many faires might have a different online price, then at the gate.  You, or your family members, may be eligible for a discount, such as age or military service, again some of these may be only available online, or at the gate. If is a faire with multiple weekends, see if you can get a frequent discount rate.

Get a Schedule- When you arrive (or print one online before hand), see if they have a schedule.  This will help you determine where to be and when. This is very important for acts you want to see. If you are at a large faire, hopefully there will also be included with the schedule a map.  Not only do you need to know what time events are happening, but also where. Pay attention to location, you do not want to be on the other side of a faire when an act you want to see starts.

Check the weather- I have gone to faires when the weather has not been perfect, However, knowing if it might rain or not, will help you determine which day you want to go (if held on multiple days), also helps you determine proper attire (see below).

Dress Appropriately- As many of you know I made my own leather armor, and I like to wear it to these faires.  You do not need to dress in period piece (if you want to go ahead, it’s fun), but, you should be aware about what you are wearing.  Weather will determine what you should wear.  If it’s hot, wear less. Possibility of rain, have an umbrella.  Also, remember if it might be unseasonably chilly.  Walking around cold will make what should have been fun, into an unpleasant experience.

You do not need to purchase a costume to own just to wear to a medieval faire.  Check ahead, and see if that faire rents out costumes for the day.  You can show up and they will fit you into nice looking medieval attire.

 Also, think about the proper shoes and boots. If it is an outside faire (most are), you may be walking around uneven ground, rock filled pathways etc.  You also will be walking a lot that day, so make sure to wear comfortable and practical shoes or boots.

Bring MONEY- Going to some of these faires are not cheap. Some items are expensive, this is because of their uniqueness, or being handmade.  Also, remember these places might not take credit cards, or even have an ATM available.  Make sure you have enough money to do what you want to do.

Also, in terms of money, bring some to tip the performers. These performers work hard, so if they have a tip jar, leave something in there for them.  See if they sell any merchandise, some performers such as singers might sell a CD of their music; if you like their music buy it.

Take Pictures- There is nothing wrong with taking a camera, or cell phone, and snapping some pictures.  If you do this, make sure to share it online or with your friends or family.  NOTE: I have not seen this at a medieval/renaissance faire; but, when I was at a circus we were not allowed to take pictures.  It never hurts to ask.

Be Enthusiastic- This is a faire, have fun, get into the spirit of the event.  I will totally admit, I am a shy, introverted person, this might be the reason I enjoy writing a blog;  I can use the excuse of being unengaged because I am a reviewer.  However, do get into the faire.  One of the best times I ever had was at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.  I have purchased a VIP ticket, and had the honor of escorting Queen Elizabeth around.  She was a wonderful actress, and helped me out of my shell.

So basically, I am saying let some of your inhibitions go, and just have tons of fun at the faire.  As you walk around the faire, performers, merchants and faire members will try to engage you in medieval/renaissance speak.  Learn some words so you can participate also.

Leave the Attitude at the Gate- You are late on your car payment, your girl or boyfriend just left you: I feel sorry for you, but leave that at the gate. If you bring that in, other will be affected by it.

Also, be courteous of others. They are here to have fun, or if they are performers they are putting on a show for you, show others the same respect you want them to show you.

Eat and Drink- First, Safety issue: You will be there for the full day. Make sure you drink enough to keep hydrated. Also, eat something so you do now get low blood sugar.

Now that point is over, let’s talk about fun eating and drinking. The faire is a place to get some great food. Some food is specific to a medieval/renaissance faire, like giant turkey legs, enjoy them here.  In terms of food: if you are on a restricted diet, check ahead and see if the vendors can meet your dietary needs. If not, eat ahead, or after the faire.  Most faires will not allow outside food.

You will also find alcohol at many of these faires. Beer, wine and of course Mead.  If you want to drink, drink in moderation.  No one wants to see you kicked out of a faire because you are drunk.  Also, beware about drinking Mead.  It is a sugar based (honey) alcohol, means it will bring up fast, and you will crash coming down.  A little Mead will go a long way.

Talk and Listen- I am not saying to run up to everyone at the faire and introduce yourself, but, if by chance you may find yourself in a conversation.  I have been at some faires, where now, I call talked to, I now call friends.  Also, it may also be a way of networking, many of you know my other passion is professional wrestling. I have gotten to know several wrestlers and promoters that by chance I met at one of these faires.  If they are not busy, talk to some of the performers and merchants; you may find a world of knowledge waiting there to be tapped.

Learn- You are at a faire, and it’s fun and entertaining, you should also remember it is a place of vast information. There will be more than just entertainers there, there will be demonstrations, re-enactors and artists working at their trade and art.  Take to time to listen to them, or ask questions. These people know their craft and most will be more than happy to speak about it.

Involve your child(ren) into this learning experience.  History to a child can be boring; to them is just dates and facts.  A medieval/renaissance faire can put a face on this history, make it personal. Allow your child(ren) to be excited and engage in the faire.
Never work with Animals or Children- Ok, I could not help but reference this W.C. Fields quote.  However, you might want to check to see if dogs, or other pets, are allowed. You should not have an issue with service animals, but it never hurts to check ahead. Also, see if the acts there are child(ren) friendly. Some medieval/renaissance faires have after hours, where children are not allowed.

Share your experience- I have a blog, which is the way I express my experiences at this faire, I also take the time to share my experiences on Facebook etc.  You may not have a blog, or other social media, that is ok. Share your experiences with your friends and neighbors. These faires are successful, or fail, by their reputation, so if you like one tell others.

Finally, just go to a medieval/renaissance faire. As I stated many of my readers have never gone to a faire; It’s about time you experienced one.  You will find it is more than a faire, it is a community of people who love to share, have fun, and want to educate you about a specific period in time.

Thank you for reading my post about going to a medieval/renaissance faire. If you want, please leave a comment, I would love to hear your opinions.

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W.A.Rusho is a professional wrestler, author and historian. You can reach him at his website or via his email.


  1. Sounds like great fun for people into visiging medieval faires. Personally would not have time to go even if I lived in the US. Keep on enjoying, William.

  2. I love the idea of helping kids learn history by visiting a faire. Great plan for parents with kids suffering from summer boredom!

  3. Fantastic post, William, that I will happily share. I'd never thought of tipping the performers (unless they have a jar out that reminds you to tip.) I've been to a few Renaissance Faires and have always enjoyed them. Cheers!

  4. I have never been to a medieval faire. Great tips for newbies, particularly;

    1. Checking the weather
    2. Bring money

    Even when we go out as a family and bring a packed lunch, we always have spending money as children will ask for one thing or another.