Dressing up in costume and escaping the drudgery of the everyday is no more present than in the culture found at Renaissance faires. Largely an American phenomenon, these events are held between the months of August and October for more reasons than the fact that it’s cooler outside during the day and past the prime vacationing period. August through October also coincides with the medieval harvesting period, a time when farmers began to store up bounties of food in order to live through the coming winter months. It’s only practical that this period would be a time for celebration.
Events and games are set up in the style of the English Renaissance, which coincided with Elizabeth I’s reign as monarch. Entertainers prepare their acts and build their sets in order to create an anachronistic haven in our modern society. The most eye-catching features of these events are the costumes all the entertainers and several visitors wear. Popular men’s fashions featured doublets, a style of fitted jacket that oftentimes was made of a brocade fabric. This style gave the wearer a sense of elevated class and a romantic disposition. Several entertainers and visitors love this style of clothing and enjoy this time of year so that they may show off what they consider their formal wear.
For ladies, perhaps this time period possesses a certain charm because it aligns itself with the fantastical reign of princesses. America was formed well past the period of medieval and Renaissance fashions, so the faires offer women a chance at becoming princesses in real life. Brocade was a popular style of fabric in dress-making, too, and it results in garments that prove more is always more. Skirts were floor-length and layering of dresses and chemises were a common way to make one look striking. There’s also the ever-popular corset which is almost a requirement at any Renaissance faire today; ask any gentleman what his favorite part about these events are and he’ll oftentimes produce an apt answer.
These events are also a time for children to participate in role play that brings their imagination to life. While the lure of jousting and axe-throwing acts may seem like a boy’s type of activity, there is so much for girls present, too. Renaissance faires cater to all people with assorted craft workshops, shopping, and performances that leave one short on breath. Children love dress-ups and fantasy, so to share this type of experience with one’s own children is an opportunity to be a parent of epic proportion.
All these fashionably conscious individuals come together in a medley of song and dance, battle and performance, and daring and wit that is unmatched by any other amusement in the country. Attending a Renaissance faire is a different kind of adrenaline rush, one that stems from the amalgamation of man and nature at its most mutually beneficial point in time. Picture a Disney World of deeply human fairy tales based on faith and honor, and you may imagine an inkling of the centuries-old history of a time long ago, but hardly forgotten.