Wednesday, October 13, 2010

M is For... Marvelous Medieval Merriment and Marketplace!

A month ago, I'd never been to a single Renaissance Faire in my life - though I've been wanting to go for a long time.  In the past three weeks, I've been to two - the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival with my family, and the Maryland Renaissance Festival with Michael this past Saturday.

Both were fun, though the Maryland Festival was at least four times larger, and much more crowded (we were told many times throughout the day that it was the most crowded day in the festival's history).   It was so big and so crowded, in fact, that we only saw a couple performances... it was very difficult to get seats, unless you came early and camped out... and that seemed a waste of the day. So of the two, I have to say I enjoyed the performers at the Pittsburgh Festival much more (because I got to SEE them) - especially The Washing Well Wenches.   That said, Maryland had the better food (not great - frankly, Renn Faire food is pretty much just bad amusement park food with some turkey legs thrown in for fun) - mainly because it had better beer and mead.

The Market offerings at each were marvelous to behold - amazing period outfits, crafts of all sorts.  It's simply incredible how much creativity there is out there.   I grabbed business cards where I could for later perusing  - and fair warning, these people are wonderful crafters but some are badly in need of some website design help.  Push past it and look at their wares:

Moresca Clothing and Costume  - these period pieces are absolutely stunning.  Very well made, beautiful to look at with intricate touches that make each piece a work of art.  If I could, I'd wear this stuff every day of my life (I'd also need to live in a cardboard box to afford it, but truly the craftsmanship that goes into these make the  prices totally fair.  I talked Michael into getting a shirt from them.. maybe over the next few years we can slowly build up a pair of costumes.

Wolfstone Kilt Company - another wonderful clothing shop, specializing in - of course - kilts, but also with a large number of medieval and renaissance women's wear.  Potomac Leather (a wing of the same company) also has a wide variety of accessories and leather apparel.

Tall Toad - Headwear for the Upwardly Noble - Had a great time in this shop... first, I want every bit of headgear they carry.  second, I want to figure out how to make every bit of headgear they carry. At the very least,  I see one of their headband snoods in my not too distant future.

Mythical Designs - leather sculptured into faery masks, hair clips, ornaments and more.  These are fascinating and very lush.  I would love to have one of the greenman masks for my wall. (I'd love to have any of the masks... but I wear glasses, so masks are not for me)

Art of the Wood - laser cut wood pieces - plaques, steins, boxes.

Signs of Spirit - wood carvings, mostly of spiritual symbols. Michael really liked these a lot and we wound up with two - a Unitarian Universalist chalice and a triple moon with a triskele in the center.

Wheat Goddesses - I think I must have spent a good half hour looking over each of these in the shop - incredibly well made corn dollies and figures, each with a story behind them.  To say I want one is a ridiculous understatement.  Wheat braiding is on my list of things I want to learn to do - and now I have motivation to do so.  Meanwhile, I neeeed this kitchen witch.

Captain Thom's Chili Pepper Company - Just what it says... chili peppers, hot sauces, spices... If you're a chili head, this looks like a winner.    These were offered at a herbalist's shop that didn't have a card I could take.  We picked up some gingerbread tea and some culinary lavender from there.

As far as the fair itself went, we stayed until the sun set and it was suddenly very dark - lights out, everything shutting down, and it turned into a walk through the woods to get back to the car.  Somehow that seemed like a magical end to the day's merriment.

(this entry is linked to ABC Wednesday , and Welcome Wednesday)


  1. there is a medieval faire at the end of October in Albany; I plan to go!\
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  2. I'm totally hooked! I can't imagine how people survive the day dressed up at the faires that are held when it's still hot, though! Those things weigh about 80 lbs!

  3. I once went to a Renaissance Festival here in MI and I had fun. Great shot and thanks for sharing!
    ABC Wednesday

  4. That sounds like lots of fun, but out here in the West, you don't see them. I really like ha sign about children being sold as slaves! LOL Have a great week!

  5. Hi there!!! I am your newest follower from the link up!! Lovely blog:) You can find me at

  6. Sounds like you may have just caught the Renn Faire bug. Ive gone to Faires on and off for over 20 years. More often when I was in my late teens/early 20s before I got married and had kids (even though hubby is a Rennie himself)

    Glad you had such fun!