Header image courtesy Colorado Renaissance Festival.
I hope you have all appreciated the great lengths my fellow journalist, Kathleen, has made to brave Maryland’s Renaissance Festival and bring you an authentic understanding of this timeless, flower-garlanded, mead-soaked event. I want to offer my own travel journal, a completely true, and only slightly marred by the passage of time, account of my own Renaissance Festival experience.
It was the summer of 2008. I had not yet escaped Connecticut, and I was about to go on the single greatest date of my young life.
I’m not going to tell you his name. Not because I want to protect his anonymity, because he has nothing to be ashamed of (and frankly I don’t think I could find him if I wanted to – hormonal, teenage me was not overly concerned with last names). But because my parents staunchly refused to call my date by his God-given name, and instead christened him Jesus (pronounced in the Spanish manner), because those were the years of boys refusing to cut their hair, which apparently gave my young love the appearance of a certain son of the Lord.
And so we ventured (read: were driven by our respective parents, because middle school) to the boonies of Connecticut, where a Renaissance Festival had blossomed out of the hilly landscape.
We were brought to this hallowed ground by a mutual friend who was working at the event, and was therefore exceptionally attired. I was out-of-place in my shorts, and desperately wished for petticoats or a flail. But I had new love on my side, and that could overcome any deficits in my attire.
I giggled every time someone referred to me as milady and was amazed by the men riding by on horseback. Naturally, I decided to follow one of these men on horseback, dragging Jesus behind me, and arrived at the promised land. A jousting match straight out of Camelot. I cheered. I booed. I clapped. My date graciously offered to lift me on his shoulders for a better view (and subsequently failed, because again, middle school). But the sentiment was nice; maybe the ancient chivalry was wearing off on him.
Somehow we ended up barefoot and wandering through the festival grounds, an appropriate 10 steps behind the rest of our group, to give us intimate privacy among the throngs of drunken adults. It was a lovely moment, we bonded, we talked, we took in the sights and smells of the Middle Ages. Highlight of that conversation:
Me (stopping to put to put my shoes back on): Don’t you want to put your shoes on? We’re about to walk over some gravel.
Jesus: No. I’m good. I’m a man, so I can handle a little pain.
Does it get any more charming than that? The answer you’re looking for is, “Hell no.”
Our wandering soon brought us to the great, and definitely authentic, Middle Ages’ hypnotist. Unfortunately, Jesus and I soon learned that we were unable to be hypnotized. So, while our friends were preparing to be mentally manipulating into thinking they were searching for Holy Grail, we found the also completely authentic, Middle Ages’ marshmallow gun.
What is a marshmallow gun, you ask? Exactly what you think. A small weapon that dispels delicious, fluffy white candies at unsuspecting people passing by, just trying to enjoy their mead and revelry in peace. Jesus and I shared many soulful, emotional looks under a hail storm of scrumptious marshmallows.
And that is where the day ends. Our friends were released from their hypnotic trances, hopefully as “normal” as they woke up that morning. Jesus and I got in our separate cars, sharing one last wistful glance as the sun faded over the rolling hills.
And I never saw him again.
Though we did reminisce about the Renaissance Festival on AIM later that night.