September 2007 Maryland Renaissance Festival

In September we took a Sunday and went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Having never been before, we weren't sure exactly what we were getting ourselves into -- but if the home school organization is offering discounted tickets, it must be child friendly, right? It was, but some of the folks there were more than two standard deviations off the norm -- and I do mean deviation!

Ren Fest is located just outside of Annapolis, Maryland; about an hour and a half drive from the DC metro area.

Here's a shot taken near the entrance. We never did try the steak on a stake...

The first activity we saw upon entering was the glass blower's booth. We had a lovely view of the demonstration. We watched as the glassblower and his helper worked on a custom piece for someone in the audience. Dodge and Sandra wanted a collection of the glass baubles to suspend above the dining room chandelier -- Manly wanted a dragon made of pulled glass. Rory liked it all. Here are the kids on front of the glass blower's booth.

We wandered around the grounds taking in the sights and shows and looking at all the folks in costume. It was Pirate Day, so in addition to Renaissance and Medieval Costumes, there were many pirates. Captain Jack Sparrow was sighted more than once. It is amazing what people think "Renaissance" means in terms of fashion. The were some very skimpy outfits. Than again, it was quite warm (mid-80's) and I think those in true Period garb were uncomfortable. The most curious takes on the costume theme were the Goths. Black fishnets, piercings, black leather, black boots ... with just a soupçon of Period garb. Of course Dodge and I were dressed completely appropriately for the occasion.

There were many live shows and street performers. We enjoyed a number of comedies, including a version of Robin Hood acted by children from the audience. It was very participatory, with the audience shouting "Huzzah!" or "Boo!" as necessary. At another stop, Dodge and Sandra were taken with the bowed psaltery. It looked as pretty as it sounded.

The most unique experience to be had here at Ren Fest was to ride an elephant. Really! The line was long and the ride was short -- though our ride was a bit longer than usual due nature's intervention. Coincidentally, the elephants were located right by the Privies.

Here we are atop the elephant. The handler was breaking open an orange to give to the girls (pachyderms) as a treat.

Of course the big event at the Ren Fest was the Tourney. Large men on large horses. In addition to the familiar jousting, they competed to catch a ring upon their swords from horseback, and in beating each other about the head and shoulders with either metal longswords or wooden short swords. It was very interesting, but very, very hot. We left early in search of refreshment.

Having found refreshment, we wandered around again and played some of the many games. There were mazes, marble mazes, Jacob's ladder, darts, axe throwing (fun to watch!), knife throwing, and cross-bow firing. Manly tried a number of these.

Shortly after the cross-bow games, we headed for home. It was a good day, if a bit hot and dusty.

-- Sandra