A Geek’s First Renaissance Faire

This past weekend I attended the Florida Renaissance Festival in Deerfield, Florida. This was my first Renaissance Faire and after hearing so many great things about it,  I was anxious for my own medieval experience. I went into the faire only knowing that it was medieval / renaissance themed and that’s it.

We arrived a little early, and I’m glad we did because they have an opening ceremony where the key players of the court are introduced. It’s a ten-minute show that includes a canon being fired at the end. The humor is family friendly and a nice way to kick off the day.

We planned on spending two days there since Saturday was mostly the celebration of the “Rain” of King Ferdinand (thank you Florida weather). Despite the weather, the faire went on and we had a very fun day of hopping around in the rain and seeing as many vendors and booths as we could.

We ran into musicians, stilt walkers, faire players, and even a guy carrying pretzels on a giant stick like in the ye’ olden days.

If you didn’t come prepared in a costume, they had a rental area for you to pick out and play the day in. I forgot to stop in and check on their prices though (bad Dakster!).

The first booth we came across that made me stop for a bit was the home of Red’s Majikah Perfumery. It was a cute little booth with bottle charm necklaces that you could get filled with your choice of oil. My mom purchased me a small green bottle with a tree on it filled with peppermint (used to treat migraines). She decided on a purple bottle with lavender (calming). I really enjoyed this booth because they were inexpensive (one for $15 or two for $20) and the cork absorbed the oil inside for a gentle smell coming from the bottle.

As we walked along, we came upon another vendor with some charming ear cuffs and hair ornaments. My hair was too short for this one, but my mom has long, pretty, purple hair and modeled this one for me. I picked up a pair of flower ear cuffs for myself. They had some great steampunk ear cuffs as well, but I felt the flower ones would match my day-to-day life a bit better.

We didn’t get to see any of the shows because we were enthralled by the vendors so much, but what we did see as we were walking past looked really fun.

The Mud Show in particular looked like it was going to be a blast because the first three rows of the stage had been flooded from the rain…and people were already in the audience, sitting in the water, waiting for the show to start. I guess you could say it was swimming room only (dun dum).

The rest of the day was filled with walking and admiring the artistry of the costumes that the players and the attendees were wearing. The children were dressed as everything from princesses to a mix of Tinkerbell and Princess Ana (I guess you really can’t escape Frozen). The talented musicians were a joy to the ears and had a nice covered tent to listen to them play while it rained.

I did take a moment to stop at the Apothecary booth and listen to Sir Elrick talk about herbal first aid kits to a scout. Sir Elrick was a scoutmaster for 25 years and uses his time now to teach herbal medicine. One of the items he talked about having in the first aid kit were yellow onions.

Bug Bites
Cut a small yellow onion just below the top
Score the inside like a checkerboard
Squeeze the juice onto the bug bite
Rub it in for 20 seconds

The oil inside the onion acts as an anesthetic for the bug bite and will reduce the swelling and take care of the itching.

A few other interesting areas of the festival were the fencing and archery areas, Kids Kingdom, and the Tomato Torture.

Tomato Torture was like a medieval dunking booth. For $5 for 5 tomatoes, or $20 for a basket of tomatoes, you could throw them at some poor sap in the torture spot. I don’t feel too bad for him though, because he was having just as much fun throwing insults at people. He had me cracking up with a few of his insults including, “I have an idea. Throw it like I’m the guy that gave you that haircut.”

The Kids Kingdom had bounce houses, arts and crafts, games, and stage shows just for them. The prices were between $5 and $12 depending on if you wanted to go in once or be able to go back all day. I wasn’t able to get any pictures of this area because I left my son at home (and boy was he mad at me for that).

When it came to the fencing and archery areas, the archery area had a lot of adults while the fencing had more kids around it. It was $4.00 to fence your partner for five minutes or $5.00 to fence a master for five minutes.

I regret not seeing at least the jousting match, but I was so concerned about walking around and not missing anything that I ended up doing just that. Missing stuff. The next time I attend, I’ll be planning my time a bit more wisely (and bringing a lot more cash).

Tickets start at $21 per day for adults (12 and up) and $9 for children ages 6-11. If you can stay for the weekend, I highly recommend it. There is no way you can see all the shows, vendors, and otherwise medieval awesomeness in one day.