Saturday, June 2, 2012

Random Silliness: My first Renaissance fair

My daughter, after scrimping and saving for a year, recently treated her best friend and me to a day at the Scarborough Renaissance fair near Waxahachie, TX.   Every weekend from April through the end of May, a pastoral stretch of woods and grasslands in this agrarian/manufacturing community an hour south of Dallas is transformed into a mecca for medieval aficionados, artisans, bagpipers and assorted minstrels, along with food, frivolity, and the biggest collection of screwballs I've seen since my one and only Star Trek convention twenty years ago.

Forget historical accuracy--you'll see representations of everything from the 13th to the 18th century as well as fantasy characters, along with some really weird stuff.

Costumes ranged from a very authentic Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn (complete with her original head) to budget-conscious home-made creations that may or may not resemble 16th-century garb.

Black T-shirts are the perfect accessory for kilts.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of burly, hairy-chested biker types I saw wearing kilts.  Apparently it's the manly thing to do at such events.  Thankfully there were no strong breezes that day.

This guy worked at a food vendor called "The King's Nuts."
After speaking with him for a few minutes I was convinced the name did not refer to the food.

Nearly all of the shopkeepers spoke with faux British accents.  You ain't heard Cockney 'til it's spoken with a Texas twang.

That's why I found this elven munitions dealer so refreshing--he used a fake Russian accent instead.

I never believed in gnomes until I saw this character.  Most intriguing is the hat on top of his hat--kinda like the Harry Potter Sorting Hat playing cowboy.  Well, heck, it's Texas, ain't it?

I have no clue what Dr. Frankenstein has to do with medieval/renaissance culture--nor what he's doing with that ray gun.  But that wasn't half as weird as this:

The front view was even scarier, which, mercifully, I didn't get a picture of.  The real frightening thing is that she's pushing a baby stroller...which means they're allowed to breed!

The highlight of the day was when the sheriff and his assistant shouted for everyone to clear the road.
It was followed by the most unusual parade I've ever witnessed.

Nothing says "Renaissance" like a 200-lb middle-aged belly dancer...

...not to mention your standard authentic Renaissance muffin-top tattooed devil-troll thing.

A kid on a leash...

Followed by another kid on a leash (not a bad idea, I might add):

Parade watching always makes me hungry.  What authentic Renaissance repast would be complete without a $5 slice of ye old slippery cheese pizza? Omnomnom...

    Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...

Did I just see a Klingon?

The inebriated fellow above was apparently hired by a rival vendor to stand in front of this shop and shout bizarre things at passers-by--a sort of professional village idiot.  He's probably a congressman on weekdays.

I think this may have been a real nun...

...but I'm not so sure about this guy! 

Nothing quite like funky music performed with bagpipes and replicated medieval military drums.  They were rockin'out, believe me!

All in all, it was a fun outing--a chance for some father-daughter bonding on a beautiful spring day in Texas (we don't get many of those--it goes quickly from 65 degrees in April to 95 in May), but I have to admit I'm not as young as I used to be and I had to stop and rest!

In October the Scarborough fairgrounds will be transformed into one of the largest Halloween carnivals in the state, complete with haunted houses and likely a lot of the same kooks from the Renaissance fair.  Too bad I already have plans...


  1. What a great mix of eras and costumes!

  2. Oh, what fun. That Henry does it for me. He could be the twin of the one in that famous Holbein painting.

  3. Scarborough Faire is lots of fun. Somehow I think it's a lot more fun than the middle ages/Renaissance era really were...(not to mention I bet it smells much better).

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