I only became aware of The Fishers Renaissance Faire last year. Fishers is only about an hours’ drive and I decided I’d try to make it this year.
I am not involved in reenactments. I’ve never felt the urge to dress up in period costume, develop a craft to practice, or pretend to attack people with sharp pointy things. At the same time, I have a lot of respect for what many of these folks do. I know some SCA members and I think they have something to add to the study of history. If nothing else, they are able to take interpretations of various aspects of medieval life and demonstrate whether they are practical or not, and offer possible details on how things may have been done. I know some academics discount what they have to offer and personally, I think that’s a bit narrow-minded.
So I went to the Faire. For the most part, this wasn’t for my period. The focus of this group is Elizabethan. But there were a few exceptions. One of the first booths I stopped to chat at had a gentleman dressed as a Saxon warrior, conversing with someone dressed as a 15th century Ottoman Turk.
Eric Chance, dressed as a Saxon Warrior (left) and Luke Casey as an Ottoman Warrior (right).
I also had the chance to meet with royalty. It’s not every day when one gets to chat with Queen Elizabeth. I particularly enjoyed that she stayed in character and, when I mentioned a blog, asked me what that was. I told her it was a sort of chronicle, like Henry of Huntington would write.
Queen Elizabeth, AKA Susie Alexander. I wouldn’t have come so close except she ordered me to when she saw me taking pictures.
I hung around for a few hours, drank a little mead, making up for missing it at Kalamazoo this year when I was chasing down books, talked to a few folks and had a good time. Fortunately there wasn’t a book tent or I might have gotten in trouble.
In the past some friends of mine and I have made comments that Medieval History is a lot more than people chasing each other around to stick them with sharp, pointy things. Despite that, I seemed to spend as much time watching people go after each other with sharp pointy things as anywhere. And while I didn’t buy anything beyond food and mead (no book tent, remember?) I seemed to linger a bit longer in the tents with sharp pointy things in them. I’m amazed I didn’t leave the place with a dagger.
Good thing their swords were blunted – these two guys hammered the tar out of each other.
I’d seen combat on foot before but this was my first opportunity to watch a joust. Two gentlemen, James Acuff from Tennessee of The Lords of Chivalry and Aaron Toby from Ontario, Canada, had at it. I climbed on a horse with plate on once and that extra weight throws your balance all out of wack. I suppose you improve with practice but those dudes must be pretty strong. Toby was unhorsed on (I think) the fourth pass and I don’t know how you can fall well with that stuff on. I used to train horses for a living and did a little rodeo so I’ve had plenty of practice falling off. That looked like it hurt.
Acuff, playing to the crowd
The moment of truth. I tried zooming in closer but that made it hard to take a good picture from where I was, several rows back and holding my camera above my head.
It was fun and I’ll try to get back there next year. Maybe I’ll read up a bit beforehand so I can carry on a bit more of a conversation with people. It’s not my thing but I can see where being involved in this would be very enjoyable.
I think this was a group heading to perform on one of the several stages.
I’m currently doing some reading on Lombard Italy and will offer up a post or two on some interesting aspects of this before too long. But I thought I should mention that for a little while I decided to see what was going on a thousand years or so later than what I’m usually involved with.