Maryland Renaissance Festival


The most upsetting of signs.

Reading this week:

  • The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa by Alex de Waal

This past weekend I went to the final weekend of the 43rd season of the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It was frankly a little upsetting to discover that this was the 43rd season because I distinctly remember the 25th season and I thought that was slightly more recent.


The King arrives!

So clearly I have been going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival for years. As a guy who has actually been to a number of these things, the Maryland version is probably the best and that’s what keeps on bringing me back. Plus my dad is hugely into it. I was probably the one that got him into it, which is a trend for him when it comes to hobbies, because I was also the one that got him into German Longsword and blacksmithing. Dad is indeed a jack of all trades, except his name isn’t Jack and those trades are focused largely on not so useful skills in the modern era.


My dad and me! Dad is in his Outlander getup. It was my sister that got him into cosplay.

But anyways the actual festival! It was a fairly gorgeous day for it, except it was rather cold, which I was very aware of seeing that I was wearing my utilikilt all day long. Very liberating, a utilikilt, but much better in warm weather.


I started off the day by seeing Puke & Snot, which has for years been my major draw to the festival. Due to various circumstances, the show is on its third Snot but was none the less good for it. Frankly I enjoyed all the jokes centered on the fact that he is Snot #3. Those are the only new jokes; they’ve been doing the same act for years but somehow it’s still pretty funny. Perhaps I am merely old and set in my ways.

After that trip down memory lane, I went on several more trips down memory lane just wandering around the festival. When I was I guess 18 years younger I would spend most of the time in shops deciding what I would buy with my whole month’s paycheck from my paper route, which was usually about $100. This was a phenomenal amount of money when I was 12 or 13 and I just about spent it all every time. These days I buy less and see more shows but hey they still got cool stuff and it is still fun to go back to the same magic shops and ball maze games.


They do, of course, also continually incorporate new stuff. The above photo is from “The Danger Committee.” They are one of many many shows at the festival that have about three tricks and manage to stretch it into a 45 minute show largely by being funny. Though the main dude there did also manage to compose a rather great poem about an audience member right on the spot, so he’s probably actually got four tricks. I was just proud of the above picture, where you can see a silvery blur which is the knife thingy (it had more pointy bits than a regular knife) that he is throwing at his compatriots’ heads. Well, he’s throwing it to narrowly miss their heads but still.


They also have this new (to me) falconry show where they have some falcons and the like and they show off their falconry skills. I am also very proud of the above picture, where you can see the falcon narrowly missing catching the target. What with the target being attached to a stick via a string, it was a lot like playing with cats, except the falcons are even more likely to wind up on top of a pole and not really want to come down. But all in all it was pretty neat.

Every time I go to the Renaissance Festival I am surprised at how quickly the day passes. You imagine you’re going to see every show and go into every shop, but just a few shows and a turkey leg later and you discover that the whole day has gone by and now you’re at the pub sing wondering how embarrassing it is that you are doing this weird dance thing they have you do but then a dude comes and plays a bagpipe really loudly right next to you and that is super awesome because bagpipes are awesome and you should really come to the festival more often but you keep doing this thing where you move to an entirely different continent. Anyways I recommend it. Until next year!