How to Adventure at Ye Olde Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Good morrow fellow countrymen! I truly did not mean to walk a 5K today my dear lords and ladies! But when you are adventuring to ye Olde Renaissance Pleasure Faire, well you have to roll with the punches (Or the jousting)

If you are not having an adventure even just arriving at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire, well you are just not having a good time. On this trip to the Renn Faire as it’s more colloquially known, we tried out a new hotel in nearby Duarte, California. We planned to imbibe in some fermented beverages at the Faire and always are responsible party animals. So we arranged to meet at our awesome hotel, the Hotel Huntington, change into our wench and countrymen outfits and called an Uber. As we passed out costumes, bodices and skirts to friends, I put my boyfriend in charge of filling up my forty-year-old bota bag with cocktails to bring into Faire. Don’t judge, a large beer at Faire will run you nearly twenty dollars. Walk-Tails are the way to go. The bota bag is part of the family Rennaisance Faire paraparnella and according to my dad, it is older than I am. This explains why one minute after I filled it up with vodka and Redbull it began to leak. I grabbed all the costumes we needed to change into, and the weeping bota bag and ran into the hotel lobby to see if I could at the very least pour our cocktail into a coffee cup.

Party like it’s 1499!

I found a coffee cup in the lobby but as soon as I began squeezing the vintage bota bag it began leaking sugar-free cocktail from six different points. Then it basically just exploded. And that is how I befriended Mike and his family in the lobby as they also struggled into their friar and wench costumes. Because if you can’t make friends while frantically sucking cocktails out of a forty-year-old cow canteen, just how do you make new friends? Serious, question in the year 2024; I really don’t know.

After I mopped the entire lobby, Mike’s wife asked me if I knew where the Uber drop-off was and I admitted I rarely use Uber. Obviously, this redneck did not understand being in the city technology. Did she not just watch me suck on a vintage cow cocktail?

Mind you I never leave my mountain home for the countryside of 1580’s jolly old Elizabethan England or anywhere else near Los Angeles for that matter. I have not used Uber in at least a year. I am not an expert on the Uber. Yet all the new Rennaisance Pleasure Faire friends I made in the lobby of the hotel thought I was an expert on everything Faire, as I attempted to suck the vodka Redbull out of a forty-year-old chunk of cowhide. We all became friends as our Pruis Uber pulled up and the driver told me he only had three seats. I realize this is 1580’s Elizabethan England we are heading towards, but just when did an Uber only seat three people? So we canceled that one and then realized our next Uber was a red Tesla. And Mike and friends also had a red Tesla Uber coming. Are all Ubers three seater Pruis’s or red Teslas these days?

Well then that Uber canceled on us as they were pulling up. I had no idea why! I may have been dressed as a 1580’s wench, my boyfriend may have been carrying a whip but I was no longer sucking on an old cow! We did get eventually into an Uber that had four seats, huzzah! And we were soon on the way to Faire, two miles away. Until we arrived at the Rennaisance Faire gridlock at the gates of the Santa Fe Dam. So we decided to get out and walk. We walked right by Mike and friends in their red Tsela. We felt so smart.

Until we walked to the front gate and the parking attendants told us it was a two-mile walk to where the Faire began. And that is when Mike and friends drove by us and waved. We felt like the court jesters.

Luckily for us, apparently this little mixup happens at the Uber gate every single Saturday during Faire season. So the parking attendants convinced a very nice fairy witch to give us a ride into the giant Santa Fe Dam facility. Huzzah good lady!

Every weekend there is a different theme at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire and when we visited it was fairies weekend. Every weekend is another spectacle at Faire. One weekend everyone dresses up as mushrooms. I personally love Steampunk Weekend because the costumes are just amazing. One of the best parts of visiting the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire is the people watching. According to my boyfriend, the other best reason to visit is women in bodices.

Since the 70’s the love for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire has swept the country. Who wouldn’t want to dress up like a wench and spend your Saturday sweating like it’s 1556? According to my very liberal friend Terry, you never want to drop acid and go to the Renaissance Faire like he did in the 70’s or the glorious lords and ladies and fairies might come alive and be terrifying. Don’t do drugs, kids. And while you are at it, try not to vote for those hippie politicians Terry loves.

Everything is bigger in Texas; Even Renn Faire!

So how do you have fun at Ye Olde Faire without the drugs? Tex Ren Fest is known as the merriest Renaissance Faire throughout all the land or especially in north Texas. They are a 55-acre Renaissance Faire known as the biggest in the United States. I mean what else are you going to do near Dallas? Love Chivalray and merriment or maybe just a fan of wenches in bodices? Hey, we do not judge her at the Hungry Mountaineer! If you think of one word when you think of Faire it might be boobs. Or possibly two words, turkey legs. And just a heads up, tickets for the Tex Faire run about $20-$25 for adults unlike the famous Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, where the tickets can run over $45 an adult.

As a lifelong Californian I do tend to think our southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire is the best in all the land (Or at least west of Texas) But being that this California, our Rennaisance Faire is very expensive to attend. Think Disneyland is pricey? Try spending a day in jolly old Elizabethan England!

Renn Faire in the 90210 (Or something like that)

Here in southern California, our world-famous Rennasaince Pleasure Faire began in 1963. Every weekend in the spring, over 20,000 people attend the Rennaisance Faire in Irwindale California. This 1580s waterfront Elizabethan town has seen more than five million visitors and the most inspired ones dress up as fairies, merchants and yes even wenches to visit the Faire each weekend in May. The actors who portray characters at the Faire have to go through rigorous training and an approval process to ensure their authenticity. Even their costumes have to be authentic Elizabethan era.

  • The actors who work at Faire work hard to purchase their own historically accurate costumes. They are out sweating every day in May in the heat and humidity and making minimum wage. Please tip your servers and the performers at Faire.

So, my Lord, just how do you go about having the bawdiest good times at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire? Without possibly spending all your hard-earned cash? Well, let’s start with costumes. Sure, you can rent a costume from most Faires. You can also buy an inexpensive costumes from Amazon. Amazon has hundreds of choices if you are looking to dress as a wizard or a peasant, or just a man who really loves hotdogs. I mean if you want to dress like a weiner, the Faire is the place to go. Yes, you can wear basically any Halloween costume to the Faire.

This year as we approached the front gates of the Faire, finally after our Uber shenanigans I was just shocked at the shear amount of people attending the Faire. I have been attending the Faire with friends since I was seventeen (Do not let your seventeen-year-old go to Faire unchaperoned!) and I have never, ever seen it as busy as it was on this Saturday when we attended. Next year, we intend to get to the Faire as soon as the gates open to enjoy every moment of bawdy merriment. Or maybe just mead.

  • Get to the fair at ten a.m. when the gates open or even better, at 9:45.

Dollar, dollar bill, M’lady

For the love of my Lord, bring cash. We live in a cashless society unless you are pretending it is the year 1580. We saw probably hundreds of spectators in line for Ye Olde ATM. Most of the food vendors at Faire and most of the drinks vendors do not take credit cards, only cash.

Thou art feasting most enthusiastically

Ready to take a break from carousing with all those Celtic fairies and have a cocktail? Good luck to you kind sir! Get ready to pay twenty dollars for a Barley-flavored beverage! The Renaissance Pleasure Faire of southern California allows each person to bring in one water bottle per person. Screw water, no one drank water during the middle ages! Be like us and smuggle in fermented potato juice!

The beverage options at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire are not exactly on point for my particular lifestyle. The expensive bars did not have any of the beers this picky beer drinker enjoys. Oatmeal stout on a hot and humid southern California day? No, thank you. Sure mead, honey-based wine is delicious but I just can’t drink diabetes juice all day in the hot sun. Sure there is also Bud Zero but have you have ever tried burping in a bodice? We did the best we could with the cocktail options available.

We filled our water bottles with vodka and purchased some lovely hibiscus juice  Maybe I’m a cheap skate but also crap beers are twenty dollars each! You can also bring in an empty water bottle (Although they didn’t check ours on the way in) There are water fountains throughout the Faire if you are a fan of hydration.

Be prepared, the food at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire is delicious but can be expensive. The rib platter sounded so good but I also just laced myself into a two-hundred-dollar bodice and I don’t want to get pig juice all over my costume. (Also it was twenty-nine dollars a plate)

Whither be the privies?

If you are on your way to the Renaissance Faire be prepared to smell like the Middle Ages by two p.m. Walking around the humidity of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire all day, yes ‘M Lord, you will sweat. Also, be prepared for port a potties lots of port-a-potties. PlRenaissance Pleasure Faireease tell me you remembered to pack hand sanitizer.

Shop til you drop (Or run out of cash)

The shopping at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire is so fun and I want to buy everything! There are so many amazing trinkets for sale, gifts for the children I hope you left at home and the costume options are glorious! And so expensive. Can’t afford a two-hundred-dollar bodice? Check out local thrift stores like Savers and the Goodwill before your trip to the Faire for Bohemian skirts, breezy long-sleeved tops or chain mail bras. (No really, you will see at least one wench in a chainmail bra)

Sit you down and have a laugh!

Visiting California this spring with your family? Take your kids to Disneyland. The faire is just a little too naughty for children. I mean really, little Billy does not need to see that lady in the chain mail thong. (True story, the first time I went to Faire, my hippie van club parents took me when I was fourteen)

But if you don’t have kids with you the comedy shows are one of the very best parts of the faire experience. Although on this last trip to the southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, I have to say we didn’t see as many comedy shows as usual. I honestly think it has to do with the fact that people are so offended by everything these days. I feel bad for these actors who have been playing the Renaissance Pleasure Faire circuit, entertaining people for years! You just can’t make a joke about wenches anymore!

Back in my day, a trip to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire definitely included a few jokes about the giant sausages available all over the faire. But here we are in the year 2024 and some people find sausage jokes offensive. The humor of the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire is not for those individuals!

 

 

 

 

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