I played Dungeons and Dragons, majored in computer science, know a number of science fiction and fantasy authors and like eating turkey legs. You’d think that that would make me the sort of person who goes to Renaissance Faires, but I’d never been to one…until St. Patrick’s Day, a couple of Saturdays ago. That’s when I went to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival (where “Bay Area” refers to Tampa Bay).
I can always be convinced to do something if you say “You get to walk around with a giant mug and a silly hat”. I can be more easily convinced if you’re wearing an outfit like this:
In case you were wondering where Ren Faires are on the Geek Hierarchy, this handy chart should help. Click on it to see it at full size:
My hat was a loaner from my lovely young lady friend. I’ve got to get me one; I’d wear it all the time, even at work!
First, we caught some jousting…
…and then some sword fighting…
…and they weren’t afraid to get a little anachronistic and have a WWE-style smackdown:
Then it was time to walk through the Faire — a collection of tents and stalls spread throughout the wooded grounds of MOSI, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry — and see what else was going on. Here’s a pic of my charming guide with some of the Faire in the background:
These guys put on a great acrobatics show. My first thought upon seeing the move below was “Hey, I’ve seen this movie before!”
They call this trick “The Table”:
These guys were in great shape. I could practice for 20 years and still not be able to do this:
Elsewhere, there were demonstrations of ancient German sword fighting technique:
They did a pretty good job of showing how to use the large German swords, which many people considered to be too unwieldy.
“The most dangerous swordsman,” they said, “is the one who knows nothing and goes out on the field swinging wildly. He’ll get both himself and his opponent killed or maimed.”
That sword’s a little close to some tender parts:
We covered most of the Faire grounds:
Ye test of strength!
Christophe insults people for money. He gets people to pool their money together and choose a person to insult. He’ll then improvise a monologue in which he insults the poor victim; the duration and intensity of the session depends on how much money he’s given.
The lovely young woman in the background was the final victim, for which we collected about $200. That kind of money will get you a full ten-minute Christophe routine.
He got both the audience and victim laughing:
…and he did so with raunch sufficient to make the young lady cover her mouth in shock:
…and a good time was had by all. I love the looks on both the victim’s and Christophe’s faces in this pic:
All in all, great fun, made even better by great company.