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Rensaissance Faire Days

"🎶Fill mine cup, pour some ale in it
Take a sip, tip the wench
Julius, get the carriage!
Ride to London, Amsterdam, Paris and Vatican City
Quoth the Bard, "All the world’s a stage,"
Thus, our entrance be evermore witty!"

~ Uptowne Funk with medieval lyrics, Bardcore cover of Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk

Good morrow kind sirs and ladies! Do you know a hawk from a handsaw? Well then, you are probably aware of the many traditional and historic gatherings of historical and theatrical faires produced all over the world, which provide a type of time-traveling entertainment centered around Medieval, Renaissance, Victorian, or other time period. Costumes, music, re-enactments of period plays and sports, entertainments, dancing, foods, artisans, and many other amusements are gathered to make for highly anticipated events for both re-enactors and guests alike. An early precedent for historically-themed faires, was the Eglinton Tournament of 1839 when a reenactment of a medieval joust and revel was held at Eglinton Castle in North Ayrshire, Scotland in late August and attracted 100,000 spectators! Many faires today are set in the reign of Elizabeth I, during the reign of Henry VIII, but may include anachronic elements and re-enactors from the Viking Age and the Golden Age of Piracy! 👑 ⌛ 🏹

'Tis the season for creative anachronism!

In 1957 in the United States, "A Christmas Masque of Traditional Revels" was held in in New York City, and the following year another in Washington, D.C..  In the next decade, along with a revival and interest in early folk music, the modern Renaissance festival was created.

Such public entertainments, especially popular in the United States, include stages or performance areas set up for scheduled shows, such as plays in Shakespearean or commedia dell'arte tradition, as well as anachronistic audience participation comedy routines.

Other performances include dancers, magicians, musicians, jugglers, and singers. Between the stages, the streets ("lanes") are lined with stores ("shoppes") and stalls where independent vendors sell medieval and Renaissance-themed handcrafts, clothing, books, and artworks. 

The original Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California (RPFS) was held in the Spring 1966 at the Paramount Ranch located in Agoura, California, focusing on the practices of old English springtime markets and "Maying" customs. And in 1967, a Fall Renaissance fair, with a harvest festival theme, was held first at what is now China Camp State Park in San Rafael, California, and, in 1971, at the Black Point Forest in Novato, California. 

Both fairs developed into local traditions and began a movement that spread across the country.   

In recent years, American-style Renaissance fairs have made inroads in other countries such as Germany, Canada, and Australia. 

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century. A quip often used within the SCA describes it as a group devoted to the Middle Ages "as they ought to have been", choosing to "selectively recreate the culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us".   

For more on this society and a list of faires throughout the world, click the re-enactors!

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