Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Renaissance Faires can be complex and overwhelming events to undertake, but as far as the design is concerned a lot of what makes for a successful event depends on just a few rules.


This may sound simple, but the most important part of any good Faire is the shared agreement betweens it’s many participants. Your Faire is many things… entertainment, food, crafts, but ultimately it is a vehicle for transporting its audience into a realm of fantasy. For the few hours they are visiting, they can leave the 21st century in their parked cars and soak up this pretend world with as few reminders of their daily lives to interrupt their experience.  Having all of your participants promise, willingly, to support this illusion is key to its success. If all of your participants are willing to play this role, so your audience will be.

Each Faire determines the dress code of their event

Since the roots of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire were firmly planted in the desire for historical recreation, the choices of what people wear, sell, the music they played, and the way they spoke were equally planted in a specific era of history. Although there were concessions to this rule, on the hole the desire was to recreate a place in time with all the demands that puts upon its participants. This hasn’t been true of all the Faires across the country as each defines their level of faithfulness to history. For some the broad brush of “The Renaissance” includes fairytale princesses, mythical beasts, and the occasional Star Trek away team. There is no right or wrong way to define your own event, and in the case of audiences’ expectations, if characters from computer games and Vikings are within the bounds of the Story being told by the promoter of the event, then all the more power to them. For this book I am sticking with a more historical example, partially because I am most familiar with it, and also the stricter rules of a more historical event tend to make it easier to get everyone participating on the “same page”, and dispels the argument that Dr. Who’s Tardis is not necessarily appropriate for this particular event.

1 comment:

  1. "...Dr. Who's TARDIS is not necessarily appropriate for this particular event..."

    AMEN, Brother! I'm a huge fan of the Doctor (not to mention Spock, various Hobbits, and the crew of a certain Firefly-class freighter...), but I don't want to see 'em at my Faire (or S.C.A. event). Even as we chuckle at the TARDIS parked next to a medieval pavilion (as happened at an SCA "war" a few years back), there's that edge of irritation because that person thought their "funny-once" joke was more important than ALL the rest of us getting to keep The Dream and not have our magical illusion broken. :-(