Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Maryland Renaissance Festival

Fantasy leather mask at the Renaissance Festival
If you have a car and an imagination, there's no good reason to skip the Maryland Renaissance Festival, which is among the largest and most established in the country.

Although the $17 entrance fee keeps some people away, you can't get much better entertainment for your money. Mostly intended to appeal to the masses (kids included), there are musicians, contortionist, swords swallowers, dancers, jousters, and plays to enjoy nonstop on multiple stages from 10AM and 7PM. In addition to formal entertainment, there are artisans all over selling fascinating crafts (such as the leather fantasy mask above), actors strolling around in costume as Henry VIII and his court, and the endless entertainment of the rennfest subculture in their own element.

I dig the entertainment, but some people claim they go just for the food. Of course, what's a Renaissance festival without meat on a stick? People walk around eating turkey legs, "Steak on a Stake", cheesecake on a stick, pork chops on a stick, and who knows what else. We went for some delicious fish and chips, fried pickles, salmon croquettes, cookies & milk, garlic potatoes, and a mushroom sandwich. And we exercising some serious restraint -- there are carbs around every corner, waiting to get you.

No Tech Pinball
Both kid-free grownups and families can find more to do at the rennfest than time allows. There are unusual and anachronistic games everywhere, including "Drench the Wench" and this no-tech pinball game, pictured above. Whole families can be seen walking around in costume, so this is a nice place to warm your kids up for Halloween. (But no, you really don't have to wear a costume.)

So ... is the Renaissance Festival fun? Yes.
Inexpensive? Moderately.
Worth a trip? Definitely.
Ending in just a few short weeks? Absolutely.

So check it out while you still can, and you won't be disappointed.


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