On Sunday, July 5th, 1998, I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire with my cohort, Matt, and his companion, Jessica. Having recently merged with the old King Richard's Faire, this is now one huge event. It is supposed to be a recreation of a faire in the Renaissance period. They do an impressive job.
We were overwhelmed by the map and guidebooks offered to us upon entrance,
so we declined them, rather than try to figure out where and when
things were (read=plan). We realized
that this place consisted of:
The first show we saw was the Mud Show. Performed in a stadium atmosphere
surrounding a Mud Pit, it features the Sturdy Beggars, three supposed bums
putting on a little show for tips, doing their schtick. Most of the
audience loved it, especially the kids. There were plenty of sight gags,
especially using the mud as prop, but the adults also appreciated their
more refined schtick: they were traded barbs impressively with their
verbal skills. Much of their repertoire would be over the heads of much
of the young audience, but the others were quite amused. The Mud Show actually has its own website.
After an obligatory sword-handling demonstration, it was time to eat. the
Faire featured dozens of shops that sold food, drink, and other treats.
It harkened to the days of outdoor food courts. We all immediately got a
Turkey Leg, a large, delicious piece of turkey,
smothered in their special sauce. Matt and I split a calzone, and a
Wellington Pie was also tried and appreciated.
Sassafras was the drink of the day, a delicious blend of root beer and
We commenced checking out the shops. there must have been over a hundred! Some were repetitive (there were plenty selling jewelry), some were novel (a bookstore with items about the Renaissance and the Medievel Period), and some seemed authentic (the guy who had an old-fashioned machine to weave sweaters, quilts, etc) .
Our day also involved participating in archery (which is much harder than it looks), seeing the foundation of a jousting tournament, and attempting to joust ourselves, as we rode a wooden horse down a line, and failed in attempting to stick the sword through the ring.
The Faire did an impressive job of interpreting the Renaissance Period effectively. They spoke in a British accent (or some variation thereof), they dressed elegantly in period costume, addressed customers as 'lord' and 'lady,' and the shops even accepted Mistress Visa and Master Card. It was a fulfilling way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.