Monday, September 28, 2009

Maryland Renaissance Festival

The only Renaissance fairs I’ve been to have been the local ones, first on Rt. 3E in Stafford, and lately at the Lake Anna Winery. But on Saturday, we were invited to join friends who were going to spend the day at the Maryland Renaissance Festival near Annapolis, and we were thrilled to go along. The Maryland festival is one of the largest in the country, covering 25 acres, big enough to need a map...a veritable English Tudor amusement park. There are ten stages with acts going on continuously throughout the day, over 100 little shops, dozens of food vendors, and five taverns.

Little Tudor-style shops and stands lined the lanes:

One of the festival stages:

We spent nine hours there, and still didn’t manage to see all of the performances and demonstrations. There were musical groups (bagpipes, drummers, Celtic music, madrigals), comedy acts, magicians, a sword swallower (I checked out sword swallowing when I got home, and it’s actually real, although pretty gross to watch), an acrobat/tightrope walker, belly dancers, swordfights, jousting, archery, storytellers...the list goes on. Comedy ruled the day--most of the performers, regardless of the act, kept up a running banter of jokes.

The sword swallower:

The Squire of the Wire:

For me, the people-watching opportunities were priceless. So many visitors wear costumes that you end up wishing you were wearing one, too. And then there’s the suspense of wondering if the tightly laced bodices of the women were going to hold up to the sheer force of the boobage. I kept expecting a major wardrobe malfunction at some point in the day, but those costumes are a marvel of engineering and there was nary a nip slip to be found.

The story line of this year's festival revolved around Henry VIII, on the hunt for his 6th wife, and if you were lucky, you could find Henry and his court roaming the grounds:

The festival is in a lovely wooded setting, and although it was quite crowded and we got a bit of rain, we had a terrific time. Two thumbs up...I highly recommend it. The festival is open from 10 am-7 pm; adult admission is $18. The festival runs weekends from August 29 through October 25. We drove up via Rt. 301 through Maryland, which was a pleasant 2 hour drive.

Now a note about the photos. I snapped pictures all day long, but my old camera had a major meltdown and I lost all of the photos. So the ones accompanying this post were all taken from Google images, mainly photos from the media and wikipedia. I am now in possession of a brand new camera, so I’ll be back to my own photos in the next post.

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