A Renaissance Faire is a unique and magical phenomenon, one that one truly has to experience to understand. That being said, here’s a stab at explaining it in layman’s terms:
First, understand that most Faires are English Renaissance Faires. The English Renaissance is usually associated with the rule of Queen Elizabeth, second daughter of King Henry VIII, though faires may play around with that date a little. So with that in mind, imagine after walking through the main entrance of a Renaissance Faire, that you have been magically transported back to the 1500's. Kings and Queens ruled the known world, Dukes and Duchesses held power over vast swaths of land, and the lives of the common people were, well, common.
Of course then, the villagers and royalty are all speaking with English dialects. But there are also visitors from other lands, whose dialects you may recognize as well. You will quickly notice a combination of extreme civility, exquisite manners, and a sharp, wry sense of humor. Pull out your best imitation of BBC broadcasters and try to join in.
In the Faire village you will find all types of inhabitants, including merchants (lots of them!), entertainers, shopkeepers, sheriffs, idiots, gravediggers, etc.- young, elderly, and everything in between. They are dressed, of course, in handmade period clothing- and don’t be alarmed if they are carrying a sword or miscellaneous weapon on their side. The many town folk may be confused if you use words like “bathroom”, but they will be happy to show you to the privy. You will discover a host of words that are much more appropriate to the renaissance during your time in the shire. You will also draw attention by the use of your “fairy box” (cell phone/camera) though more adventurous peasants might be interested to learn how the magic works.
You may also quickly notice that the patrons of Renaissance Fairs can look extremely similar to the villagers of the Faire- as it is custom and welcome for attendees to come dressed in period garb and to play along with the cast members. Great Renaissance Faires are truly outdoor improvisational theater at the highest of levels- so don’t be shy!
The New Jersey Renaissance Faire prides itself in being THE most interactive Faire in all the lands. Thus, don’t be alarmed by the constant beckoning by the charming villagers, merchants and nobles throughout your day with us. PLEASE feel free to join in with our fun- as it absolutely heightens the experience.
Children LOVE the Faire, as their imaginations are easily taken for a ride. Adults who have an affinity towards Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, heck- even Star Wars- will happily find their inner-child being released, and transformed into 16th century royalty or a bumbling fool. We have a way of making most anyone smile and enjoy oneself.
If you have questions or concerns while at the Faire, be sure to check in with the “Info-Mistress” in the center of town, who can point you in the right direction. And when it’s time to eat, we encourage you to try foods that you wouldn’t normally be eating with the family- Dragon Legs, Meat Pies, Scottish Eggs, Fairy Floss, Fresh made donuts, and of course GIANT Pickles on a stick!
Our merchants are tremendously talented artisans, creating beautiful handcrafted pieces of art out of metals (blacksmith), glass (glass blower), pewter, leather, glass, jewelry, etc. There’s even a fellow selling “baby dragons” by the bushel. Thankfully, there is Ye Ol’ ATM, as well.
Similar to the Grateful Dead, Rocky Horror, and other “culty” entertainment outlets, Ren Faires are addictive, as they are so fun, interactive, and forge a community of creative, like-minded people. Those who frequent the Faire often dub themselves as “Rennies” and slowly wardrobe themselves appropriately. You’d be surprised how most men just LOVE wearing a kilt!