These are 20 questions designed to help anyone in the Mid-South who’s ever wondered what a ren faire is and where the closest one can be found. As of this month, there’s one right here in Shelby County!
A Renaissance Faire is a festival with music, food, and entertainment where people dress up like during the days of the Renaissance (from the 14th to 17th centuries). It’s a cross between a county fair and a living history pageant.
2. Does Shelby County have a Renaissance Faire?
Yes, the Inaugural Mid-South Renaissance Faire will be Aug. 22, 23, 29, and 30, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Shelby Farms.
3. Do I need to dress up to go?
No, wear whatever’s comfortable. But a lot of people think dressing up adds to the fun, so costumes will be available for rent and sale.
4. How much does it cost to go?
The cost is $13 for adults and teenagers, $8 for kids 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. Four-day passes are available at $35 for adults and teenagers and $20 for children. Parking is free.
5. What’s the theme of the Mid-South Renaissance Faire?
‘Tis the summer of 1576. To escape the heat of London, Queen Elizabeth and her court are touring the countryside. The villagers of the Shire of Shelby are having a festival to welcome the queen.
6. Do I need to say thee and thou?
Nay, thou mayst speak as is thy wont, but if it pleaseth thee to “speak forsoothly,” thou’rt welcome to try. If you’re not sure how to phrase something, ask a cast member.
7. Will there be magic?
In the days of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, and William Shakespeare, most people believed in magic, so there will be fairies, leprechauns, dragons, and magicians.
8. Is there anything for the kids to do?
Yea, verily! There will be both a children’s quest and a scavenger hunt for younger visitors to the Faire. Those who complete the quest and/or scavenger hunt will be knighted by the queen.
9. Will there be games to play?
Yes, there will be Jacob’s Ladder, Tug of War, Giant Chess, Dunk the Dunce, Water Stocks, Horseshoes, and Veggie Revenge.
10. Can I throw tomatoes at people without getting in trouble?
If you’re playing Veggie Revenge, yes. Otherwise, no.
11. What sort of entertainment will there be?
Three stages will display musicians, magic shows, dancers, jugglers, and storytellers. Behold the Tulstin Troubadours; Frieman the Bard; Haggis Rampant; Wind, Wood, and Wire; John Ross; Lord Drake’s Mystic Magic Show; Paolo Garbanzo; Duc Phan; Seadogg and Mange; Romani Dancers; Isis Dance Academy; Dancers of the Silk Road; Paragon Jousting; Melandra of the Woods; the Storytelling Dragon; Connor O’Carraig.
12. What about knights and fighting?
There will be jousting on horseback and displays of archery and swordsmanship.
13. Can I try my hand at fighting?
Jousting, no. Archery and swordsmanship, yes.
14. Will there be anything for sale? I might want a souvenir.
Lots and lots of souvenirs, not to mention a great opportunity to do early Christmas shopping. Many merchants will be present, selling jewelry, clothing, leatherwork, quilts, knives, toys, soap, musical instruments and recordings, jams, baking mixes, tankards, and too much else to list here.
15. Will the merchants offer any services?
You can get henna tattoos, face painting, and fancy hair braiding.
16. What will there be to eat?
Turkey legs, funnel cake, meat pies, gyros, corn dogs, quesadillas, chicken salad sandwiches, steak-on-a-stake, fish-and-chips-on-a-stake, pickles, burgers, churros, Italian pimiento cheese sandwiches, dessert empanadas, ice cream, and more.
17. What will there be to drink?
Water, lemonade, iced coffee, ice tea, frozen cappuccinos, beer, ale, hard cider, mead. There will be ale and mead tastings twice a day for those over 21.
18. Can I bring my dog?
Sorry, only service animals are permitted, other than animals performing at the Faire.
19. Can I join in the fun, or should I just watch?
Audience participation is welcome. Shout huzzah, go shopping, and dance with our lords, ladies, and fairies.
20. Where can I get more information?
Check out the website: www.midsouthrenfaire.com.
Written by Susan Macdonald, special to the Express.