Just imagine if you will....let your mind go back 500 years. Back to the days where Kings were Kings and Queens were wives of Kings.
The location of those recreated days of Lords & Ladies are lived out at the Bristol Renaissance Faire! Incidentally, this year marks their 25th Anniversary! Yay!
Count and I in our mortal form took a Ziptrip up to Bristol on the Illinois/Wisconsin border for our very first Ren Faire ever. As you go 5465432 miles from the free parking (trust me, pay the $5 for preferred parking, I wish we had) thru the woods, you will see the castle-like entrance looming on a small hill. A "town crier" is perched atop the structure letting you know what the day will have in store for you.
Upon entrance to the Faire, we are greeted by a man in beggars attire, wearing what could only be described as a "potato sack" with the words MUD SHOW emblazoned across it. Basically he was trying to direct the crowd to a show taking place on a small stage area. So Count and I were wondering wtf a mud show is so we took a seat on the bleachers underneath a canopylike structure and got ready for the fun. And it was silly fun, nothing special to write home about but fun nonetheless as two men challenged each other who can be the dirtiest old man (literally). Audience participation was encouraged, the crowd was split into two side where we chanted for our favorite to see who could be king of mud. I would have liked to see a bit more sloppiness but seeing guys with faces and bodies muddied up and a third guy acutally EAT mud was all worth it!
After the show, we wandered about the park and caught a sword fighting demonstration. We then checked out the many vendors dotted thru the area and found that with a little creativity and a lot of money, you too can have your own Renaissance-era outfit. Which helps because cosplay is king here. We noted quite a few patrons who donned the vestments of a bygone time, we had trouble telling if they were staff or not haha. Most were renaissance, a few were fairies and vampires and there was even a group of kids outfitted as if they were at an anime convention.
Walking thru the park and seeing the attractions, shows and rides reminded me of an ancient era Six Flags. There was even a food court with munchies like giant turkey legs and bbq chicken thighs which had extra sauce added with a giant brush. Although I doubt that chai lattes existed back then, the one we had was delicious and refreshing.
More highlights included an acrobatic show where the participants also played with fire, always a good time when people put their lives in danger lol haha just kidding. There was also a "dungeon" tour where for only $2 extra you could wander down a dark musty hallway and look at various instruments of torture and execution being used in scenes. Very worth it, although the figure being tortured by the heretic's fork looked as if he were a model posing for a magazine.
This place is waaaay too big to see all in one day, I would actually suggest to the organizers of the faire that they should have a weekend or even a season pass so that patrons can come back. It was a great time, good for familes and Count and I give it two fangs up! Our children of the night (bats) also give it two WINGS up!
- Countess Gregula