By Ariana Carpentieri
One of the best parts about summertime is being able to take trips to the Renaissance Faire! As an avid Ren Faire attender, I look forward to it all year long and patiently (aka: not-so-patiently) count down until opening day. But this is the first year since birth that I’m not roaming the Faire with wonderment in my eyes and a turkey leg in hand. To say I’m sad is an understatement, but I understand and support the decision to keep the faire closed for the safety of all! So, while we won’t physically be at the faire where fantasy rules and the magic is as thick as the summer heat, the next best thing is to forge our own Renaissance Faires from the comfort and safety of our homes! To celebrate the upcoming release of Lionhearts by Nathan Makaryk, a Robin Hood inspired tale fit for Ren Faire royalty, here’s a list of ways you can create the illusion of stepping back in time and bring some of that Ren Faire enchantment into your space.
1. Read books set during the Renaissance
One of the best alternatives would be to fully immerse yourself in a book set during the Renaissance era. You can get lost in Nottingham and it’s sequel Lionhearts by Nathan Makaryk, which are stories that mix history and myth into a complex study of power–one that twists and turns far beyond the traditional tale of Sherwood Forest’s iconic thief. The next best thing aside from being at the Renaissance Faire would be entangling yourself in a tale of the Sherwood Forest!
2. Watch shows set during the Renaissance
To further add to the ambiance, we suggest that you watch some shows that have a Renaissance or Medieval feel. If you’re a lover of fantasy, then The Witcher would be a good fit for you. If you like humor, something like Disenchantment is a great choice! If anime-esque animation style is your thing, then grab some popcorn and watch Castlevania. Or if classic is your thing, then buckle up for four seasons-worth of Tudors. There are a plethora of movies on Netflix and Hulu that can keep you almost as entertained as the actors at the faire do!
3. Make yourself a feast fit for the queen herself!
When we think of the Ren Faire, we think about the delicious food. So why not bring the good eats to your own home! Something fun you could do is have a Renaissance themed dinner night, wherein you prep your favorite usual dishes from the Faire, which could include turkey legs, falafels, blooming onions, baked potatoes, or dragon wing chips! And if you’re looking to make it into a full feast, you could plan to add desserts like chocolate dipped cheesecake, apple cider donuts, or funnel cake. The queen would be green with envy!
4. Support your favorite Faire vendors from afar
Since we aren’t walking around and visiting our favorite vendors at the Faire, it’s difficult being unable to make the purchases we often look forward to. But you can still support vendors from afar by checking to see if they have online shops! If that’s the case, you can still get your fill all while supporting their craft. It’s a win-win situation!
5. Host a socially-distanced Renaissance themed party
If you’re someone who loves to dress up for the Faire, fear not–you can still do so! Get some friends together for a socially-distanced gathering that requires everyone in attendance to dress up. It may not beat walking around in costume at the Faire, but the good company and creative garb will bring a smile to your face.
6. Follow your local Ren Faire on social media
If this is something you aren’t already doing, then we highly recommend! It’s nice to see Ren Faire photos pop up on your feed, plus it’s good to follow along in case they make any important announcements about reopening in 2021.
7. Get your cards read online
One of the most alluring parts of the Renaissance Faire is partaking in psychic readings. But since that’s not really in the cards this year (pun fully intended), you can still receive readings online! There’s a large Alternative & Holistic Health Service community on Instagram that offers distant readings and spiritual healing/guidance sessions. But if that’s not really your thing, then there are plenty of card-reading apps out there that’ll give you daily readings to hold you over until you can have it done in-person at the Faire next year!
8. Burn some incense
Aside from the smell of good food at the Faire, some of the other most distinct scents you catch whiffs of while you’re walking around are oils and incense that many of the vendors burn in their shops. Bring that same positive energy into your home by burning your favorite scents while reading a Renaissance book, watching a Renaissance show, or eating your big Renaissance feast fit for the queen. So. Much. Renaissance!
9. Build a DIY fairy house
Fairies are such a large part of the Faire, so channel that magic at home by making a fairy house! There are DIY kits you can purchase online that include all the materials you need, or if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, then you could also fashion one with materials from your yard. There are plenty of Youtube videos out there that can help you build one of your own!
10. Hold a family joust
The joust is one of the most iconic parts of the Ren Faire and always marks the perfect end to an exciting day! Get your partner or family involved in a joust tournament with foam swords. And if you don’t have any actual foam swords, then pool noodles will also suffice! Split the participants up into different color teams and for an extra boost, include a fun prize for the winner.
And that concludes our list! We hope you enjoy trying these out at home, and that this helps you feel just a little closer to being at the Faire. Until next year…Huzzah!
Order your copy of Lionhearts—available on September 15th!