Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bristol Renaissance Faire


Here's a little secret about me that I don't often tell people (like, ever).... I truly believe that I was born in the wrong century. I really do. It might sound a bit crazy or what not but I have always had this weird connection with the past. When I study history or read/ watch a series that is set in a time period since passed -at least a good 200 years- I'm overwhelmed with empathy and all the feels for the events and people I see. This connection is why I love visiting Europe so much. So when my husband told me about the Renaissance Faire coming to town, or at least within reasonable driving distance from our house, I was so dang excited! 


Let me transport you to the year 1574 in Bristol, England, where Queen Elizabeth I is set to make here entrance in the village (pretty neat, right?). I had never been to a Renaissance Faire before but just always wanted to go. After doing some research, I knew it wasn't going to be totally historically accurate but a good time for those who like to dress up, drink beer and eat good food. I didn't really know what to expect, but after reading about the storyline, I had high expectations. Let's just say, I was satisfied and... I think I found my people. Next year, I will be dressing up lol. 


The performances were pretty neat and entertaining. The jousting events were exciting... I felt like I was in a scene from A Knight's Tale. There was a man shouting insults at people and then getting tomatoes thrown at him. He had quick wit and was hilarious! The jugglers and stage performers were all spot-on and fun to watch. There were even some kids performers but my kids weren't too interested in watching. 



The costumes and overall decor were really fascinating . It was obvious who the actors were because they would speak in a British accent and their clothing was accurate for the time period (1574). But I'd say one of the most interesting parts of the experience was seeing how everyone else was dressed. Some people put a lot of time and money into their costumes, while others got super creative with the fantasy aspect (HELLO fairies, dragons, and devils!).  However, as a serious Game of Thrones fan, I really appreciated all the  Daenerys Stormborn and Khal Drogo costumes... there were a lot of them. But for someone, such as myself, who knows a bit about the Renaissance and Europe during that time, it was really nice to be around others who enjoy the details of that time period. 


The food stands seem to attract everyone. My kids were looking forward to a turkey leg, while I enjoyed some beef. There are pub crawls and teas planned throughout the day, along with snack, dessert and drink vendors. I was surprised at how large this faire is. I mean, it felt like it just kept getting larger and larger. There were many shops with some pretty unique items for sale and lots of souvenirs. I wish I'd had more time to explore the shops more in depth but the kids just weren't feeling it. And even though this faire offered rides, shows, and attractions for children of all ages, if I go back again, I don't think I'd bring them; only because I'm selfish and I want to see everything and do everything. 


Overall, the faire was really fun and I'm glad we took the drive up to Wisconsin. I felt like I got transported back in time, with all the beautiful costumes and architecture. Sometimes, even as adults, it's fun to play pretend and live in a fantasy for a day. I'm not sure I'd go as all out as some of the people I saw, but I'd love to get more involved next time. I mean, this is the closest I'm ever going to get to being in another century after all. 

Have you ever visited a Renaissance Faire? Are you as into history or the Renaissance as I am?? I'd love to know!! 



For more info about the Faire, look here


38 comments:

  1. What a fun day! I've never been, but this looks like a lot of fun so I may have to attend next time there's one nearby! And I'm so happy to hear you've found your people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol it's always nice when you find others who enjoy the same things as you! But I totally recommend this faire for your first time!

      Delete
    2. This Faire runs every weekend in the summer so you don't have to wait.

      Delete
  2. Wow! This looks absolutely amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh how fun! I have been to the Atlanta Renaissance Festival a few times and loved it -- this post made me want to go again! Love your pics, too. - Trish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Trish! Yeah it was pretty cool!!

      Delete
  4. I know what you mean about feeling like you were born in the wrong era! I always thought that I would have fit in well in Jane Austen's world (but only as a rich person, because the poor had it pretty bad back then haha)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I say the same thing..., I would have to have had money to live back then. Thank you for sharing!!

      Delete
  5. I have always always wanted to go to one of these! It looks like so much fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. WOW. I have been to a few small-ish Renaissance festivals but nothing like this one. I bet the costumes were amazing, and I love that there were a few Game of Thrones costumes there!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I attended the Tennessee Renaissance Festival earlier this year and it was quite an experience! lol The one you went to looks way classier than ours! The jousting was pretty fun!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet they're all pretty fun! Yes, the jousting was amazing!!

      Delete
  8. This looks like so much fun! We have the Houston Renaissance Festival every year and it's great - fun way to spend the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A great way to spend the day! Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  9. Just so you know- some of those people with the accents and clothes were merely dedicated patrons (referred to by some as "playtrons"). Several of my friends spend time (sewing their own) and money (sewing and/or buying) to be dressed as well as the cast members. I dress in garb too, but as a photographer, I don't carry an accent or character because I have my camera at the ready (I've been going to faires in garb too long to not wear garb!).

    And, as a longtime rennie and lover of the joust- The Jousters (the troupe you saw at Bristol) do full-plate jousting. Those lances are solid wood, not breakaway. There are no stunt falls or fake wins/losses. The only choreography is during the battle at the end of the Joust to the Death.

    We love Bristol so much- it really does feel like family. My one regret is that we didn't find it sooner! My kids were older when I discovered it, so I didn't have to worry about how to keep them entertained (they were old enough to go off alone and even had their own money to spend!). But I understand about not having them along all the time- you can take your time and appreciate the handmade work in the shops, even watch the demos that kids might not find as exciting as we do. HOWEVER- to anyone reading this with little ones: Bristol is kid-ready with two petting zoos (one has a unicorn!) and an entire area called "Kids' Kingdom".

    I could go on and on, but I will stop- I'm still working on my photos from the weekend. I look forward to seeing you out there again (you have 8 more weekends left!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thank you for all the great info! I had no idea about the insights! I'm glad I found it now so I can keep going... I'm sure I'll head back again this season. Thank you for sharing, I hope you enjoy your time there! And yes, the Kids Kingdom is huge and a great place for kids!!

      Delete
  10. We go to Bristol every year! Actually, we always go twice - once with The Kid and once without. Because we're selfish just like you and want to see EVERYTHING, including what generally doesn't interest the kids that are with you. This year we bought tickets for an extra trip (now we get to go three times!) because, at the end of the season, we're always wishing that we could go back one more time.

    My husband was heckled so bad our first trip that I was finally able to convince him to dress up with me! It made our day when we went back the next year and were mistaken for some of the actors! :) No accents for us, but I'm happy we at least look the part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome that you dress so well you fit right in! I'd love to go three times, and without the kids. I wish you a wonderful time this year, thank you for sharing!!

      Delete
  11. Bad experience they don't limit or card underage millennials who are extremely rude. Don't bring children unless you are ready for a long talk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry you had a bad experience! I don't think rudeness or underage drinking is the right way to go. Thanks for the heads up, we didn't see any of that while we were there.

      Delete
  12. I try to attend the Bristol Faire every year & always want to dress up but never do cause it's usually hot! Awesome Faire tho ...from the food, shops, entertainment, the whole experience is a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Huzzah!! So glad you had a good time. There are even "theme weekends". I would agree that if your kids didn't seem excited, then next time, come without them. I now have a season pass, so I can go whenever I want, whether it's for a full day, or a few hours, it's worth it. Yes, I do dress in period costume. Even grown-ups needs to have some play time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw the list of themed weekends and would love to go to the time travel one!! How great will the costumes be then?! Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  14. This is an absolutely amazing place. Most exciting visit in my life. First timer also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you had fun! Thank you for sharing, Viktor!

      Delete
  15. I go every year and that's been since my daughters were small and they are in their late 40's!! i love the Faire the food and the shops and PEOPLE!!! I've never had a bad time, even when it rained. I'm glad you enjoyed it!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've gone every year since I was in high school (usually twice a year). I'm 35 now and have a 10 year old son who loves it and looks forward to it more than Christmas. The faire has certainly grown since I was 17, but we look forward seeing our favorite performers every year. It never gets old. When my son was younger, I would go once with him and once without. Now, he can take to walking and doesn't require as much when he was smaller, but he's gone every year of his life. There is more to see than is possible in one day. The performers on and off stage are fantastic. We've been there on rainy days and still come home with great memories.
    Between the cheese cake on the stick, mushroom soup, Moonie, Adam the fire whip guy, and the beautiful costumes, the tickets and money spent is well worth returning year after year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, you've be able to go so many times! Everything there is so wonderful and different! Thank you for sharing your experience with the Faire!

      Delete
  17. Huzzah!! Love the Ren, it's been a "must do" on our family outing list for the past 14 years. This year will be even more exciting as we have a relative who is an actor there. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    ReplyDelete
  18. We love Bristol Renaissance Faire, been going to it for over 20 years. Really a wonderful place to visit. I see you saw one of our favorite acts, Barely Balanced. I personally love to see the amazing costumes that people come up with, and the incredible crafted items that are in the shops.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We went 3 years ago and go every year now. Let me tell you my husband is not the type to attend these sort of events but he loved it! I feel the same way as you do, I definitely should have been born in a different century. The kids seem to enjoy it just as much as I do. Thank you for sharing your story it was a great read.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I"m a long time performer at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We are lucky enough to have a lot of the same performers as Bristol. So glad you found Bristol! I have yet to go to that one. A lot of my friends from here will be out there soon. Huzzah!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I totally feel you on the being in the past life feel. I'm the same way when watching shows that transport to another time. I first went to Bristol in 2009 my very first faire even though I've always wanted to go to one before that. When I moved to Wisconsin for my husband, he took me there. I was dressed in normal clothes as I did not have a costume at the time. He had been going there for 20 years. When I walked inside, in about 10 minutes, it felt like the worse day in my life because I felt so apart from everyone who was in such amazing costume. So I made him buy a pirate skirt for me that was in one of the booths to try and fit in at least. I never went back to that place without being in costume. I love the time period but my passion is in the fantasy type dress. My husband does leatherwork as a hobby so for the 7 years for me that I've been visiting Bristol, he has come out with amazing costumes full of self taught leatherwork. We now have at least 9 different ones that we rotate on wearing each year. On top of that the people we meet there have such a big place in our hearts and are one of the reasons we go back every year because they become like our family. It's an amazing experience that im glad you got to have. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing! How cool that you have so many costumes! I think the fantasy aspect is pretty neat. I love that your husband is into it too!

      Delete
  22. So glad you enjoyed the Bristol Faire! I had the great fortune to perform there with my band three years back.

    I used to attend the NY Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY when I was in college. Loved it so much that I auditioned years later, and have performed there for fifteen non-consecutive summers. It's just as much fun being on the other side. I've had a chance to do things I never would have otherwise, from dancing the Maypole to swinging swords. Best. Job. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to work at the Faire! I'm a bit jealous that you've had so much fun working there! Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  23. This will be my third year of going to Bristol! My sister and I always wanted to go so we finally did. And we keep coming back because we loved it! We are really into RenFairss and have been going to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for years. I've also attended the Arizona Revaissance Festival for several years. Each has their own uniqueness! We always dress the part because it makes us feel like we are really back in time! Huzzah!!

    ReplyDelete