Happens every August to late October in Maryland.
Always so much fun! Especially the cute guys with great accents and clothes!

Lots of old fashioned food like huge turkey legs, soup in a bread bowl, and most importantly ye old soft drinks.

Lots of games too! Including drench a wench, who shouted out so many obsenities that it's no wonder any parents let their kids watch. Rock climbing, cross bows, axes, and various ways for men to show their manlyhood.

My favorite activity is Jacob's ladder, where you have to climb up a suspended ladder and ring a bell. It's actually really hard cause you end up loosing your balance and flipping over. I finally did it this year! But all I won was a stupid certifacte for a free drink and all I got was Pepsi (grr...).

Anyway, great fun for all the family!
A gathering of artisans, athletes, historians, dreamers and geeks the Renaissance Festival is so much more than weirdos who wish Halloween lasted longer. Imagine driving over an hour across highways and down dirt roads to finally arrive at a huge field of rolling hills. Only you can't see the grass for all the shiny cars parked in rows, with dozens more waiting to squeeze into that last open space. You hop out of your vehicle, grab your loved one's hand and walk quickly towards the trees at the edge of the field. Eventually, depending on how lucky you were with parking, you see it. Your destination. The huge walls built of wood and stucco that keep invaders from destroying the town within.

Ambling between the modernly dressed are the dreamers and historians. Those who wish they could be a princess with a towering pink hat swathed in sparkling gauze and those trained to stay in character as they barrel through crowds in chain-mail, kilts, or pirate garb depending upon the weekend. Occasionally you'll glimpse a jester or the town lunatic running amok. If you're lucky you see the full procession of the King and Queen and their royal entourage. Then again, that might not be so lucky as the royals can be greatly offended by the presence of commoners. Especially if you're a female dressed in male garb.

All of this can occur within or without the protective walls, as often there will be a few entertainers milling about the gated entrance. More often than not, though, you will see the royals within the town, perhaps at an afternoon performance at the Globe Theater or a morning round of caber tossing. Some things you won't see outside the walls, however, are the wonderful crafts handmade by artisans who've set up shop in the permanent buildings that make up the town. Watch the glass blower as he transforms molten glass into a wonderfully swirled champagne flute or flower vase; the coin maker as he stamps interesting designs into copper, silver or gold; the costume maker as she stitches leather, cotton or felt into shoes, hats, dresses and more; or, the potter as he creates bowls, lamps, and goblets for you to drink beer and mead from. There are many crafters, from book makers and herbalists to those that specialize in leather whips and bondage gear, present at the Festival.

Aside from buying goodies and watching glass take form you can also participate in games and chow down on some yummy food. Tear into a roasted turkey leg barbarian style as you watch the sword swallower, go through the museum of oddities, toss a coin into the cursing well or gaze at the falconer as he displays his bird's talent. The foods are decidedly not Renaissance fare, unless they truly did eat steak on a stake, cheesecake on a stick, italian ice, apple dumpling with ice cream and the other mouth watering, artery clogging foods they provide. As Multi-creamer likes to remind me "the purpose to go is to eat your way through the ages," regardless of historical accuracy.

The above description was formed from my personal experiences with the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Md. At the festival they celebrate not only the English Renaissance, but the Scottish, Italian and French as well. Each weekend has a theme, each season an overall theme. You can watch jousting, caber tossing and more. Buy crystal, wooden tables, and more. That is the fun of the festival, it is more than you anticipate.

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