A day at the faire

By Michael Howlett

October 10, 2013

How many of you out there are into role-playing? Okay, I think I better clarify something; I’m not talking about playing “Stranger at the Door,” “Demented Gynecologist”, or “Tied up at the Office.” Now, those are fine games, but I’m talking about something else entirely. I’m talking about dressing up as a knight or a damsel, traipsing about in public, and saying things like “Have ye disposed of any dragons lately?”

Yes, that’s right; I’m talking about the nerd triumphant - Medieval Faires, Renaissance Faires and Highland Games. You know where people of every stripe (as long as they are nerds or geeks) dress up like people from long-long-ago and stroll around like what they are doing is completely normal.

I’m sure some of you who do this sort of thing are getting quite upset with me at this point, but hold on ye nerds of anger, I too have done this sort of thing. Yea, a couple of weeks ago, the Mistress of the Manor, my grandson who henceforth will be known as the Young Master, and I took part in the Medieval Faire and Highland Games at Green Hill Park in Salem.

Now, we didn’t just attend the faire, no siree, we dressed for the occasion. Since this event was both a Medieval Faire and Highland Games, the first decision we had to make was what type of dress we wished to don – medieval gear or kilts.

Since my legs aren’t as sexy as they used to be and the Young Master was opposed to wearing one of the plaid skirts once favored by the Mistress of the Manor, we opted for medieval dress. It was then time for the Mistress of Manor to work her magic at the sewing machine, and that she did, sewing away just like just like the Mistresses of the Manor of ye old days.

On top of that I used a couple of items I have held on to for over 40 years, proving that it’s never could go throw things away. One of those items was some knee-high boots that I hadn’t worn since sometime in the mid-70s and the other was a small pouch in which, during my care-free youth, held my concert enhancement stuff.

Now, I didn’t make a big deal out of my old gear proving useful after lying dormant for so long, because I was afraid that the Mistress of the Manor, whose mantra is “throw it away,” might take offense. If that were to happen, I feared that my outfit would go from one worn by a strapping medieval fellow to one worn by a milkmaid.

Once we arrived at the faire, I was both enthused and a little disappointed that everyone wasn’t dressed in the spirit of the event. There were some amazing outfits, but only about 60 percent of those present were properly dressed.

However, there was still much fun to be had. You could shoot arrows, throw axes, fight with swords and pet Falcons at the faire, while the Highland Games consisted of the caber toss, stone put, and sheaf toss. The Highland events were much more strenuous than the faire events, since you were tossing a telephone pole in one event, a 20-pound stone in another, and using a pitchfork to heave a bundle of straw weighing 20 pounds over a bar much like one used in pole vaulting.

There was also music, food and plenty of gear, both of the medieval and Highland variety to be bought. A word of warning, it you attend one of these faires and wish to buy something from one of the artisans, make sure your debit card is in good shape. Medieval stuff is not cheap.

After a day of medievaling it up, we headed home. When we arrived in Hillsville, we made a stop at a local business. Now, the Mistress of the Manor and the Young Master were smart enough to bring a change of clothes, so they were dressed appropriately for modern times, not so for me.

As we were looking around the store, I noticed a fellow eyeing me. Finally, he came up and said, “I’ve just got to know. Why are you dressed like that?”

I told him of our day spent at the medieval faire.

He replied, “I only live a couple of miles from the mental hospital in Marion and I thought you might need a ride home.”

We laughed about it, but all I can say is, it’s a good thing I had left my broadsword in the car. We medieval types take umbrage to the silly folk of modern times.