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Renaissance Festival November 11, 2022

renaissance festival

I went to visit my son a few weeks ago in Houston, home of the World’s Worst Highway System.[1]  It was a busy, whirlwind trip, and one of the things we did was go to the Texas Renaissance Festival.  Among other things, the Texas Renaissance Festival bills itself as the world’s largest Renaissance Festival because, well, Texas.  Everything is bigger in Texas.  I’m not sure how you measure those things – square acres of Faire, number of wenches per acre, or amount of turkey legs (partially) consumed.  I also can’t tell you if that claim is true, but I can tell you that it was Very Big and I was not wearing the Right Shoes.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.  The Renaissance Festival in Texas was much like Renaissance Festivals all over.[2]  You could visit Ye Olde Glassblowing Shoppe, Ye Olde Metal Works Shoppe, Ye Olde Candle Shoppe, and Ye Olde Dippin’ Dots Pavilion, located right next to Ye Olde ATM. 

Another thing it had in common with other Festivals I’ve been to is the attendees.  There was quite the diverse crowd.  A number of families with crying children, tired from all the walking were there.  I saw any number of young women wearing corsets and Stevie Nicks-esque skirts and shawls.  There were a lot of kilts and sporrans.  People wore elf ears, fox tails, witch’s hats, crowns, and all manner of costumes, both subtle and decidedly not-at-all subtle.  Despite the large number of wooden and/or horn beer steins and yard long plastic glasses filled with fruit-flavored syrup and some kind of alcohol that tasted like lighter fluid, it was a jolly, peaceful crowd.  I was glad of that, because almost everyone carried a sword.  Also, it was Texas, so it was a safe bet that a substantial percentage were also packing a modern form of heat.

No one paid much attention to anyone else’s costume or ornamentation except for the occasional compliment or ‘huzzah!’

As I walked through the crowds of fae-folk and knights and woodland creatures and other unidentifiables to get to the next booth with homespun yarn to add to my collection, I began to think how great the whole thing was.  I mean, the 90-degree heat was not great, nor were the blisters on my feet or the general lack of chairs, and I could have done without a $36.00 crappy pepperoni pizza in Ye Olde Italy, but the whole ‘go on with your bad self’ vibe of the place made me feel just a little bit better about the world as a whole.  The Texas Renaissance Festival was the opposite of Facebook and Twitter and, well, Congress, where people seem to go out of their way to criticize and ridicule and belittle.  ‘Be as freaky as you wannabe’ seemed to be the motto.  Or maybe ‘Be yourself.  There’s no such thing as weird at the Ren Fest.’

We all walk around fearing judgment and seeking approval.  If you say you don’t, I’m not likely to believe you.  Safe places to let it all hang out are few and far between.  But I’m here to tell you that there’s a bunch of acres about an hour north of Houston where I can promise you, you will not be judged for being yourself.     

[1] Seriously, driving from the airport to my son’s apartment prompted this exchange between me and my husband.  Me: “How many lanes are on this road?”  Mike:  “One and a half.  Exactly one and a half.”

[2] Except, of course, bigger.

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Renaissance Festival

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Renaissance Festival

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.

Renaissance Festival November 11, 2022