Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Michigan Renaissance Festival

I decided to head over to the Renaissance Festival with a friend and his kids today.  I'd have to say that it has been about 20 years since I've been there  and I've been meaning to go there since then  but other things ended up getting in the way.

It was first established 1979 near the junction of Dixie Highway and I-75.  In 1985, the organizers moved it to it's current location near Mount Holly.  Since they have added relatively permanent structures to their fictional village of Hollygrove (a combination of the two townships it sits between).  They try to re-create a village of the period of Elizabeth I and I think they do a pretty good job of that.  Apparently, they get about 250,000 visitors per year and many of those are in costume.
 I will have to admit that one of the major deterrents for me is the lines that will lead into the fair.
 I think we waited close to 2 hours to get in and as I was waiting in the line, I was hoping that I wouldn't miss the event I was going there for.
 A picture of the barn along the way.
 As I said, many of the people who attend the festival do so in costume.  You see many knights, lords, ladies and other fantasy creations.  It is kind of cool but I remember that at one time, they were going to discourage this but apparently that didn't last too long.
 I saw this vehicle on the way in, so I had to get a picture of it.
 In addition to the visitors dressed in costume, I think they have staff that are dressed from the period.  These people look a little more realistic.
 There were throngs of people once we actually got into the fair.  There are all sorts of people selling all sorts of things related to the period.  You can also get a variety of food there.  Some of it true to the period and some of it not.  For instance, I don't think they had Pepsi back then.
 Along the way, there are different types of acts.  If I weren't heading to the main event, I would have stuck around to take more pictures.
 Of course, the event I was interested in was the jousting.  I don't know how close they are to the real thing but it looked close enough.
 A pirate woman advertising another show.
 One of the squires charging up the crowd.
 They had four knights on the field.  Each of them would be representing a different part of the crowd, but I don't remember their names.
 This was the young upstart knight, I think he was trying to portray a ladies man.
 This guy was supposed to represent a knight from Bulgaria.
 The announcer. 
 Another shot of the young knight.
 And his mount.
 For the first event, they were supposed to get their lance through rings of various sizes.  I would imagine this wasn't much of a challenge for them.
 The rings got progressively smaller.
 The next event had a pair of knights duking it out with swords.
 I am willing to bet that they were happy it was a fairly cool day today.   I seem to remember reading about a battle where one groups of knights ended up dying from heart attacks because of all the armor they were wearing.
 Then they got prepared for the jousting.
 Which was pretty cool.  Despite all the armor and padding, I would imagine that it still hurt.
 One of the knights all decked out.
 Something tells me that they have to have at least one lance shatter during the match.  I seem to remember reading about a King who ended up dying during a match due to a shattered lance piercing him.
 The green knight losing his balance.
 Another go around.
 After all of the knights were dismounted, then they started to duke it out.
 Until we were down to a final pair of knights.
 I will have to admit that this was pretty cool.
 It seemed fairly real.
 And a champion was crowned.
 After the jousting, I wandered around the fair itself.  There were many things that were for sale.  Some of it seemed handcrafted.
 Another juggler.
 The cleaner pirate show.  They seemed pretty amusing.
 Another ware.
 This woman was doing what is called one handed juggling.  She was balancing the ball around on her hand.  I tried it but wasn't very successful.
 I kind of liked this shot.
 There were different kinds of rides for the kids.  These sort of reminded me of the sort of thing you would see at a fair from those days.
 There was a tent set up with a belly dancer.
 And the not so clean pirate show.
 One of the paintings leading up to the mermaid cove.
 And a shot of the mermaid.
 The blue knight.
 A flower girl.
Queen Elizabeth I heading out at the end of the day.

I will admit that it was pretty cool and when I go again, I will make sure that I get there earlier so I don't have to deal with as many people.  I really liked watching the jousting and I wish I would have caught an earlier show to give me a little practice.  I guess I will have to remember that for the next time.

2 comments:

Matthew Goebel said...

Henry II of France dies of tournament wounds : http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/henry-ii-france-dies-tournament-wounds

At least one has died from splinters going through the helmet

Christopher List said...

Yeah, that kind of traffic would keep me away.