The Kansas City Renaissance Festival starts tomorrow, so I’m offering advice for surviving RenFest season. Let me start this off by saying that I don’t like the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. It’s nothing against the people who put it on. It’s nothing against the Kansas City production, itself.
I’m a guy who doesn’t like period movies and cannot stand Shakespeare plays, so it’s only natural that I don’t care for an annual festival of pretend antiquity. That said, sometimes your friends and loved ones drag you – kicking and screaming and biting and crying – to RenFest, and you have no choice because you are either too weak to fight the chainmail-clad uber-nerds or because you are such a loving person that you are willing to do anything that brings your spouse or family joy.
Either way, you’re weak. Let’s get on with this:
1. Don’t go. “But it’s for charity,” they’ll say. Great. Write a check and stay home. “But it’s fun,” they’ll lie. RenFesters will say or do anything to get you to go, because they believe that if they can just get you there, you will loosen up, enjoy yourself and begin speaking in a horrible Ole-Midwestern-English accent as you start reaching in your pocket and asking what sort of fairy book has landed in your pocket every time your phone rings.
Do you want to be the drunk guy slurring “uh muh gawd, suur, m’laydie’s been roight awl alooong. This centoory es ahmayyzing, m’lord!” Don’t be that guy. Just don’t go.
2. Don’t say “Renaissance Faire.” If you grew up in another area, Renaissance Faire may have been your local version, but in Kansas City, RenFaire sounds as foreign as Kittycorner or Uff Da. Just say RenFest.
3. Get Drunk. If you are weak, and you have failed to squirm out of an invitation, you have but one option – alcohol. If you’re underage, that really has to suck for you. I have no advice to help you out. If you are of age, there are plenty of vendors willing to make your day more tolerable, but they’ll do it in really obnoxious ways. They’ll try to sell you ale and meade. Find one that sells Boulevard, and the day will work out okay.
Don’t worry about getting rip-roaring drunk, either. That’s the only way you’ll make it through with your sanity intact. Also, even the people who enjoy this thing are either also drunk or acting drunk. The silver lining to this cloud of unwashed body odor is that EVERYONE is a fool, so if you are two sheets to the wind, nobody really notices.
4. Pre-Drink. Beer is expensive in the Whatever-teenth century, so drink up before you leave. Your friend who is insisting on taking you will understand and be willing to play designated driver.
5. Don’t Bring Children. My parents made the mistake of taking me to RenFest when I was a kid, and I will never forget it. They told me it would be fun. They told me there would be rides. I was expecting a roller coaster or something, but they closest they had was a big sweaty, stubbly nerd in tights.
Everything there costs money and is expensive to just about anyone in a multi-child household. The only thing I remember enjoying was a maze, and I know that was horrible for my parents, because I was BAD at mazes and took what seemed like an hour to find my way through. They were hot and pissed by the time I got out.
If you bring children, the only way to hide them from their own disappointment will be to buy turkey legs and sodas and tickets to games and all kinds of sparkly things they will never need or use until they day reaches its end or your pocketbook does. It’s just not worth it.
emu turkey legs. This might be the only RenFest thing I can really get behind.
7. Don’t buy other people gifts. My wonderful partner goes to the Renaissance Festival and thinks: “I bet Adam would LOVE that for Christmas.” This thought is wrong. Every. Time.
If you think “I bet _____ really needs an crystal emerald frog sitting on a stone celtic knot,” remember that it’s just the meade talking and walk away.
8. Don’t buy yourself gifts. Remember that you’re drunk to survive, not to enjoy. You don’t need a wood carving of an elf fighting a troll. You don’t need a chainmail jockstrap. You will never actually use or need a sword. Put it down, and walk away, you drunk idiot.
9. Don’t use that sword you just bought on a drunken bender. Seriously, who sells alcohol and deadly weapons at the same location? America! You must remember that you aren’t in Nerd-teenth Century England. You’re in America. America, where cops might kill you while you are unarmed. America, where we don’t ACTUALLY have sword fights. America, where we don’t really have a king, and if you challenge the king, you won’t ACTUALLY become the new king.
10. Don’t become the king. Even if you have beheaded the king and his royal court in a drunken melee, you should abdicate your throne immediately. Don’t let them convince you to get fitted for the royal robes and crown. You’re better than this. You have that great job in an air conditioned office and a 401K plan.
Just… just.. don’t become one of them. Come back to reality, man. Just don’t go in the first place.