By HANNAH NIEDERRITER – Student contributor
Renaissance fairs, events combining elements of fantasy, history, and science fiction, are a wonderful summer and/or early fall day trip. They are not only a place to let your true nerdy colors show with fantastical costumes, but a place of friendship, laughter, and entertainment. While there are a variety of renaissance and medieval fairs across the country, this article focuses on the Great Lakes Medieval Faire (GLMF) in Rock Creek, Ohio (about a two-hour car ride from most areas near Cranberry).
From the moment people (and the occasional dog) entered the fairgrounds, there were a plethora of vendors selling everything under the sun – from handcrafted swords to stained glass. Upon viewing booths, attendees were seen inspecting chain mail, trying on silver jewelry, chatting with workers, or even bringing out some bills to purchase something that caught their fancy. As mentioned, some weapons, jewelry, or pewter figures were crafted at the fair or by the vendors themselves.
In addition to the possible purchases, the fair schedule included events throughout the day. Some of these performances included jousting, highland games, fire eating, singing, comedy shows, and glass blowing demonstrations. The majority of these acts had multiple showtimes to allow many visitors to spectate. Audience participation was also a key concept for many of the performers.
In between strolling about and attending shows, people could stop by and get a bite to eat at either of the two food courts. Turkey drumsticks, fresh baked goods, and smoothies were all popular choices.
Before departing the GLMF, visitors were encouraged to stop by and enjoy the pub sing. Each musical act, as well as a couple of the comedic acts, gathered to sing and play songs of merriment. A few of these musicians included Celtic Mayhem, Michael Manderen, and Silent Lion. With a toast and the blast of a horn, the day at the fair concluded.
Renaissance fairs are more than just costumes and performances; they bring high spirits to those young and old, rich and poor. Friendships are forged, laughs are heard far and wide, and memories are created that will last a lifetime.
For those who haven’t considered attending, these festivals are positively worth a chance. Who knows, you may even become an annual attendee like myself.
Hannah Niederriter is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.