One of the items on my bucket list was to attend a renaissance festival. I’ve attended a pirate festival before and had an amazing time, but going to a ren fest has been on my radar for a while. This past weekend I got to do just that, at the Oxford Renaissance Festival in Woodstock, Ontario, with my friends Lizz and Nicole. And while the weather was not on our side, it was still a great time! We were determined to have fun, rain be damned!
We attended on Saturday June 27, and it was rainy and gross most of the day. I really wanted to go in costume, but changed my mind at the last minute since it was pretty chilly. I regret not going in costume anyway, since almost every fest-goer was dressed up! I still got lots of compliments on my crazy umbrella and wacky rubber boots.
The Oxford Ren Fest featured tons of vendors, fantastic entertainment, and great food. Not all of the entertainment was able to perform on Saturday due to safety concerns from the weather (including the birds of prey and the jousting event) but we still saw performances by Men In Tights, The Flying Freakshow, a great Celtic band called The Devil’s Drink, and an aerialist and fire performer from Illuminair Entertainment.
No trip to the ren fest would be complete without snacks, and we gorged ourselves on apple fritters and tornado potatoes. (You can see from the photo below how very rainy it was!)
And, of course, we had to come home with some souvenirs of our adventure. Lizz and Nicole chose a flower crown and mermaid crown respectively, but I went for a bit different route. I was inspired by all the amazing costumes that I saw (everything from fairies to warriors to even Dr. Who), and noticed that the similar thread was what I call the “ren fest utility belt.” Everywhere I looked, festival-goers were wearing all their gear attached to their belts (leather or drawstring pouches, frogs and holsters for their weapons, even metal or pewter mugs for handy impromptu mead-consumption), keeping their hands free for whatever came their way. So I picked up a red leather pouch from The Dragon’s Den and a Slytherin-esque wand holster from The Hungarian Wand Shop (to hold my wand that I got from MacFie’s Wizard Shop at the Pirate Festival a few years ago). Next time I go to a ren fest, I’ll be properly kitted out!
I cannot WAIT to go back again next year. Nicole and Lizz were lucky to both have Sunday free and were able to go back the next day and experience the fest with less mud and muck! But even so, I had a fantastic time and am looking forward to the next fest!
Are you planning on attending a renaissance festival? Here are my top 5 tips to make the most of your time there!
- Bring cash. Some vendors will accept credit cards, but food vendors won’t, and it’s just easier to have cash handy. Plus, if you have to use the ATM, you’ll be charged a fee.
- Go in costume, no matter the weather! If it’s raining, wear rubber boots and carry an umbrella. It will be WAY more fun in costume!
- Give yourself lots of time to see everything. There are tons of activities to do and it can get overwhelming.
- Ditto for vendors. Make a promise to yourself to check out all the vendors before committing to a purchase.
- Go in with a sense of fun and adventure. Yes, ren fests are super geeky. And they’re AWESOME. Everyone is super friendly and if you keep a smile on your face, you will only attract more fun!
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