Renaissance Faire puzzles Pennsylvania student

In an editorial for the Kutztown University Keystone, journalism student Nate Carrick ponders what makes human beings turn to fantasy as an escape after a visit to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Carrick writes:

"I noticed that wandering around amid the costumed actors were patrons dressed in garb as well. Paying customers who felt they somehow needed to be a part of the show, who didn't quite realize that they are just the audience. One man, draped in burlap monk robes, had shaved the crown of his head. I followed him from the pirate knives shop to the funnel cake stand, wondering the whole time, what must his co-workers think? Larry from accounting dresses up in ridiculous clothes, shaves part of his head and goes to the same play every weekend where he pretends to be part of the cast and wastes his money on overpriced, totally useless trinkets."

Carrick is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Keystone.

It is sad to me that this

It is sad to me that this students views seem rather closed minded, thankfully they are an English/professional writing major seeker and not apart of the psychology department or I’d fear them being the future presecriber of unneeded medication.

Having never been to the faire he speaks of I can not comment on how factual he is but having worked in three Renaissance faires (smaller week long type) I can say that to start, from my experience, a faire tends to be comprised of enough events, shows, and so on that it is worth it to a person to purchase a pass for the duration of it’s time being open. Granted 25 days is a lot but it must have its purpose.

Being on the working side of such an event it was odd to see patrons dressing up as well at first and while I agree there are those who are delusional in their costuming there are those that want to be apart of the show and it can be a way to get hired for those who wish to go that far. It’s also a place for those who do SCA, Living History, what have you to do it in another setting, maybe do some covert name dropping of their organization and meet others who are into it.

It is also insulting to suggest that all Renaissance faires are to blame for the patrons who decide to be apart of the act and that the faire is out to swindle these people. The two local faires I have worked in are non for profit and like the SCA we are there for historical education. Trust me the faire can not make enough to get rich and aside from maybe those Disney style eat dinner and watch jousting shows local Renaissance shows will not. Yes there are vendors there, just as the SCA has its own and while there are vendors who sell fantasy junk there are also many who sell hand made crafts and historical type items. This is a good way for locals to make some thing of a living.

I believe the student also needs to go take a class on American economy or some thing that might remind him that America is based in Capitalism which requires Consumerism. For the economy to work people must have needs/wants and these must be met with goods. There is a lot more at stake in arguing the ups and downs of that reality then there are at pointing fingers at escapism which is the product of the culture not the culprit.

It is sad to me that this

This guy's problem is that he doesn't understand that different people have different ideas of what is fun. He can't get why someone would pay to go to a RenFaire, or a Trek con, or a cruise ship, or whatever, and concludes that therefore these people are being duped. This is absurd, of course. The person who buys a RenFaire season pass knows exactly what he is buying and has made an informed choice to spend his money this way. That is is not how this writer (or I) would choose to spend money is irrelevant.

Hopefully, this is merely youth and parochialism. One of the main purposes of an education is to teach that not everyone does things like they do it back home, and that this isn't because they really should be doing things that way but haven't yet figured out how. One would hope that by his junior year he would have noticed this, but what the heck.

Rouland Carre

Renaissance Faire puzzles Pennsylvania student

Here lies a major difference between the Faire-goers and the SCA folk. We don't see the same "play" twenty-five days in a row. Each event is new; the action changes; the participants are different. We don't wander from junk stall to junk stall. We make things - pottery, clothing, scrolls. We interact in fencing, heavy weapons, dancing, archery and much more. We don't pretend to be part of the cast. We ARE the cast, the director, the producer, the "stagehands" and staff. It's lots more fun!