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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

147: Renaissance Fair Tips

Howdy! I've been to two Renaissance Fairs now, so while I'm no expert, I can offer tips for first time visitors.

  • First off, you want to be flexible regarding which weekend you go, because if you wait until the last minute, weather might prevent your visit altogether. Ren fairs largely happen outside. You don't want to spend all day in the rain.

  • Wear sunblock, and if outside food and beverages are allowed, pack water. Stay hydrated. Consider wearing bug spray too. If you aren't a fan of the texture of sunblock, or it breaks you out, a sun hat and breathable light garments that cover your arms and legs can also protect your skin.

  • You really want to dress up. Half the fun of a ren fair is the combination of wearing your costume and checking out those of others. And you have loads of options regarding your dress. Think of the ren fair as another Halloween but themed (unless you're a devout religious person who opposes Halloween. Then it's just a celebration of traditional values). You can dress as a peasant, medieval royalty, a bard, witch, wizard, hag, pirate, nun, monk, monster, etc. The costumes don't have to be anything fancy. I generally wear a sundress, leather belt, and leather bag that fit the vibe, though I'm gradually easing into an earth-tone witchy outfit.

  • Do dress for the weather. Freezing all day isn't fun, no matter how cute your look.

  • In the same vein, wear practical footwear. I walked 17miles at my first ren fair. My feet would've been wrecked in heels.

  • If you choose to wear glitter, don't try on leather goods when shopping unless you are 100% going to buy. Really, if you're wearing glitter you shouldn't try on anything, but especially leather goods. It's not easy to get glitter of of them.

  • Bring cash. Most places take card but the 4G/5G can be notoriously weak at these events that tend to occur in very rural locales. I know from vending that when I can't reach 5G, my square reader doesn't work so I can't take card payments. You also want cash to tip the performers.

  • Bring a charged portable battery for your phone. There probably won't be outlets available for charging your device at the event.

  • Keep your phone or camera accessible because you want to take a lot of pictures. Make sure it's fully charged before leaving the house.

  • Bring hand sanitizer or baby wipes. Some ren fairs have proper bathrooms. Some have porta-potties. There can be petting-zoo types areas, riding animals, feeding birds, and you may well be eating finger food. You're going to want to means to keep your hands clean.

  • Download and print the event map beforehand, as well as a list of vendors since they're generally numbered, rather than outright listed, on the map. Maps can cost money on-site. Better to have yours ready.

  • Do a full loop before purchasing wares. This is a good rule for any event with vendors. I don't want to purchase drop shipped merchandise from overseas at a ren fair. I want to buy artisanal products from the artist, handmade and original. And, while most vendors selling merch at ren fairs are actual artists, some drop shipment sellers slip in. If, while doing the rounds, you see repeats on an item from vendor to vendor, look closer and you'll probably see a Made In China sticker. Our economy is tied with the global, and I have nothing against shopping from Chinese businesses in general, but you can get a better price online at that point. Ren fairs and other vending events are ideal for finding unique works of art. I hate seeing shoppers tricked, believing they're supporting an artist when they aren't. Doing a full lap is also good when shopping on a budget, so you don't buy something only to see a better product later that same day, after you've already spend your money.

  • Lots of artists do commission work outside of the ren fair season. If you see work you live the style of, but you desire a more personal touch, ask if they're interested in commissions and go from there. Often they have a business card and a mailing list, as well, so you can stay connected.

  • I suggest looking at what other visitors are eating beforehand, checking the event name on TikTok or a similar social media. Those reviews will save you from paying event prices on mediocre food so you can prioritize your meals around what is well liked. Everywhere will have a long line on a nice day, but you'll only be on the lines worth your time.

  • There are weapons for sale. Generally the seller will tell the buyer any rules they need to know for carrying their purchase through the event. As a rule of thumb, plan to keep blades holstered.

  • The event is generally family friendly but there will be some tame adult humor, shared by performers but also other visitors, that should go over young children's heads. The overall culture amongst the regulars is like that of a wholesome pirate. Everyone is very accepting of fandoms and fetishes, while prioritizing consent. Day drinking is common. What I'm trying to say is parents might spot "deviant" behavior or calling cards, but children won't be any the wiser. I did see a woman on a leash yesterday and a buttplug on the ground, but I doubt a child would've blinked at them. I don't imagine anyone reading my blog is offended by pride flags, kufiyah, or furries, but yes, there is a tendency for accepting people to lean liberal or leftist and all that entails. If you don't know what a furry is, don't worry about it. They aren't hurting anybody. The above is just something for parents, especially conservative parents, to keep in mind.

Everyone is there to have a good time, and so long as you abide by these tips, you're in for safe wholesome fun. Thanks for stopping by! I drop a new blog every Monday. Toodles!


Howdy! This past week I knocked out a floral watercolor, several watercolor mockups, finished that round of Soul Walker revisions, and ordered new business cards.

For my next round of edits, I want to focus on lending a different writing style to each resident soul (Soul Walker is a paranormal woman's fiction novel dealing with spiritual possession), being consistent to reflect scene changes, and I plan to cut the word count. Ideally, the round after that will focus on spelling an grammar, but as as I focus on those every round, maybe this will be the last one before I hit submit.

The watercolor mockups are floral for Mother's day. I hope to watercolor this week, as well as woodburn. My current woodburning mockups are too circular for my ovular wood discs so I need to make new ones first.

The business cards arrived and look good so those are split between my vending supplies and my purse, for on-the-go marketing. It's been a month-or-so since my last royalties update and I'm hoping the next one has more Light Step sales, to reflect changes I've made in marketing that (teaching booktok about magical realism and fabulism, while moving to call Light Step dream-like fiction, rather than "literary fiction with fabulist elements" since non-writers don't know the first, and even most writer's haven't heard of the second).

I have been approved for First Friday in downtown Bryan Texas next week, and I have Jury Duty next week, so hopefully those go well. Thanks for stopping by! I drop a newsletter every Monday. Toodles!

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