Friday, May 9, 2008

Tennessee Renaissance Festival

Last week I stepped into my time-travel machine (a big yellow school bus filled with middle school students) and journeyed to the 16th century, aka the annual Tennessee Renaissance Festival. This was my first encounter with a renaissance festival. Wow, it almost seemed like I had stepped back in time, sort of like reading a favorite novel.

After alighting from our time-travel machine, our first stop was the jousting field. This was the most popular event with the crowd. Knights on horseback raced across the field in full armor. I immediately thought of one of my favorite movies, A Knight’s Tale. My younger companions must not be great fans of the movie because they were done with the joust quickly and ready to move on to perusing the vendors’ wares, mainly the jewelry.

The fire-eating comedian was a big attraction. I must say this is the first time I have ever seen someone perform this feat in person. Very impressive. I wonder if he had to go to school to learn this or if he apprenticed? My companions were completely enthralled with this, perhaps because lots of middle school boys were also at this show.

Queen Elizabeth I was in attendance to take commoner’s questions on life as a royal in her day. To take a quiz to learn more about the queen, click here.

There is also a real live castle on the grounds open for tours.

If you could travel to any time period in a real live time machine, where would you go?


Shauna Roberts said...

Ancient Sumeria.

Much as I love reading about the Middle Ages and Renaissance, premodern Europe probably would not make a great vacation trip. One would have to have the money to dress as a well-off tradesman (wouldn't want to go as a woman because of all the restrictions on them; the lower classes lived short, brutish lives, and the upper classes were fairly well known to each other and had exacting manners, so it would be hard to pass as one). And even then, I wouldn't want to put up with the stink and awful food.

Rae Ann Parker said...

SHAUNA, I agree that the Middle Ages would not be my ideal destination. I think it would be interesting to see New Orleans or New York City in their early days.

Sphinx Ink said...

Rae Ann, I left a comment on this entry a couple of days ago, but Blogger must have eaten it. Anyway, what I said was,

The eras I'd like to return to would be Regency England and the High Middle Ages. As for Shauna's reality check about the difficulties of living in premodern Europe, I choose to believe that if I had the means to travel through time, I'd also have the means to somehow fit in with the natives. Incidentally, a wonderful novel about time travel that addresses these issues is DOOMSDAY BOOK by Connie Willis. I highly recommend it.

I haven't been to a RenFest in years. There's a big one that's held in Hammond, Louisiana, in November every year--each weekend--but I haven't made it there yet. It's a easy drive from my home in Metairie, so maybe I'll try to get there this year. I have a cousin in California who's been seriously into the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) for years--they're the people who put on and appear in the RenFests. She and her husband met through SCA, and now have three children...the whole family participates in the SCA events. I think taking on the persona of someone from the past is really cool. Lot of work, though, because they try hard to be authentic.

Tom said...

After talking to my Dad, I think I'd like to try to 50's. He told me it was just a really good decade. And since I like a short haircut and wear jeans and a t-shirt most of the time, I suppose I'd fit in pretty good. I've been called old fashioned on more than one occasion. Oh, Ladies, belated Happy Mother's Day.

Shauna Roberts said...

If you vacation in early New Orleans, get your doctor to prescribe some chloroquine before the trip. Yellow fever was a big killer when the mosquitoes were active.

I tagged you for a meme over at my blog today—