Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Renaissance Festival Family Fun & Don Lewis Tankards!

Arrival at the Faire.
Finally! This past weekend was our chance to go to the annual Renaissance Festival that comes through our neck of the woods every year. Royal Faires puts on a dandy of a festival for a solid two months every year near Apache Junction, Arizona.

This is the first year we've been lucky enough to scrape together funds and buy costumes. Wifey, my oldest three daughters and I all bought outfits from Amazon.  Here is a LIST of all the costumes we bought and used.  Wifey made costumes for the three little ones herself and saved us a few bucks.

I like to think that Ren Festivals give us a little insight as to the way things were back in that time period.  I enjoy going not only to see the clothing of that time period but to see people actually using skills from that period as well.  There's always a glass blower, soap maker, coin striker and dozens of other fantastic showcases on hand.

The official Renaissance era spans from the 14th - 17th centuries (according to Wikipedia). It was a time of blooming artesian expression from the likes of D'Vinci and Michelangelo.

Here is the Coin Striker (QuickSilver Mint) that comes to our festival EVERY year. There are only a few jobs I'd like to do at the Ren Festival...and this is one of them.

Here's a hand yarn spinner explaining that in her opinion, an average family from this time period would not have been able to afford a yarn spinning wheel. They would have had to opt for this handheld spinner due to cost and availability.

Here a young lady explains to my wife how the hand loom works:

This is just a glimpse at how large the festival "town" actually is:

I talked to a worker at one shop and she said her mom had owned the same store for 27 years. Folks actually BUY these buildings just like REAL property. If a shop is not available for purchase, you can purchase the lot and build a shop yourself (once approved). According to the Royal Faires website, it looks to me like the MINIMUM price just to rent a "cart" was $1000 for the two months that the festival is open each year. If you need electricity, that's an additional $275.

I just can't imagine making THAT much money at the festival. I mean, if you're doing it just to go and be a part of the era, I get it. Break even maybe. But if you're trying to make a living doing this? I don't see how.

One of my intentions of going this year was to take inventory of what all was being sold and see if there was a niche I could fill with my family. If you work in a "store", you get free tickets to anyone that works with you for the entire time the festival is open. Obviously, ALL my girls would be employees so the savings there would be several hundred dollars if they went to the festival several times.  But what could I sell? 

I immediately thought of the wonderful wooden handmade tankards made by Don Lewis over at Rural Revolution. I figured, if ANYTHING would sell like hotcakes at a Ren would be these awesome wooden tankards. I started wondering to myself if I could get Don to let me sell them for him at our festival and how would I get them to Arizona.

Then guess what I ran into about ten booths deep in the festival...


Guess it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Goodly Woods was a store owned by Joseph Victor and he not only made his own tankards but sold Don's too. I saw several of the "locals" walking around carrying Don's tankards. They appeared to be a staple item, as common as the cinched up boustier...and both tended to overflow (wink wink).

All-in-all, we had a blast and can't wait to go again next year. I even made a few friends...
What a cutie!

1 comment:

  1. There's a medieval/renaissance recreation group that does a large number of these activities and has a fairly large local presence.


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