No, it’s not the kind of hangover you get from being intoxicated. I have been processing the sensory overload from spending a perfect afternoon at one of the most successful renaissance fairs in the country. In addition to the food and drinks, I had one of the best people-watching experiences of my life.
A number of performers stood seven or eight feet tall on the stilts concealed beneath their costumes but I also saw some incredibly tall and large visitors strolling along with wives that were little more than half their height. Other pairings that caught my attention was the number of same sex couples who were enjoying all the festival had to offer. Just as interesting was the variety of people in general who were paired with someone that seemed to be about as opposite from them in appearance as possible. I could only guess at the actual races and nationalities represented in this tremendous throng of people but watching them shop, eat, laugh and show their love for one another was a refreshing break from my typical day.
There were also a greater number of people in costume than I remembered from years past. The most notable were Black men; they were mostly sporting Barbarian costumes. Overall, the barbarians were pretty impressive because they had the physique to pull it off. Other notable people and costumes were couples in royal finery. I can only imagine what some of those threads must have cost. The Irish folk were also well represented. There were more men in skirts (kilts) running around the festival grounds than I have ever seen in one place. Even though there were very entertaining performances going on all over the place, most interesting to me were the people who had come out to enjoy the medieval village. After entering the gates, it didn’t matter if you were a skinny or fat nerd, the size of a dwarf or if you had to duck when passing through a doorway; that your skin was pale enough to reflect the sun into the eyes of passers by or dark enough for you to disappear in the dark shady areas; no one cared. Unusual and/or weird were the theme of the day. My self-restraint was constantly tested because all I wanted to do was snap pictures of this beautiful conglomeration of humanity.
In the midst of my renaissance hangover, I realized that that this must be what colleges want for their campuses. Imagine what I could learn given four years to engage individuals from the crowd attending that festival… Think about that before finalizing that short list of colleges.