Posted in Geeking Out, Learning Things

Corsets and Heat Don’t Mix…and Other Things I Learned from The Renaissance Festival

Yesterday I attended and survived my very first trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and, as expected, a merry time was had. Merry enough to where I’m already excited to go next year. And as is the case of any new thing I experience, I learned some very valuable lessons. For instance:

1. These Turkey Drumsticks Are Not Your Usual Thanksgiving Fare

One of the first things we did upon arrival to the festival was get in line for our lunch, aka The Turkey Drumsticks. Now, I need these things were big, but you don’t really understand the magnitude of what you’re about to injest until you’re actually holding one in your hand. It’s like when an actor wins an Oscar for the first time. They run up on stage and are handed the award, and the first thing they say is, “Wow, this is a lot heavier than I imagined.”

lot heavier.

Well, that’s what the Renaissance Turkey Drumstick is like. Seriously, the thing probably weighs close to three pounds. Three pounds of tender, juicy, greasy as all hell, hot turkey meat for you to eat without the help of any utensils. It’s quite filling, and I had to pass the rest of mine to my husband to finish because I couldn’t eat another bite. But you really only do it for the experience, because when else can you walk around eating a giant turkey leg and actually blend in with the rest of the crowd? Huzzah!

2. Some Men Really Do Like to Wear Tights

I wasn’t surprised that more women came dressed in costume than men. I mean, we get to wear pretty dresses and wings and show our cleavage while men don’t have many options other than dressing like a pirate and wearing a bandana on their heads. However, I was surprised by the number of men who fully embraced the wearing of tights. And not just tights, but codpieces as well. Oh yes, they’re not just for baseball players. And these men wear them – and the tights that cover them – with pride. Huzzah!

3. Don’t Do Free Beer Tasting on an Empty Stomach

This weekend’s theme at the Renaissance Festival was Shamrocks and Shenanigans, and the Free Beer Tasting was sponsored by Guinness. For those of you who have never participated in Free Beer Tasting, it’s really quite simple: just sit down and listen to someone explain the history of featured beers while they pass around about 3 or 4 oz of different kinds of beers. Since it was sponsered by Guinness, we were treated to samples of Harps, Smithwicks (pronounced “Smitticks”), Guinness Stout, and Guinness Extra Stout, all which followed a delicious pre-drink sample of Smirnoff’s Mandarin Corkscrew (which I could easily have for breakfast everyday).

Patiently awaiting our beer.

Now, five samples don’t really seem like a lot to some people. But you’re drinking these samples in a very short amount of time. Add up all the samples and you’re drinking 20oz of beer in about 15-20 minutes. Again, may not seem like a lot. But I’m a total light-weight, and the effects of the beer hit me as soon as I stood up and realized all I had in my stomach was some turkey meat from two hours ago. Huzzah!

4. Don’t Make Fun of Fainting Couches – You May Just Need One

In the morning before the seven of us headed out, we had all gathered at Lady Elizabeth’s dwelling (aka my friend’s house) for a lovely breakfast of quiche, muffins, fruit, and juice. At that point I was all decked out in my corset and skirt, and feeling quite skinny and amazing. After my second muffin, I joked about how I wish I could wear a corset all the time because it sort of holds everything in, but how I would probably need a fainting couch because back in the day corsetted women used to pass out all the time from lack of oxygen, therefore needing a couch on which to pass out.

Little did I know that I almost needed one myself. After standing in the heat and drinking numerous ounces of free (and purchased) ale with nothing but turkey meat in my stomach, I began to feel faint and sweaty and actually saw spots in front of my face. Luckily a bench and Lady Elizabeth came to my aide and removed said corset – just like Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean! – and after a long guzzle of water, I was good as new (sans corset). Bottom line: you may feel amazing in your Renaissance Spanx, but make sure you have back-up help. Huzzah!

5. You Don’t Get Dirty. You Get DIRTY.

The Renaissance Festival is held outdoors in a gigantic open field, and to make you feel like you’re actually living in Renaissance times (despite the fact everyone is holding an iPhone), there are no roads and hardly any grass to walk on. All that’s left to walk on is DIRT. Lots and lots and lots and lots of dirt. And when thousands of people are walking on lots of dirt, the air tends to get dusty. Now, you don’t really realize this as you’re partaking in the festivities. You’re drinking, laughing, eating, shopping…you don’t have time to look at your arms to see if they’re a shade darker than they were before you left that morning.

And then you get home. You’re standing in your house, back in civilization, back under normal lighting. And you notice that you’re tan. Oh, wait. That’s not a tan. That’s not from the sun. That’s a layer of dirt. And you realize that you have dirt coming out of every oriface of your body. You blow your nose. BLACKNESS comes out. You take your costume off. You have to vacuum where you just stood. You take a shower. The bathtub turns gray.

And then you feel amazing. Huzzah!

So the rules for next year are quite simple: Bring handwipes for Turkey Leg, eat more (but drink just as much), convince husband to wear tights (won’t happen), and tie corest a half an inch looser (maybe). Unfortunately, nothing can be done about the dirt. But hey, it might rain next year! Then you can play in the mud!




I have way too much information floating around in my head, which is why I write things down. I find that books, movies, music, and television are much more interesting than my local news.

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