Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
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for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
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Online Since 1999
It's May! It's May! - The
Renaissance of May
do the simple folk do to help them escape when they're blue?"
Lady Guinevere asked King Arthur. All they could come with was
that simple folk sit around and wonder what royal folk do. To
avoid becoming blue, I decided to find out what the royal folk do
by going to the local Renaissance Festival.
It is a mere few miles through the enchanted forest to the local
Renaissance Faire where simple folk and royalty alike celebrate
the merry month of May in some most unusual ways. With Renaissance
Festivals commonplace across the county, anyone inclined to
explore the out-of-the-ordinary can probably find a place to do
so. Besides, I hadn't had a close encounter with royalty since the
time I saw the changing of the guard in London.
According to my information, festivals are a combination of period
reenactment, craft fair, food festival, and artistic performance.
As legend would have it, the festivals first started as
reenactments of the Elizabethan era, but morphed into a somewhat
bizarre celebration of mythology and times of yore. I supposed
that somewhat explains those characters running around in the
The fair seems to attract an odd assortment of people, to say the
least. Some dress up and talk in Shakespearean language because
they belong to guilds involved in historical recreation. Some
simply love what the British call "fancy dress" and
enjoy the fun of wearing unusual costumes. A few, I suspect, are
merely weird and probably should be locked up somewhere in a stone
If you are among the curious spectators, there is certainly plenty
to amuse you. There are shows with musicians, folk dancers,
magicians, fire-eaters, and improv comedians. There are games and
competitive jousting with knights in shining armor riding real
horses. I felt certain that Lancelot was waiting to scoop me up
and carry me away, but apparently he was too busy dueling to seek
my favor that day.
Spectators as well as staff are encouraged to wear period
costumes. Visitors tend to come up with some pretty outlandish
costumes and not to worry too much about authenticity. If you ever
need an excuse to dress or act strangely, this is the perfect
opportunity. Personally, I've never felt the need to dress up like
a wench or damsel, but to each his or her own.
You could probably come up with a somewhat realistic costume from
your own closet if you favor billowy sleeves, tights, and tall
boots. As luck would have it, my hoop skirt and tiara were at the
cleaners. Fortunately, most spectators do not wear costumes or try
to talk in Old English so I was not alone..
In case you are wondering, Renaissance festivals are rooted in
ancient seasonal festivals that celebrated spring. The old
traditions come from an ancient pagan period when folks believed
in magic and that spirits lived in trees. The coming of spring was
the rebirth of nature celebrated with revelry. In other words,
they had spring fever.
On the day I was at the fair, the mud left from the previous day's
showers provided an extra bit of authenticity. I could only
imagine the soggy spirits that probably came out of the woodwork
that day as actors and spectators sloshed about in the rain. Have
these people never heard of cobblestones?
I watched the performers while munching on a huge fried turkey
drumstick, also known as feasting on fowl, I believe. In addition
to food, I found a somewhat better level of crafts this year than
in past festivals. I especially liked the amber jewelry with tiny
bugs entrapped in the stone, like spirits from the past.
I know what you are thinking. I've spent way too much time at the
Renaissance Faire, and am starting to babble nonsense. Knock on
wood, and maybe I won't need therapy.
Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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