Saturday was my first time going to Ren Fest and it was an interesting time. My favorite part was seeing a turtle mosey right along with the crowd. It had a house on wheels that it pulled behind, with a tiny basket for donations. The donations went to the Minnesota Herpetological society and I couldn’t resist throwing in some quarters.
I learned and enjoyed a lot, such as the following:
1. In the special event arena: Short lines = stuff that costs money. Long lines = free samples.
2. Buy your dill for a bill (pickles for $1) early in the day before the dust picks up, otherwise your half-eaten pickle will get coated in the dust from a thousand shoes. (yucky!)
3. Wear sunglasses (not a hat) no matter how much they don’t match your costume. (I was told I looked like a cross between an elf from Lord the Rings and someone from the Matrix. Lord of the Matrices?)
4. When trying to find other people, insist they tell you everything they see around them, big or small. Do the same for them. It’s hard to tell by shouting out landmarks, so you have to name everything from “the shop that sells shiny shields” to “the Crown stage” and “we’re by the male harpist”.
5. Stop and watch as many shows as you can when you happen upon them. The day is long and your legs can only take so much walking.
6. As exciting as the place and people and costumes are, take more photos of your group and yourself than you do of neat things. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Be willing to participate. This is not a spectator sport!
8. Be prepared that anything can happen to you if you get called up on stage. The boundaries are very loose at Ren Fest.
9. Not only bring cash, but bring lots of quarters. I was glad I had some to give to various performers (and the turtle!), plus you can make it through some of the food lines quicker if you have exact change. (Why they insist on charging $5.75 for some things instead of $6 I’ll never know.)
10. Be prepared to spend ridiculous amounts of money on water. Don’t get dehydrated!
My cousin came over the night before and taught me how to sew so that we could make coin purses to match our dresses. Preparing our costumes and getting ready was almost as much fun as the festival itself.
Going to Ren Fest was like stepping back in time into another world — except with t-shirts. It’s a little pricey, but I’d encourage everyone to go at one point in their life if they can.