Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Traveling through Medieval Times


The Grand Entry way into the medieval village of Albright
This writer recently caught a glimpse of medieval times—in Louisiana to be exact—when I spent a weekend at the Louisiana Renaissance Faire near Hammond (in south Louisiana). I didn’t even know it existed until last year when my brother and sister-in-law went for the weekend. I was easily sold when they came back with a good report on the event. I’m always up for something new and interesting.

The Royal Parade
According to the website (www.larf.org), the Louisiana Renaissance Festival is a mini-theme park that uses the European Renaissance as a jumping off point for popular entertainment, shopping, and education. With over fifty scheduled shows everyday, such as jousting and falconry, you will be entertained with comedy, drama, and action. You can meet history in person including peasants, merchants, nobles, knights, even Queen Elizabeth I, and an occasional village idiot. Over 100 shops provide very unique gifts such as real swords, handmade candles, and even the glassblowing demonstration pieces.

Weaving demonstrations
Thus I paid a visit to the Village of Albright. It is quite remarkable with dozens of permanent structures around a small lake. There are seven stages, over 100 merchants selling all kinds of wares and a cast and crew of over 300. There is so much to see and experience. It was not only perfect for a unique weekend destination but for hands-on book research. I have a future novel that will involve a Renaissance faire. :) I came away from the weekend quite inspired.

Queen Elizabeth I and me
“Dressing up” is not required, but I could not help myself. I’m an actress and I love to wear costumes of all sorts. I did plan on renting a medieval-style dress while there, but the prices were pretty steep. I plan to acquire a dress to wear for next year. This year though, I wore what I had and went as a Huntress—think the female member of Robin Hood’s gang of outlaws. Costumes are not required, but it is quite interesting to see how many people do dress up and what time period they choose to represent.

Our group of five spent Friday and Saturday nights camping at the campgrounds right next door to the medieval village. In fact, many of the faire’s entertainers stayed there as well in tents and RVs. A huge group of them gathered around a large campfire on Friday night to play music and watch the belly dancers perform. It was quite interesting and gave me a tiny glimpse of what you would think the old traveling caravans and carnivals of old were like after hours.

The Robin Hood & Maid Marian show

Our first full day was Friday and we spent most of it wandering the expansive grounds, browsing all the merchants’ shops and tents and just soaking in everything. It wasn’t until Saturday that we actually attended the shows such as jousting, falconry, glass blowing and bagpipes performance—though I did see the Robin Hood and Maid Marian show the day before and really enjoyed it.


My brother and I doing archery
Each day when the faire opens, everyone waits at the main gate to be welcomed in by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I and her court. As you enter the gate, you are handed a program of shows for the weekend as well as a map of the grounds. The main actors greet you as you begin to explore.

I did not know what I would see, but I certainly did not expect running into two friends of mine. It was unexpected and a pleasant surprise.


Me and my friend, Shaun the Scotsman

Though I did enjoy the shows, I really liked trying different foods such as a galley roll (a pastry stuffed with pepperoni and cheese), falafel (a Middle Eastern food that reminds me of a hush puppy), apple streudel (lovely European pastry with caramel and apples), a sundried tomato tortilla filled with grilled chicken and vegetables and cucumber mayo and an assortment of beverages such as lemon and ginger tea, Royal Root Beer, Wizard’s Wine (fruit punch), Cream Ale (cream soda), Orange cream soda and Raspberry Lemonade. Visitors can purchase a large blue glass bottle for $10 and receive free refills all weekend long. That’s how I tried all those flavors of soft drink.

The shows were entertaining and the demonstrations of glass blowing, weaving, candle making, etc. were fascinating. I quite enjoyed myself and I cannot wait until next year to return to the lovely village of Albright.

Have you ever been to a Renaissance faire? What unique events like this one have you attended? For writers, what unique opportunities have you had to do writing research? Please share. :)


For more information about the Louisiana Renaissance Faire which runs all weekends of November and the first two of December, visit www.larf.org.

To find a renaissance fair/festival near you, visit:
http://www.all-about-renaissance-faires.com/state_faire_info/USMap.htm 


6 comments:

  1. The Horn Player and I would love this. I'm going to try to remember this for next year. BTW...you looked every bit the 'Huntress'. Good job...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. Thank you! :) Yall would definitely enjoy it. I'll try to remind you. Have a good week!

      Delete
  2. I love the pictures! It looks like y'all had a blast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Casey! :) We did have a blast! Hope you are doing well. It's almost time for Landry's arrival. woohoo! I'm praying for you and her. Love you!

      Delete
  3. What a fun post! I love living history--and dressing up to boot. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kiersti! Thanks! We had a really great time. :) My bro and I also used to be involved with Civil War re-enactments too. Fun historic times! lol

      Delete