Whether it’s your first or fiftieth festival, a Renaissance fair can be a great way to explore and immerse yourself in the traditions of the past, play dress-up for a day, and spend time outdoors with your friends and family. But what should you know about Renaissance faire etiquette? From respecting vendors and performers to dressing the part, here’s our compilation of Dos and Don’ts for your next Ren faire. Let’s dive in!
Firstly, respecting performers and artisans is a fundamental aspect of enjoying a Renaissance Faire: many of these performers take time out of their lives to create an immersive and fun experience for all attendees, so if you’re going to engage with them, make sure to be attentive and appreciative. Avoid interrupting their performances and show appreciation through applause and kind words, and extend common courtesy by keeping your phone off and not talking through the performance with friends. Similarly, when visiting artisans' booths, respectfully appreciate the craftsmanship and effort that goes into their work, and avoid haggling where you can.
The same respect applies for photography: while it's tempting to capture the amazing costumes and scenes around you, always ask for permission before taking photos of festival-goers. Many attendees spend a lot of time and effort on their costumes and are usually happy to pose for a photo, but it’s still important to respect their privacy and ask first; consent is key in maintaining the respectful and welcoming atmosphere of the faire.
Just as you’re respectful to the performers and festival-goers, always remain respectful to vendors at stalls. It’s also important to remember that many vendors at Renaissance Faires won’t be equipped with card facilities, so bringing cash is essential - as is making a fuss about cash only policies! Plus, from artisan crafts to delicious food, having cash on hand will ensure that you can partake in all the faire has to offer. Plus, tipping performers and vendors is another welcomed gesture, as many of them rely on these tips as part of their income.
If you’ve already attended one, you’ll know that Renaissance faires are rich with activities, performances, and immersive experiences; from archery and axe throwing to dancing and drumming workshops, there’s something for everyone, so make sure to get involved! Putting yourself out there and engaging in these activities not only enriches your own Ren Faire experience, but you’re also supporting the artisans and performers who work hard to make the faire a success.
While not mandatory, embracing Renaissance attire is a significant part of the Ren Faire experience; when else can you - as an adult - get to dress up as a 16th century European noble or royal? For the best experience, we’d recommend dressing to the nines - and at Holy Clothing, we can help you do just that! We offer a wide range of cosplay and Renaissance dresses - including plus size Renaissance dresses - made from scratch and custom-designed for you right here in the US.
Finally, if you’re planning on attending a Renaissance Faire with children and family, it's essential to re-frame the outing in consideration of their needs. For example, you’ll want to make sure you dress your little ones in comfortable, age-appropriate costumes that allow freedom of movement and won’t irritate their skin. You should also consider potential weather constraints: pack essentials like sunscreen, water, and snacks,in the summer, and umbrellas and waterproof jackets during the colder months.
It can also be fun to engage your kids with the educational and interactive activities on offer at the Faire, but do also be mindful of their limits - both physical and in terms of content.
In addition to your kids' comfort, it's also important to consider other festival-goers; for example, if a child becomes loud or unruly while watching a performance, it’s your responsibility as a parent to take them aside for a moment and address their needs calmly and firmly. Finally, it can be a good idea for security reasons to establish a meeting point in case anyone gets lost, such as a vendor’s stall or the eating area.
Given that many Renaissance Faires are held primarily outdoors, it’s important to consider the climate - but bad weather doesn’t mean you have to ruin your look! Bringing a cloak or a period-appropriate rain poncho can keep you dry while also adding some flair to your outfit.
You should also consider the weather when attending a summer Renaissance faire; the warmer months can be a haven for mosquitoes and other insects, especially in the evening or in wooded areas. Make sure to bring bug spray to help keep the pests at bay.
Finally, the food at Renaissance Faires is one of the best parts of the historical experience; from giant turkey legs to hearty stews and sweet meads, it’s the perfect time to tuck in and enjoy what’s on offer. And while it might be tempting to stick to foods that you know, don’t be afraid to try something new - if your ancestors loved it, why wouldn’t you!