A day trip with friends to another magical time
Recently, I took a trip to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale with a few of my good friends. Unfortunately, the fair had been closed for the last three years due to the pandemic, so this was our first chance since to enjoy what used to be a yearly tradition. Well, It was a blast! It remains one of my favorite places to go dress how I enjoy most and explore the interesting artifacts and art, gawk at people’s creative outfits, and gorge on delicious food. There is something about exploring a place so different than our own that does the soul good.
What can you expect to find there?
Well, first off, it’s the atmosphere that is so unique. Whether you’re talking about the people who came to walk around and drink and immerse themselves in the time period or even the people working there, everyone is having a good time. Like a theme park, it’s a place people are all trying to let go and enjoy themselves, so the energy is high and playful. For instance, I often wear silly shirts with sayings on them and every once in a while, someone will comment on it, but at the Ren Faire, I dress as a nobleman in blacks and reds. I get stopped every few paces with, “My lord.” Usually followed up with a bow or a tip of the head. I’m not bringing this up to brag, though I do look pretty dapper, rather to point out how willing people are to surrender to their whimsy and play along. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire also markets themed weekends for cosplay, pirates and the like, so all manner of fantasy fancy is at your fingertips.
Another reason to make the trek and get excited is the food and drink. There are many drink and food stands as you walk down the well-laid-out streets toward the eventual food court and jousting grounds. Alcohol, if that is your pleasure, is apparent in a great bounty. I, myself, love a good mixed drink or cider, and there are usually plenty to choose from. They have wine, beer, and some hardier drinks to help you loosen up the ol’ noggin. Food wise, the fair has everything you could want from soups in bread bowls, locally or specialty grown honeys, teas, coffees, steak on a stake, chocolate covered fruits, the traditional turkey legs, and much, much more. As you walk down the path, your senses will lead you to the delectable treats if your eyes are too distracted to find them. This is one area you simply could not be disappointed in, and as far as theme park or faire prices go… They’re more, but not so unreasonably so.
The shows are also a ton of fun. You can have tea with the Queen, when she’s not out in a procession to admire her realm. There are booths for knife throwing, archery, axe throwing, strong man contests, dart games, hang-man contests, and much more I’m sure I passed up. One of my favorites is a game you play with catapults vs pirate ships with a fun mouse and cat design. There are also plenty of shows if that is your thing. For instance, the Washer Women Show. It’s a bawdy show which brings song, volunteers, and tears to the eye from all the laughing you will be doing. They have a jousting grounds at the very back which is always a fun time and all of these shows are paced out perfectly as a chance to sit and relax your traveler’s feet.
The Renaissance Pleasure Faire is so popular a place that I almost always end up running into people I know. It’s a great social ground that will leave you with memories, traditions, and maybe some home-made soap when you’re all said and done. There are always a few bad things with the good, and seeing as I always seek balance, I’ll mention a few before I sign off. As well as a few tips that might just make your Ren Faire experience that much better.
While they do their best to put up tents and the booths almost always have a covering, a good deal of your walking will be out in the hot, sunny California sky. You should remember to bring sunblock, a hat, a fan, a parasol, or sunglasses to combat the heat and sun with. There is a lot to see, which means there is a lot to walk through. Be prepared with comfy shoes and be aware its almost entirely a dirt path. Parking at the beginning has always been a challenge but this year, it was even more-so. The line to drive in went over 5 blocks, and that meant many streets of cars taking all sorts of ways to get in that line. My advise is to have a little patience and make sure you arrive 30 minutes (or more) before you think you’d like to arrive.
All that said, I really hope if you live in the surrounding area you consider taking some time to head out to the fair. It’s a great time to summon a good group of friends to enjoy your time with or even a nice place to explore on your own. Oh, and a costume is not necessary, but it is a lot of fun.