A First Timer’s Magical Day at the Mid-South Renaissance Faire
By Stephanie Madden
As the lead nerd for Nerd Nite Memphis (shameless self-promotion), I often feel like a fraud for my lack of experience with certain pockets of nerd culture. I hadn’t seen Star Wars or played Mario Kart until I started dating my (now) husband four years ago (Moo Moo Meadows is the best level and I’ll fight you over it). I was completely lost during the Q&A part of the Nerd Nite presentation about Dungeons & Dragons involving the bard. And while I know that I shouldn’t wear a red shirt and that I must ‘live long and prosper,’ I’ve still never seen Star Trek.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I even brought Nerd Nite Memphis to town if I’m such a fake nerd (ferd). Well, the reason is that I’m a huge nerd for watching other people nerd out, find their passions, and just be their weird and wonderful selves. Therefore, when I had the chance to rectify my lack of Renaissance Faire experience, I seized it thanks to the Mid-South Renaissance Faire! And I brought along a few additional Ren Faire noobs as well.
My friend Sharon (the princess), the only experienced Ren Fairer among us, drove me (the outcast), Juan (the rebel), and Jess (the brain) to Millington in her trusty stead Olaf. As we pulled into the USA Stadium stables, the heavens unleashed a rainy fury upon us. Ever the resourceful knights, we decided to consult our magical map from the House of Google and discovered the Old Millington Winery only a couple of miles from our current location. We waited out the rainstorm with a wine tasting and bought a few bottles for our return journey home. Properly vinomadefied, we decided try our hand at the Ren Faire again.
When we returned the rain had stopped…HUZZAH!!
Upon entering the Faire, we were greeted with the latest news and strange looks at our far-too-contemporary fashion.
Never ones to half-ass anything, Jess and I decided to adorn our brain cages with some festive flower crowns. After spending way too much time and money picking out the perfect head gear, we fit in much better with the crowd and had fully begun our Ren Faire transformation (side note: I have definitely cleaned my house and walked my dog in the flower crown since this day because it rocks).
Next, we looked at the various wares for sale. While we weren’t ready to invest in corsets and full Renaissance garb just yet (maybe next year!), we picked up some delicious jams from a fine gentlewoman. These sorts of details made me laugh throughout the day.
To get into the true spirit of the Ren Faire, though, we knew that we had to find the food. Of course, giant turkey legs and mead were on the menu. When in Old England…
Not only did we enjoy the sights and tastes of Ren Faire, but we also enjoyed the sounds. We stopped by the music tent to hear some delightful Renaissance music. And who do I see on stage? None other than my yoga instructor in his band Wind, Wood & Wire (hey, Steve!) looking great in his puffy shirt.
In true fashion, though, the Mad Hatter crashed the music tent and provided a playful nuisance throughout the Faire!
Our final stop of the day was to stop by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) outpost and then watch the live-action jousting. I was excited to see what SCA was up to as we had severalne-umembers attend our Nerd Nite on leather working and have a few presentations from that group on our fall speaker lip!
Overall, I had a great time at my first Ren Faire! The small, close-knit feel of the event made us feel welcome, and everything we expected and more could be found! If you haven’t attended the Mid-South Renaissance Faire yet, you’re in luck! You have the opportunity this Saturday (August 26) and Sunday (August 27). Definitely check it out!