Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wicked Renaissance 2015

Last weekend my mom and I took our yearly trip to The Bristol Renaissance Faire. As in the past, I'm really excited to share my pictures with you guys.

We saw some new characters this year, like this baby man. I don't know what else to call him! This guy was up on stilts and gave the appearance of a baby in a high chair with those little legs on the cushion. How about those teeth in the first pic? I know he really had more teeth since I saw him later in the day, so this must be a very realistic set of costume teeth, complete with realistic gums.

I'm trying to think of a delicate way to say what he was doing in this picture... Let's just say, after he made this expression, a little Hershey's Kiss dropped out from under him. Grossly enough, a little boy ran to pick it up.

Quite a crowd grew around the baby man. I think he had kind of a Pee-Wee Herman thing going on. I overheard several men saying how this character scared them. You figure how many people are afraid of clowns and then you add in how weird it is to see someone who is clearly an adult man act convincingly like a baby, and yeah... it was kind of freaky!

The baby man was part of a way to direct people to a circus of dangerous tricks, and we took the bait.

At the top of the circus stage was this beautiful character. She had this sort of oriental mime thing going on and at times played a drum. She danced around gracefully too.

This guy also played some music.

I forget what he was doing here, I think it was a balancing act. I just like how expressive he looks. Check out the belt buckle he has on.

An accordion playing man on stilts:

Here's where the danger came in. I always figured that the trick to this was a folding sword, but I didn't see any evidence of that.

Uh, one...

Uh, Two...


Maybe some people are just better at handling pain? Or are totally numb to it? Anyone out there know the secret to how this is done? Maybe some sword swallowers are reading this.

The last dangerous act involved some fire juggling.

I've noticed a pattern in past years in the pictures I've taken at Ren Faire. I've found that I take a lot of photos of men in hats. So I decided to group some of them together this time in a category I'm calling...

Men in hats:

I started with an outstanding beauty of a hat. This hat has been pinned with many symbolic looking pins. They look like some guild badges or something. Nice array of feathers too!

I spotted this guy from quite a distance and was using a loooong zoom that was nearly stalker level. Still, it looks as if he spotted me.

Is it just me, or does he have kind of a Jack Black thing going on? Something about his expression. I can imagine Jack Black at Ren Faire. That would be great!

This is a little subsection called "Men in pirate hats":

There's an octopus pin on this guy's hat that looks just like a pendant my mom has on a necklace. (Also worn for a pirate look)

A Steampunk look:

A wizard who has planets on his hat and the galaxy on his cloak, at least that's the way I see it.

Here's one of my favorite hats of the day. I always love a good gnome costume!

We also tried on a few hats. Mom went with a Steampunk look.

...and I think I'll call mine a pirate queen look because of that little crown on the bow.

There were a few Disney characters walking about, like Maleficent. She does a pretty good Maleficent (Angelina Jolie style) doesn't she?

There was also this adorable lion, who I think might have had a sort of Beauty and the Beast thing going on with the rose. He looked royal in his outfit and the Disney Beast looked sort of like a lion.

Doesn't he have the sweetest lion face?

He had neat, furry feet too.

You might remember the witches from years past. They were back again, although this was the only one I could get a somewhat clear picture of. They were moving fast.

I'm guessing that's a frog in the cage on her belt? Here's a view from the back. Looks like she has dreads coming out of her hat.

I bet someone out there can tell me what these girls were dressed as. I'm looking at them thinking that they look like cartoon characters, especially the one with the bright hair.

We saw a lot of characters during the day that I may or may not have understood. This is one of the sprite types that you can find perched on roof tops or walking in the trees.

 I'm going with a jester on this one. 

Again, maybe one of you can tell me if this guy is a specific character. I'm guessing a gladiator. He's a warrior of some type. If anyone reading this is in one of these pictures, please chime in!

I see this man every year and he seems to always be wearing a variation of the evil king look. I think I've referred to him as "The Evil Seth Green". I wish I could have gotten a picture of him from the front this year. We seemed to be moving from activity to activity this time and I had to move fast to fit any pictures in! I know that sounds silly since I posted a ton of photos on this post, but I always seem to leave wanting more.

Very cool bat on his shoulder!

I call this guy's look "Forest Sage". What do you think? Maybe a medicine man or a wizard. He'd definitely be living in the woods.

This year was the first time we watched the maypole in action. It's actually a lot more complicated a process than I thought it would be. The pole is wrapped and unwrapped with ribbons using different patterns. Sometimes it's like watching braiding and other times it's like watching a giant game of Cat's Cradle.

What makes it look complicated is that there are many people out there walking over and under one another and all having to remember the same pattern.

Musicians played while people went around the pole.

This girl was watching the show and I had to take a picture of her hair because it's just cool, especially with the blue flowers.

After watching The May Pole in action we hurried to the joust area. Every year we watch The Joust to the Death! We skip the other jousts and wait for this one because this is the most over the top, blood filled, crazy acting display of the day.

The show began with a few actors getting the crowd energized. This woman was acting as a squire for the knight representing our section of the audience. As you can maybe guess from her appearance and expression, we didn't have a clean cut, goodie goodie knight.

Here he is in all his glory! Mordread or Moldread depending on if you ask my mom or me. Either way is bad: More Dread or Mold Dread. (My guess is mold.)

Let's see that a little closer...


Moldread was hamming it up and having a great time out there! The audience was eating it up. I think we were sitting with some Moldread groupies or something. They were chanting his name so loudly through the whole event that at times I couldn't even hear the announcer. Moldread yelled "I love my job! Mwahahaha!" And I think he does. It has to be the most fun to play the bad guy.

One of the other knights:

There were a few historically correct costumes at the faire which were being worn by the people hired to be there. I thought this one was cute.

These ladies were standing for a historic fashion show. A woman was explaining what each part of these outfits meant and its purpose. She said that for a rich woman in Queen Elizabeth's court it would take two hours to get dressed. For The Queen it would take three hours. So the ladies in waiting would have to get up in time to get themselves ready and then Elizabeth! That's pretty darn early in the morning.

I thought this man looked like Prince if he dressed up as an actual prince.

I closed in on the jacket to show you the beautiful sparkliness of it.

 Nice heels too!

He actually looked nothing like Prince when I saw him from the front, but I really could imagine it was him from the back.

Isn't this a beautiful setting for a Ren Faire?

A cute little gypsy cart:

We saw some great store displays. I always like looking at the buildings and signs for these shops.

There were a few shrines outside an incense shop.

I accidentally caught a fairy in this shot.

How cool is this?

This was the top of a cottage with pirate jewelry inside.

These next pictures are from a very special part of the faire. It's special because it's fleeting. You're lucky to see these shadowy figures because they seem to materialize from the crowd and are gone before you know it.

They dance slowly and beat drums. Before you know it, a crowd has formed around them. You can't not look.

I closed in on this pic to show you something I thought was cool. Everything is blurry except for the skeletal hourglass.

Oddly, what's spookiest about this shot is the ghost of Miss Muffet back there. 

The only time I've seen someone in leg warmers look scary...

The group danced and stomped and acted quietly confrontational with the crowd until the leader halted them to stop. He pointed at each of them with his staff and as he did they would leave.

At the end he pointed at us!

I've never heard anyone say who these shadowy figures are, but it feels like you're in the middle of a death parade. And when that last guy points at you, it's like The Grim Reaper is summoning you!

At the end of the day there's always a drum circle. A large crowd gathers to dance and the drum beats and movements become almost hypnotic.

More awesome hair. This is one of those funny pictures where it looks like a horn is growing out of her head because of whatever is behind her. Maybe someone was holding a large staff?

She surprised me by turning around!

There was a short parade at the end. That's The Queen waving.

Funny enough, the day ended in the way it began. We saw the same man who played the baby man at the beginning of the day. Now he was a jester on the shoulders of, well, his own stilts. 


I hope you guys enjoyed this year's pictures!


  1. Great photos of the events. Crazy characters roaming around. Looks like you and your Mother had a fun time.

    1. Julie ~ Thank you! :) Oh, yes there are plenty of crazy characters to be found. I have a great time spotting them and trying to photograph them. It's really an entertaining place for anyone who is into costumes. Yes, we did have a fun time! The day went by so fast that we couldn't believe the place was closing.

  2. I like that clown. He has the countenance of a great career clown. He reminds me somewhat of Geoff Hoyle.

    The black clad dancers are interesting. They're having a totentanz, or a dance macabre presumably.

    1. Voodoo Ghoul ~ It wouldn't surprise me to find out he's a career clown. He was very natural in the different roles he was playing and instantly convincing as a bizarre character I'd never seen before. He was so into this that I thought "Sure, OK he's a baby man." I was curious about who he was behind the makeup...

      I had to look up a few things in your comment and one was Geoff Hoyle. I couldn't find much evidence of him as a clown, although I read that he was part of The Pickle Family Circus in the 70s. I mostly saw videos of him in his "Geezer" role, which was funny in a depressing sort of way. I can tell he's one of those expressive guys like Jim Carrey who seems to have a face made of rubber.

      Totentanz was the other part I needed to look up. I'm learning all kinds of things from you tonight! One of the results that came up was the Totentanz song by Liszt. That was dark and foreboding! I expected to hear Danse Macabre, but that was something different altogether. Different composer, different song, but I still thought I'd hear something similar. Anyway, I'll remember "totentanz" and try to work that word into my vocabulary.

      I looked on our Ren Faire's web site and you're completely right about them having a danse macabre, because it's described on there. The faire is actually holding auditions for these dancers. I didn't even know they worked for the faire. Evidently, they dress as regular townsfolk during the early hours and then change into their deathwear later on. So I may have seen these same people in a different role earlier in the day.

      There are many videos of our faire's death parade on YouTube, but here's a chilling one from this year:

      Danse Macabre 2015

  3. Justine - Nice pictures! Looks like it was a nice day.

    1. Matt ~ Thank you! :) It was a nice day. We were really lucky with the weather. Not too hot or rainy like that one time. You realize how few places there are to run for cover out there when it rains. We'd ended up under some horse shelter. So I appreciate the nice weather!

  4. You're good - I get so engrossed in just people watching at the Ren Faire that I forget to take pictures!

    1. Lisa ~ Thanks! Haha, yeah there's so much to look at. There were times that I didn't know what to look at first. There were several people I wish I'd gotten a picture of. I didn't get those pics in part because they were walking fast, but also because I was so taken with their costumes that I missed a beat. Sometimes it comes down to people watching through my camera lens. :)