There are 30 acres of land in Harveysburg, Ohio which are unlike any other plot of land in the whole state. They are not especially fertile, nor do they host any sort of exotic flora or fauna — unless costumed enthusiasts can be included in the latter. It IS home, however, to a permanent 16th century English village which is in turn the home of the Ohio Renaissance Festival!
An ever-changing spectacle of sight and sound, the Ren Fest (as it is familiarly called) runs from Aug. 30th to Oct. 19th, 2008 and will re-open again around the same time in 2009. A $20 ticket will gain you entrance to the winding lanes of this piece of transplanted history and all the delights contained therein.
The shops sell just about anything the historically minded tourist could desire, from mass-produced costumes to intricately hand-crafted clothing pieces, custom leatherwork, handmade masks, weapons, handmade musical instruments and more.
There is also a great deal of entertainment to be had, no matter your age and preference for muddiness. The Swordsmen put on a dashing show, instructing the male half of the population in the ways of masculine Renaissance charm after attempting to cut each other to pieces with (hopefully blunted) rapiers, much to the delight of the audience.
Musicians of consummate skill were to be found at every corner, peddling their wares to any who would listen in a cascade of poignant notes from harp, lute, dulcimer and guitar. And last—and I fear I must categorize it as the least—were the gentlemen who felt that mud was the ideal medium for the re-telling of such great literary works as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Beowulf.
I’m sure I would have enjoyed their recounting of the Viking’s voyage to America more if they had not managed to spatter my 13th century dress with mud from thirty feet away.
Amidst this delightful and somewhat bewildering cacophony are the employees and tourists who have turned gaily out in their best fancy-dress for the occasion. We saw fantasy costumes, elaborate Renaissance period pieces that were hundreds of hours in the making, medieval ladies and knights, archers, monks, and various sprites and spirits.
Whether you spend the day costume hunting with a camera, sipping a drink, eating hearty stew out of a bread bowl whilst listening to the best sorts of music, riding a camel (yes, there ARE camels there. Why? No one is quite sure) or browsing the endless selection of fine wares, there is something for everyone at the Ohio Renaissance Festival!