Thursday, October 20, 2005

Maryland Renaissance Festival (Festival Information)

**edited: removed a link for Herbalist Delight because this company either went out of business or their site has been hacked.

On Sunday, I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival with my sister, Edward, my mom, and the Rices: Adam, Lorraine, and their children, Ian Sol and Z. Luna (thanks Adam and Lorraine for the free passes!). I hadn't been to a RennFest in a while (maybe ten years), but it was a lot of fun! For those of you that don't know, RennFests are 'renaissance/middle ages' inspired festivals that usually run once a season in an area during the weekends for several weeks. And the Maryland RennFest is supposed to be one of the best! There are musicians, theater performances/shows, games, and of course all types of vendors selling anything from middle ages type clothing (cloaks, head wear, peasant shirts and skirts), pottery, herbs, metal and glass work, leather work (like boots), jewelry, hand crafted products, and even psychics providing tarot card readings. Like many of the fair-goers, Ian, Edward, and I dressed up (Ian as a knight, who then later switched to Robin Hood; Edward in a velvet cloak as a 'techno-mage', and me in a peasant shirt and skirt). I really loved visiting all the different vendors stalls--not only are all of the vendors super friendly (and not to mention fully dressed up in medieval type clothing), but all of the products are hand made, and some of the vendors, like the blacksmiths and glass blowers, were making some of their wares onsite. One of the best parts of the day was watching this glassblower shape a colored glass rod into a beautifully designed dragon. It truly amazes me, yet saddens me, watching people make such beautiful artwork; it truly is a dying craft.

I didn't buy any glass or metal work, but I did buy some beautiful pieces of pottery (a small glazed bowl and cup) from Tessem Stoneware (from PA; no website or business cards, but they are at the MD RennFest every year and will be at the MD Sugarloaf Craft Festival this year), wonderful naturally scented handmade soap (in lavender; orange, oatmeal, sage; and ylang ylang, sandalwood, nutmeg, cinnamon) from the Bee Folks, and a few ounces of herbs (some delicious smelling bayberry, orris root powder, slippery elm powder, cayenne chili powder, and a sage smudge stick) from Herbalist Delight (from Baltimore, MD). Edward and Bexn also brought some delicious honey from the Bee Folks. One thing that surprised me was the prices--they were pretty good! The pottery prices were only $5 each (though another potter was selling higher quality prices for a lot more), and the soap only $10 (usually $4 per bar, but they had a special at the RennFest). The prices of the herbs were not bad (I could have gotten larger quantities for a little less online, but since I have so many herbs, and since the quality was so good, I didn't mind paying a bit more for smaller quantities, especially since I brought several herbs I haven't tried yet. And the prices weren't that ridiculously overpriced). And though it's too late for me, they have a 10% coupon off for herbs purchased at the RennFest on their website.

The food was also much less expensive than I remembered, and the variety was also much better. There were tons of choices for vegetarians, and though I'm veggie and hypoglycemic, I still found something to eat (a whole wheat veggie wrap). Everyone else enjoyed all kinds of potatoes, sweets (like cheesecake on a stick), and deep fried cheese and macaroni on a stick (my mom who is the world's pickiest eater LOVED this). A few things were still a bit pricey (like wooden cups, wooden boxes, and of course some of the blacksmith pieces) but considering that it's all hand made, it really wasn't bad at all.

Aside from shopping and eating, we also saw a joust! And the Rices saw a short play. You can also rent costumes for the day, and get henna 'tattoos' and your hair braided.

This coming weekend is the last weekend the Maryland RennFest will be running, until next year. I believe it cost $17 for adults to get in (groups, seniors, and children 7-15 are less; kids 6 and under are free), unless you have good friends with passes!

No comments: