The spirit of Tudor England comes alive at the Mid-Atlantic’s most popular Ren fair.
History and magic comes alive outside Annapolis at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where a huge crowd turned out for Celtic Day last weekend. I was impressed! Jousting and chariot fights were the highlight of the day, but a menagerie of performers kept fair goers entertained throughout the day.
Welcome to Revel Grove, Oxfordshire, England in the year 1532. King Henry VIII and his mistress Anne Boleyn visit the village as part of their annual summer progress. I didn’t see much of the King and his court, but it’s possible they blended in with the costumed crowd. Visitors were deeply committed to getting into the spirit of the fair.
Rides on a colorfully-painted elephant were one of many amazing experiences for children. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is thoroughly family-friendly, with a huge play area for kids. What a great way to spark children’s imaginations!
Dozens assembled on Cemetery Ridge on Wednesday to commemorate the 156th Anniversary of “Pickett’s Charge” and the Civil War veteran events that followed.
The 4th of July, Independence Day, has special significance for all Americans, but it has duel significance for Civil War buffs. July 4, 1863 was the day after the Battle of Gettysburg and the day Vicksburg, Mississippi surrendered after a 47-day siege. Many consider this the turning point of the Civil War in the Union’s favor. The angle in a stone wall where Confederates briefly penetrated Union lines in an attack on Cemetery Ridge south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 3rd is considered the “high water mark” of the Confederacy.
The National Park Service held a series of events for the Battle of Gettysburg’s 156th anniversary this year, July 1-3. I was able to attend on July 3rd, which focused on the Confederate’s culminating attack known as “Pickett’s Charge”. Park guides gave presentations on various stages of the attack, from planning, to the cannonade, to its repulse, and a sizable crowd of approximately 50 to 60 people turned out. Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.
Steady rain failed to dampen participants’ spirits at this lively Allegheny event.
The West Virginia Renaissance Festival is back for a second season! Taso Stavrakis and Dawn Kieninger first opened the festival in 2018, and were undeterred even after a fire destroyed a large Elizabethan-style barn earlier this year. The festival kicked off this past Saturday, June 8th, and will run every weekend in June.
My weather app assured me the rain would stop before I arrived, but when the gates opened at 11am, a steady drizzle still threatened to ruin the fun. Rain already turned the dirt roads at Hollow Hills Farm to mud. Thankfully, this wasn’t enough to deter the festival’s dedicated actors and actresses from performing.
The popular Washing Well Wenches put on a wet and sloppy vaudeville act with plenty of audience participation. These hilarious ladies are just two of many troop members who perform at Ren fairs all over the country.
Jousting, comedy, and merriment at this slice of Elizabethan England in the American South
Only open for a limited time in early summer, this classic Ren fair has all the charm of its counterparts without all the crowds. Hosted annually at Lake Anna Winery, 5621 Courthouse Road in Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, the Virginia Renaissance Faire is open for five weekends, May 11th through June 9, 2019.
Journey to the fictional village of Staffordshire, where the regal queen and her court will grace the lowly peasants with her presence. Entertainment, food, dancing, and sport re-creates the spirit of Merry England.
Plimoth Plantation, founded in 1947, is a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, featuring a replica of a 1627 Pilgrim village. It is located at 137 Warren Avenue, a few miles southeast of the actual site of the Plymouth Colony. The museum also owns and operates a replica of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower, but it was undergoing repairs when I visited in the spring.
The museum offers an impressive variety of things to see and do, including a large visitor center, Wampanoag Homesite, Craft Center, Maxwell and Nye Barns, Plimoth Grist Mill, and of course, the village itself. The visitor center has a large gift shop and even a movie theater, although it was playing two random, nonhistorical movies when I visited.
A Revolutionary War Reenactment at Fort Wellington on the Saint Lawrence River. American colonists defeated the British once again! Song is “Pass in Review: German No. 68: March No. 8, Nightpiece No. 35, March No. 25” by Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums. I had to remove the original audio because an annoying announcer thought everyone was there to hear him speak. Used stock musket and battle sounds to fill in – I think it turned out pretty good.
On August 5 and 6, Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site in Jefferson County, New York held its annual War of 1812 weekend, complete with military encampment, an English Country Dance, Sea Chanteys, and of course reenactments of the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor.
The Second Battle of Sackets Harbor was fought on May 29, 1813 between British forces under the command of Colonel Edward Baynes and American forces under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Electus Backus of the Regular Army and Brigadier General Jacob Brown of the New York State Militia.
Sackets Harbor was a principal port and shipbuilding yard for the upper St. Lawrence River Valley and Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The British wanted to take advantage of the American fleet’s absence to seize and destroy the shipyard and supplies at Sackets Harbor.
American forces put up a tenacious defense on land and eventually drove the British away. Thirty British soldiers were killed, 200 wounded, and 35 taken prisoner in the attack. The Americans sustained 157 casualties, including 26 missing or captured.
The battle reenactment took place on a portion of the actual battlefield and attracted a variety of reenactors from across the United States and Canada.