In my neck of the woods on September weekends, there’s a Renaissance Festival that goes on every year. In fact, I worked there for a season at the concession stand which meant hours and hours of standing. I didn’t mind preparing the food, but it was just the standing that bothered me. Nevertheless, it’s not an experience I want to repeat again. Still, I don’t usually go there as a participant because of how everything there is so expensive. However, there are plenty of people who do this as a thing on an annual basis. Not only that, but they dress up in costumes for the event as well. Hell, some people even get married there. Now I have to confess to my readers outside the country that these festivals aren’t aiming for historical authenticity save maybe when it comes to crafts or some of the other pageantry. It’s more for entertainment with dancing, jousting, music, processions, petting zoos, face painting, and food as well as fun for the whole family. Not to mention, its theme is usually geared more toward England and France since the Renaissance would look way different for someone in Italy. While some including the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival are short term events at fairgrounds or other large spaces, some could be permanent theme parks. As for the costumes, well, some can range from the Middle Ages to the early 18th century (which aren’t aiming for accuracy, by the way, for obvious reasons). Some could be fantasy such as fairies and wizards. And some could be, well, anything goes.
There’s a very interesting story how these festivals got started. The first one was held in 1963 by a Los Angeles school teacher named Phyllis Patterson as a class activity in the backyard of her Laurel Canyon home in Hollywood Hills. Later that year, Patterson and her husband Ron presented the first “Renaissance Pleasure Faire” as a radio station fundraiser with about 8,000 people showing up. It was made to resemble a Living History Center as a spring market fair on of the period. Commercial vendors were artisans and food merchants required to demonstrate historical accuracy and plausibility for their crafts. Reenactors were volunteers organized into “guilds” focused on specific duties like music, military, Celtic clans, peasants, etc. And both reenactors and vendors had to successfully complete workshops in period language, accents, costuming, culture, and to stay “in character” while working. Of course, other Renaissance festivals would soon spring up and become local traditions across the country. So the rest is history. Of course, Renaissance festivals as we know are more of an American thing for obvious reasons.
In this post, I intend to show you the many kinds of costumes on might see at a Renaissance Festival. Some of them may be to your liking while others might make you scratch your head. So without further adieu, here are some of many Renaissance Festival costumes for your viewing pleasure.
- Keep in mind the cornucopias make great horns.
They’re also said to be a good way to store stuff, too. But you really don’t want to wear them and put stuff in them at the same time.
2. Of course, if you’re a woman stranded on a deserted island, the big clams always cover the most.
I’m sure she’s supposed to be some ocean maiden here from her outfit. However, I bet her costume cost her a lot of clams that she only had the two big ones left.
3. May I present, a gypsy fortune teller and a scarecrow.
You can guess which one of these saved money by making their own costume. However, that burlap must be itchy as hell. But I hope the costume doesn’t terrify the kiddies.
4. Of course, in this photo op, it should be blatantly obvious who isn’t going anywhere.
Now I don’t know about you, but how does the mermaid woman even move around. Seriously, she runs a very high risk on constantly tripping on her fish tail. Perhaps I don’t blame Ariel for wanting legs, even though I’d be pissed at her on why she wanted them.
5. Sometimes all you need is a peasant shirt, bodice, skirt, and a picnic basket.
Out of all the Renaissance Festival costumes I’ve seen here, I think this one is probably the least expensive and most doable. Seriously, sometimes you just need to keep it simple.
6. May I present ye olde Tudor Yeomen of the Guard.
You could tell these were the guys who guarded the Tudor royalty and the Tower of London. Of course, Henry VIII needed a lot of them so his buddies and two of his wives wouldn’t escape from there. Then again, the Tower was a luxury prison suite anyway.
7. Of course, no woman looks better in a bodice than a lady pirate.
Of course, this is the kind of outfit that would make historians shake their heads in dismay. We should remember that most Golden Age pirates were men. And even though women pirates did exist, they usually dressed in drag and for good reason.
8. When it comes to Renaissance Festival cosplay, even the very young can join in the fun.
Sure she looks so adorable in that little dress of hers. However, I’m sure a boy would’ve worn that outfit almost just as easily during the 16th century. Well, at least until he was potty trained.
9. Now this is what I call a “deer maiden.”
Let’s hope she’s not wearing this during hunting season. Still, you have to love the makeup and flowers on the ears.
10. Of course, a pirate lass should always have a badass coat.
I have to admit, that is a very nice coat she has there. Nevertheless, I wonder if she’s just either posing for a photo or really uncomfortable.
11. At the Renaissance Fair, it’s not unusual to see the occasional satyr frolicking around.
Of course, satyrs in Greek Mythology weren’t nearly as pretty as this woman. In fact, many Greek satyrs are said to be quite ugly as well as men. The female satyr was a later invention of poets.
12. Remember you should never keep a pirate away from his rum.
Yes, pirates love their rum. But that’s probably because most British Golden Age pirates were impressed sailors who were put on a ship after having a few too many at a seaside tavern. Of course, they’ll never teach you that in history class.
13. Now may I introduce you to the lovely Lady Anne Boleyn in her resplendent dress.
God, she’s so beautiful that she’d make you want to lose your head. Hate to even think about what happened to her.
14. Of course, a gypsy woman always takes her essential implements with her.
On her skirt, she has all the necessary things such as her money purse, her goblet, and her wooden spoon. I’m sure the goblet isn’t made from fine metal. Else, someone might miss it.
15. Seems like the fairy queen would like to take a stroll in the village.
Yes, you see a lot of people dressed as fairies at the Renaissance Festival. Of course, I’m not sure if she’s a fairy godmother but her dress is quite elaborate.
16. Sometimes at these Renaissance Festivals you might occasionally come across a strapping young lad in the forest.
And what a strapping young lad he is. Of course, he might just be a model for this costume on eBay. But sometimes it never hurts to dream.
17. “Honey, will you take me as your evil husband and rule the evil netherworld together?”
I don’t know what’s awkward about this moment. Is it because she’s taken by surprise? Or is that he’s proposing to her in badass looking armor you’d see from a sci-fi movie?
18. Beware for the evil goat man is upon us.
Yes, you see a lot of this, too, I guess. Of course, despite that he might frighten small children, he’s probably harmless. Just some guy in a costume having fun.
19. Seems like the dark magical enchanters have descended across the land.
Now just a family at the Renaissance Festival in their costumes. But, yes, you’d expect movie fantasy villains to wear such badass outfits, especially in the 1980s. Kind of funny if you think about it.
20. Oh, no, there’s a Spanish Conquistador on the premises!
Actually, that’s just a guy at the Renaissance Festival enjoying a drink who happens to be dressed as one. Then again, this wasn’t an unusual military style during the 16th century. Or the early 17th, Let’s hope he doesn’t spread smallpox or kill any Indians.
21. While many people dress up for the Renaissance Festival, some people share costume ideas as couples.
Of course, their faces are powered in black makeup. Now while this might go well with their costumes as evil spirits, it might lead to some unfortunate implications with certain groups of people.
22. Of course, you can’t have a great Renaissance Festival with Gandalf the Gray.
Unfortunately for him, his pipeweed and pipe were confiscated at the entrance gate. But yeah, sometimes you do have people dressed up as Lord of the Rings characters there.
23. At the Renaissance Festival, costumes are worn even by the youngest lords and ladies.
Now this little princess is so adorable in her pretty little dress. Of course, I’m not sure if she’s old enough to enjoy some of the activities though. Then again, she might like the petting zoo.
24. For a lady in winter, it’s better to go in darker shade of blue.
Okay, I think this photo might be taking for advertising purposes only since most Renfests don’t take place in the winter. Then again, she might be quite warm in her dress.
25. Want to spare some change for an old wizard?
Seems like Gandalf isn’t the only wizard around these parts. Of course, you get a lot of wizards there, too. Still, like his horned staff.
26. Of course, I’m not sure about these guys coming at the Renaissance Festival with firearms. They might pose a security threat.
Oh, wait, those are pre-American Civil War weapons even if they’re working models. Let’s just say, these guns aren’t very practical as weapons anyway. You can say the same for most Renaissance firearms.
27. When you go to the Renaissance Festival, there’s a strong chance that you might run into some fairies.
I’m sure these girls aren’t nature spirits or even manic pixie dream girls. But they do seem to be having a rather good time as friends.
28. When it comes to costumes, sometimes you can tell what a person’s supposed to be, sometimes you can’t.
For instance, I can’t tell what the hell this guy’s supposed to be. Is he some kind of nature spirit, mythological creature, or witch doctor?
29. Of course, you might want to get out of this guy’s way when he’s at the concession stand.
I’m sure this guy isn’t a real bishop or clergyman in that matter. Then again, I could be wrong. Still, from a historical perspective, he could use some more bling.
30.For a barbarian, her attire appears rather sparse.
Contrary to what you see at the Renaissance Festival, Barbarian women during the Dark Ages weren’t nubile savages. In fact., they dressed in warmer clothes.
31. You might be aware that the Renaissance Festival permits costumes from all kinds of cultures.
This is supposed to be an Eastern European outfit. I’m not sure if it counts as cultural appropriation or not. Still, the guy doesn’t look that bad.
32. Sometimes knights need to relax now and then.
Now these three guys seem to keep their armor pretty squeaky clean. Still, I wouldn’t want to be in their mail or metal covered boots.
33. A drink of good rum and a badass outfit makes a pirate out of him.
Of course, his costume might look quite authentic for a Golden Age pirate if it was dirty. However, what’s even more unrealistic is that the guy is obviously middle aged. Most Golden Age pirates were in their 20s.
34. At the Renaissance Festival, you find people in all sorts of costumes with bright colors and intricate patterns.
Now the outer dress is quite intricate and beautiful. However, I’m not sure about the dress underneath. Kind of think you shouldn’t wear two patterned items of clothing at the same time.
35. You have to admit, it’s kind of shame that Renaissance festivals don’t have any restroom accommodations for centaurs.
Of course, being a guy needing to go No. 1, the lack of privacy might not be much of a problem. If he was a woman and/or had to go No.2, then the costume might be more of an obstacle.
36. Of course, this evil sorceress may have a problem with the lighting while trying her costume on.
Now I do love her outfit, especially the color and trim. However, from the look on her face, I swear that she put a curse on the photographer after the shoot.
37. Seems like this plague doctor is currently taking patients.
Love the “Bring Out Your Dead” sign. However, unless if he practices modern medicine, I’d stay away from that guy.
38. Of course, humans aren’t the only creatures to enjoy the Renaissance Festival.
Now this group is dressed in the costumes derived from the Wes Anderson play, “Sir Richard Fox the Fantastic.” That or just furries who really enjoy the Renaissance Festival.
39. There’s nothing more adorable at the Renaissance Festival than a little child in an Eizabethan collar.
Yes, she’s cute in her little dress. I’m sure Queen Elizabeth I wore the same thing when she was her age (sarcasm).
40. For couples looking for Renaissance Festival costumes, it’s help of they match.
Now though I like how their outfits coordinate each other, I’m not sure about the color. Also, I don’t know about those hats either.
41. Nothing makes a monk happier than a good brew and a tavern wench.
I’m sure these two are husband and wife in real life. But at the Renaissance Festival, nobody cares about him betraying his holy vows.
42. Nothing is more irresistible to the ladies than a wiener dog in mail.
Now Renaissance children’s costumes are one thing. But Renaissance Festival costumes for your pets? Now that’s kind of ridiculous. Besides, I’m not sure if many Renaissance Festivals even allow them.
43. When the Viking hordes arrive, they always seem to come in groups.
Unlike real Vikings, they’re not looking for a monastery to raid or a warrior death to get to Valhalla. They just want to party.
44. When it comes to Renaissance Festivals, even a turtle should be appropriately attired.
Now why would anyone take their pets to the Renaissance Festival is beyond me? I can understand wanting to dress your dog or cat. But dressing a turtle? That’s kind of ridiculous.
45. We should remember that a gypsy dog should be dressed like one.
Now I’m sure any dog love would think this is adorable. But I think a lot of dogs would see this as simple humiliation.
46. Of course, when you’re at the Renaissance Festival, keep in mind that there’s a chance you might run into some real creeps.
I’m sure he’s in this place to look for his precious. However, he won’t find it because a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins already too it. But he seems to love the camera anyway.
47. They may like separate teams and dress from different eras. But this is kind of event they can enjoy together.
He likes the Minnesota Vikings and she likes the Greenbay Packers. But at least they seem to have an activity that they can enjoy together. Love her cheese hat by the way.
48. Of course, you can’t do without mail at a Renaissance Festival.
Of course, I don’t think the women’s outfits would give them much protection from any weapons. Or the elements for that matter.
49. Sometimes there’s nothing more adorable at a Renaissance Festival than a little boy in fur.
I guess this is a little Eastern European Renaissance costume. I hope he’s not going as a little Ivan the Terrible.
50. Seems like this Renaissance Festival gives this little girl the perfect opportunity to dress as her favorite Disney princess.
She’s supposed to be Princess Merida from Brave. And she’s so adorable and happy. However, I’m not sure if that’s the costume Merida wore in the movie though.
51. Nothing looks better on a little knight than his own mail tunic.
And from what I can tell, it’s an Eastern European variety from how I can tell from that Orthodox cross. Still, it might protect him from stab wounds but not from spoiling his diaper.
52. Not everyone at the Renaissance Festival likes getting their picture taken.
Of course, this guy doesn’t seem too happy. However, he certainly does have one awesome costume that the photographers couldn’t resist.
53. Oh, my God, why if it isn’t Captain Jack Sparrow.
Yes, that’s Captain Jack Sparrow all right. Not Johnny Depp exactly, but almost spot on. Of course, I’m sure you’d see people dressed as Jack at some Renaissance Festival.
54. This Boston Terrier seems to be the king of the faire, or so he thinks.
Now he’s certainly in a resplendent robe. But all I guess he’s thinking is feasting on some of those turkey legs.
55. Nothing brings the spirit of the Renaissance Festival like a kilted Boba Fett merrymaking with Imperial Stormtroopers.
Who knew that Boba and the Stormtroopers knew how to have fun? Also, who knew that any of them were Scottish?
56. Of course, you can’t be a musketeer if you aren’t clad in leather.
He’s supposed to be a dark musketeer. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a sex dungeon in his basement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Well, unless he doesn’t keep it safe, sane, and consensual.
57. I’m sure this man is a fortune teller who came from a distant land.
And it seems that this guy is overloaded with piercings, tattoos, and jewelry. Yeah, I think he needs to take it down a notch.
58. Now there’s nothing better at the Renaissance Festival than a little princess leading her Viking dad by a chain.
Now this has to be the most adorable hostage situation I have ever seen. This father must be a great sport to resort to this photo op.
59. Look, kiddies, it’s Mother Goose!
Seems to have an interesting hat if I do say so myself. Then again, there might be some disturbing implications with the feathers.
60. There’s nothing better at the Renaissance Festival than an old Scottish Highlander on his Segway.
Now I understand why he’s not riding a horse. But I’m not sure a Segway makes an appropriate substitute. He’s better off getting a friend follow him banging coconut shells.
61. Of course, even soldiers of dark legions need a break now and then.
Don’t always imagine demonic soldiers sitting down for a drink. Always thought they wouldn’t have time for that. Still, that one guy’s helmet looks pretty cool.
62. As the Three Musketeers say, “All for one and one for all.”
Or as it should’ve been more accurately, “Four Guys with Swords” because of Dartagnan and the fact they usually fight with swords. Let’s just say an 17th century gunfight wouldn’t be very exciting.
63. Of course, some Renaissance Festivals tend to be fatal for certain people.
Seems like Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty have already lost Ensign Ricky. Guess they’re in a very dangerous situation. Then again, why these guys are at a Renaissance Festival is beyond me.
64. If you want to catch fairies, consult with this guy.
Of course, by “fairy” he means those winged mythological creatures. And I wonder if his net will be enough to catch them. I mean some fairies can be pretty feisty.
65. Of course, you always need the purrfect Renaissance Festival costume for your cat.
Wonder if they have a cat Renaissance Festival costume for Puss in Boots. I mean they should. Still, I think the ruff might make this kitty quite uncomfortable.
66. Sometimes Renaissance Festivals might appear receive visitors from another planet.
Wonder how the aliens from Sesame Street managed to get there. Of course, their costumes were probably easy to make.
67. When it comes to knighthood, it’s not unusual to start young.
He may not be for an armor suit yet. But this boy sure does have a knightly spirit to say the least.
68. We should all know that even a fair maiden looks resplendent in furs.
Of course, I might get called out by PETA on this. But I’m sure the fur trim is fake but nevertheless, guaranteed to keep her warm.
69. A Renaissance Festival bride should always get married in a blue dress and a tartan sash.
I bet the chances are high that whoever’s marrying her will be wearing a kilt. And he’d probably be married in that type of plaid. Still, she’s quite stunning.
70. While some fairies flutter their wings, other tend to spread them.
Of course, she’s wearing a mask to conceal her identity. She’s also wearing a leather corset. But with those wings, she looks quite magnificent.
71. Time for this mermaid to get out of her clam shell.
Nevertheless, I wonder how she manages to stay on dry land without any breathing difficulty. Or even move around with that tail of hers.
72. Seems like this gypsy woman has befriended this old hermit.
Yeah, I’m sure this is one of these couple portraits. This man has probably not sworn off civilization for a life of holy contemplation.
73. While some Renaissance Festival costumes are amazing, others can be subject to interpretation.
Now I find that the woman in this is rather stunning in her outfit. I’m not sure about the man in his. Looks like something I’d see at some underground nightclub. Then again, that’s just my opinion.
74. For this owner, this basset hound is bound to look like a prince.
However, this basset hound thinks he looks like an idiot. But he’s putting a smile for the camera because his owner has a bag full of Beggin Strips.
75. Of course, this Renaissance Festival isn’t always fun for a vampire.
For her there’s so many potential victims but so little opportunity to devour them and get away with it. Also, there’s the fact that the Renaissance festival only takes place on weekends during the daytime.
76. When it comes to the festivities, Queen Elizabeth I is the master of ceremonies.
Of course, she may be a fair queen, you really don’t want to mess with her. Believe me, so many during her 44 year reign learned the hard way such as the Earl of Essex and Mary, Queen of Scots.
77. Of course, even the German bar maids must have their fun, especially during Ocktoberfest.
Seems a little scanty for a a Renaissance Festival isn’t it. Then again, it’s a little too modest for Victoria’s Secret either.
78. Seems like Shrek and Fiona are having a laugh with the crazy witch lady.
Of course, I’d rather not know what the witch did with Shrek and Fiona afterwards. Still, you get to see characters like this all the time at the Renaissance Festival.
79. Now this young woman doesn’t mind being a peasant at the very least.
Still, unlike a real 16th century peasant, her clothes are clean and don’t smell of urine. Rather they smell of tide or dry cleaner.
80. In a dress like this, this little girl has all the makings of a lady at court.
Now I’m sure this dress didn’t come cheap in the very least. But I’m sure this girl thinks that she’s a perfect little princess in it. Or queen.