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The Maryland Renaissance Fair - A Good Day Out!

Oct 21, 2014
Maureen Spagnolo

You arrive as a spectator, and are soon transformed into a participant.

The Maryland Renaissance Festival embraces you as you step through the gates into Revel Grove—a sixteenth century English village with maypole dancing, knights jousting, me-ladies parading, hawkers selling ale, food and crafts, and all kinds of raucous and bawdy entertainers showing off their skills.

It's the second largest Renaissance Festival in the country, and was first held in Columbia, Maryland in 1977 with Penn and Teller and The Flying Karamazov Brothers performing in the first act. It was moved to its present location in 1985. The festival employs more than 600 people each season, and entertains over 15,000 customers daily. The English Tudor village—housed in twenty-five acres of woods and fields—was originally an Elizabethan Faire, and was switched in 1989 to the theme of Henry VIII's England.

There is plenty to entertain: ten major stages with continuous performances ranging from fire and sword swallowers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, balladeers, story-tellers, plays, pipers, drummers and gypsy dancers, and more. In the Jousting Arena, there are jousting and archery competitions, and displays of raptors in action.

You can buy or rent a costume to fit in with the era, browse the artisan wares, and choose from a variety of period-inspired foods such as turkey legs and mead.

At the far corner of the fair there are a live elephant and a camel, which participants can buy a ride on for an extra fee. (PETA and Born Free USA have protested what they claim to be exploitation of these animals.)

All in all, it's a good day out in the sunshine and fresh air away from electronic gadgets, immersed in a sense of a time when life was simpler.

Photos by Maureen Spagnolo
[Editor's Note: Click on each photo to see a larger version.]
Photos from the Maryland Renaissance Fair, 2014
ActorsAntler HatBubble Maker
Belly DancerTarot WomanFalconer
Feather HatModern Girl with Renaissance JarsLingerie Shoppers
Costumed LadyWoman with Crazy HatCostumed Couple

Maureen Spagnolo is a photographer, living in Washington, DC. She writes on a variety of social issues in addition to her photography articles.

Her passion for photography began in her twenties when she fell in love with a photographer, and then took her first photography class. She used any camera she could get her hands on - until she got her first DSLR camera several years ago. Since then, she has gone gangbusters - taking photos like a junkie (!) and reading everything about photography she could find. She now owns enough (never enough!) cameras, lenses, tripods, and camera paraphernalia to warrant an add-on to her home owner's insurance.

Yet, photography is not about equipment. It's about passion, and seeing - qualities that can turn a cell phone into a tool which can compete with the most expensive camera.

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