5 ways you can still enjoy the Renaissance Festival

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jousting knights, the Queen, swordsmen and musicians keep Ohio Renaissance Festival lively.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Ohio Renaissance Festival had high hopes to open despite the pandemic. Limited attendance. Social distance seating. Mask requirements.

In the end, organizers decided they couldn’t risk the health of the public, the festival participants, or their employees by hosting large weekly gatherings of people even with precautions in place.

However, renaissance vendors and entertainers haven’t disappeared. Like so many other people during COVID-19, they’ve simply migrated online. Here are five ways you can still enjoy some renaissance fun from home.

A crowded road near Troll Crosing at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.   TY GREENLEES / STAFF
A crowded road near Troll Crosing at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Digital Ren Faire

This Facebook page was started by a group of national renaissance performers. Here, you can find several videos of renaissance performances. There are full series such as “Towne Criers,” “Inside the Green Room,” and “Enchanted Creature Ball,” where the humans, fairies, and dragons who inhabit a fantasy forest dance, sing, play music, and tell stories. There are also individual videos by such performers as Axel the Sot, the drunken, singing sailor who performs the Ohio Ren Fest every year. Find it at www.facebook.com/digitalrenfaire.

Faire Relief 2020

This is another Facebook feature supporting renaissance festival vendors and performers whose livelihoods are threatened by COVID-19. Request to join the group.

Then, you can browse vendors by topic (leather goods, jewelry, apothecary, etc.) and purchase accordingly, or watch live-streamed performances by your favorite types of renaissance performer. Find it at www.facebook/groups/FR2020.

Knights and jousting are part of the medieval fun at the Ohio Renaissance Festival throughout September and October weekends. CONTRIBUTED
Knights and jousting are part of the medieval fun at the Ohio Renaissance Festival throughout September and October weekends. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Full Metal Jousting

The Knights of Valour, a full-contact jousting company (where people can actually die), have been a fan favorite of the Ohio Renaissance Festival for years. Although you won’t be seeing them this year, you can catch (or re-watch) “Full Metal Jousting,” a reality competition show that ran for one season on the History Channel in 2012.

The grand prize was $100,000 and highlights include a contestant who had to be removed from the show for punching a horse. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

Dirk and Guido and the Mudde Show

Other regular Ohio renaissance festival performers are Dirk and Guido, a pair of comic swordsmen, and the Mudde Show, who perform bawdy renditions of literary classics like “Beowulf” and “Dante’s Inferno.” Dirk and Guido decided to withdraw from the fest in July, citing their high-risk status. In the meantime, they have videos of previous performances on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theswordsmen.

Theatre on the Ground, producers of the Mudde Show, made a similar, pre-emptive decision. You can catch member Ben McCauley at Starlight Radio Dreams, a podcast of comic radio-style sketches, and Jonathan Crocker, who has continued instruction on his “edible instruments” at Digital Ren Faire.

ExploreOhio Renaissance Festival canceled this year

Artisans

People attend the Ohio Renaissance Festival for a variety of reasons. If shopping was yours, some festival vendors and artisans have online shops. For example, Naturecraft, which sells homemade beeswax candles and cosmetics, can be found at www.naturecraft.net.

NatureCraft is one of the vendors found at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Products including beeswax candles can be found online. CONTRIBUTED
NatureCraft is one of the vendors found at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Products including beeswax candles can be found online. CONTRIBUTED