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Renaissance Inspired Fairs in PA

The PA Renaissance Faire has been a popular attraction for the last 40 years. With many different acts and performances, food, vendors, and much more, the event is great for the entire family (it’s also dog friendly!). Although I have been wanting to go, I unfortunately have not been able to. However, my sister, Rebeckah, was able to attend the Ren Faire this past year. I was able to interview her about her experience at the festival. 

Question  1: What was your overall experience at Ren Faire? What were the vibes as a whole?

Rebeckah: It was a great experience and a very welcoming atmosphere!

Question 2: What did you wear? What were other people wearing? 

Rebeckah: I wore this purple dress/robe from Spirit Halloween. Other people wore an assortment of things and dressed up as pirates, elves, fairies, and even wore regular clothes as well. 

Question 3: What kind of food was at Ren Faire? Was there any food to accommodate specific diets (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc)?

Rebeckah: I didn’t eat a lot of food there as I didn’t find many vegan options.

Question 4: Did you see any performances? If so, what was it like?

Rebeckah: We didn’t stick around for any performances but the crowds for them were really big. 

Question 5: How was the turnout? Were there a lot of people there? Did you run into anyone you know? 

Rebeckah: I don’t remember seeing anyone I knew but it was packed. A lot of people!

Question 6: Were there activities for kids to participate in? 

Rebeckah: Yes. They had these “rides” for kids that a person would push. They were like large swings.

Question 7: What kind of things were vendors selling? Did you buy anything? 

Rebeckah: Tiaras/crowns, books, masks, swords, wands, woodwork. I don’t recall buying anything but my cousin did. 

Question 8: How was the venue? 

Rebeckah: It was very nice. It was outside, so it was very spacious.

Question 9: Is there anything you disliked about Ren Faire?

Rebeckah: Since I went last summer, I wished more people were wearing face masks. I had my mask with me and wore it the majority of the time. 

Question 10: Would you go to Ren Faire again?

Rebeckah: Yes, I’m planning on going this year!

Link to their website:  http://www.parenfaire.com/faire.html 

https://www.lunarfaire.com

Lunar Faire is a witchy festival that occurs every new moon and full moon during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. The festival is always in New Jersey, but at various different locations, a.k.a. a “pop-up market.” There are many different aspects to Lunar Faire such as food, vendors, tarot readings, performances, and so much more. Although this is not necessarily a Renaissance fair, there are many different elements that are inspired by the Renaissance. Firstly, the faire is quite literally based on the moon. During the Renaissance, the moon and stars were essential parts of prophecies and much more. Secondly, there are many different performances at Lunar Faire, such as sword swallowing and fire tricks. Performances were a key aspect in the Renaissance, as they provided entertainment and excitement to prospectors. There is also Renaissance-inspired music playing throughout the festival. Many items and practices in “witchy” culture today are inspired by the Medieval and Renaissance period. This was my experience at Lunar Faire:

Lunar Faire was an unforgettable experience. The drive was only about an hour and 15 minutes through back roads. I went to the one in Sparta, NJ this past August. The venue was huge and fairground-like with many paths leading to different parts of the festival. Although easy to get lost in, I really enjoyed the ample amount of space, as it allowed adequate social distancing. They also provided maps of the venue. Parking was slightly haphazard, which was a little stressful when walking to the entrance of the venue, as it was somewhat hard to find where we were supposed to go. Upon entering the venue, ladies dressed up as fairies cleansed our energies with sage and incense. Tents with different vendors were everywhere. It was slightly overstimulating, but in a good way. 

The handmade jewelry was my favorite part. I love jewelry, so supporting small businesses that put a lot of time and effort into their pieces means a lot to me. I bought a beautiful aquamarine crystal necklace, a handmade rhodonite crystal ring that came with a smaller crystal as well, strawberry shaped earrings, a purple wire necklace with a sun charm, and an evil eye bracelet. Each item was fairly inexpensive (price total was probably around $50, which is excellent for the amount of handmade items). I still wear most of the jewelry to this day! I did give away the blue crystal necklace, unfortunately. I absolutely loved it, but I never wore it because it didn’t match with any of my outfits. 

I also went to the tents with handmade soaps and bath products, where I found the best body scrub I have ever smelled and used! The scrub is called “Cosmic Witch Scrub” by Potion Bubbles. I don’t know how else to describe the scrub other than magical. I’ve never smelled anything like it before. It almost reminds me of the smell of Fruit Loops if they were earthy (I hope that makes any sense). The scrub also came with a rose scented lip balm. I noticed that a lot of the vendors gave little gifts with customers’ purchases, which I thought was a really kind gesture. Most of the vendors also have Instagram accounts and other websites where they sell their products. I posted the photo of my purchases (the one shown below) and tagged all of the vendors. This way, my followers are exposed to the products and drawn to the vendors’ Instagram. 

I also made three other purchases at Lunar Faire that I do not have photo evidence of. I received a wonderful tarot reading, where the woman doing the readings also sold delicious homemade sugar cookies! Her partner, who is a professional chef, made the cookies to sell at her readings. For $5, I was given a medium sized bag of sugar cookies that were shaped like stars and moons. If the shapes weren’t cute enough, the actual cookies were incredible, yet simple. I was able to snack on the cookies while waiting to get my tarot reading. The actual reading was lovely as well, costing $20. The reading was a three card reading based on the past, the present, and the future. My reading was very personal and I truly loved every second of it. 

After the reading, my friends and I headed over to the drink section. None of us were 21 yet, therefore we stuck to the non-alcoholic beverages. Each drink was named something mystical, which was very fitting for the festival (see photo below for the list of drinks). The drink I chose was inspired by the butterbeer drink in Harry Potter. This drink was amazing, with heavy emphasis on vanilla flavor, which I loved. It was also topped with whipped cream, making it even more indulgent. I unfortunately was not able to try any of the other food at Lunar Faire, but it smelled great! I also wasn’t able to see any of the performances, but I heard they were insanely cool. 

Although Lunar Faire was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, there were a few things I disliked. It was very dark; the only illumination was from the lights from the vendors and the neon signs placed sporadically throughout the venue. There were not any other lights, making it difficult to walk around when the sun fully set. The ladies running Lunar Faire did tell us to bring flashlights for this reason, though. I also noticed that nobody checked our tickets. This was not that big of a deal, as the tickets were only $10 each. I just found it strange that nobody was checking tickets; it led me to believe that people who did not purchase tickets were able to get into the venue. Again, not that big of a deal at all, I just found it interesting. Overall, Lunar Faire was a transformative experience that I will never forget. I plan to go again as often as possible this summer. I can’t wait to see all of the new and old aspects of Lunar Faire and how it has changed or stayed the same! 

Sarah Mengel

Kutztown '23

Junior English major with a minor coffee addiction :)
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