Renaissance Pleasure Faire Los Angeles Review

(Reed’s Playlist for the occasion: Ride by TWENTY ONE PILOTS)

I have found my people.

That’s the easiest way I can describe my experience at last day of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire just outside of Pasadena. It was like one long extended nerdgasm for an entire (sun-drenched and dehydrating) day.

My friends and I kind of decided to go on a whim after hearing about it, and I mostly imagined a cross between a historical museum and a way-too-serious roleplaying experience. What I got was nowhere near that.

It actually almost reminded me of the Sawdust Festival up in Laguna – it’s a showcasing of a plethora of different local artists who do everything from forge steel and pewter into weapons and tankards, to leather workers who create clothing – not costumes, but actual clothing, as one of them reminded me several times – from historical time periods, to random other things like crystals set into headbands and tiaras or medallions hand-stamped to order with a fucking guillotine. We watched a glassblower make a wine goblet and then promptly shatter it for our entertainment; some of my friends saw a one-man performance of Romeo and Juliet, and we even watched a jousting tournament.

I was surprised at how no one tried to be over-the-top in accent or demeanor; instead, it just felt like a bunch of people who were nerdy about certain periods of history hanging out together and showing off their stuff. Most of the people I met ranged from pleasant to straight-up helpful; one dude saw me eyeing suede capes and cloaks and immediately suggested a few vendors to compare.

The other thing I loved about the faire was that it didn’t strictly conform to the Renaissance time period. From steampunk to piracy to the gypsy lifestyle, there were cosplayers and merchants derived from any interesting and fantasy-relatable time period. There was even a dude dressed up like the Twilight Princess version of Link (and if you know me, you know that I immediately accosted him and asked to snapchat him).

Some previous influence had suggested to me that a Renaissance Faire would be a high-LARP, almost ridiculously over-the-top experience where anyone who wasn’t dressed like a 15th century swordfighter would look stupid and out of place. Instead, it was a really nice mix – both fairgoers who clearly just wanted to look around, and roleplayers or cosplayers who had spent thousands of dollars on fantasy outfits reminiscent of Game of Thrones. I would seriously recommend it for anyone who even has a passing interest in history, fantasy, or roleplay.

And I may or may not have bought a hooded cloak for my D&D sessions. By which I mean I absolutely did.

Yours, feeling quite white and nerdy,

-R.R. Buck


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