Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||Once Upon a Renaissance....
Once Upon a Renaissance
upon a time in a land far away... Well, actually, it is just a
few miles down the road... There was a magical kingdom called
the Renaissance Faire. These festivals apparently take place all
over the country as a celebration of something or another - I'm
not exactly sure what.
Basically, the participants try to go back in time to days of
yore, i.e., medieval times, chivalry, and 16th century life.
While these are not exactly the merry old days they are cracked
up to be, what with all the duels, wars, and beheadings
attributed to this period, there still seems to be a sort of
story-book romance attached to this period - the stuff that
fairy tales are made of.
At a Renaissance Festival, folks dress up in medieval costumes
and run around in the woods in a recreation of a former
lifestyle. For purposes of entertainment, not to mention filling
their purses with gold, various loosely related entertainment
acts and activities are also brought in, and people come from
places far and wide to see them, paying high shilling for the
There are magicians, jugglers, comedians, fortunetellers, belly
dancers, singing mistrals and other exotic sorts of
entertainment scattered throughout the faire grounds. These are
intermingled with food booths and medieval crafts, and all are
tangled together in a festival of merry-making. It is rather fun
in a "once-upon-a-time" kind of way.
We sit on crude wooden benches and watch the sword fights and
musicians along with the rest of the audience. Some of the
onlookers join in the spirit of the day by wearing costumes
themselves, many of which are not exactly in keeping with the
medieval theme, but more like Halloween leftovers or old prom
dresses. But, oh well, it's the thought that counts, I suppose.
Some of the more elaborate costumes are authentic and specially
created and worn by the "royal court." They preside
over the festival and also participate in a live chess match for
the amusement of the crowd. Most of the characters are ordinary
people who do this as a hobby and are not professionals. There
are also knights who wear authentic looking suits of armor and
joust on real horses, an interesting, if somewhat violent,
spectacle as they attempt to knock each other off galloping
horses with lances, and sometimes succeed.
It is necessary to join into the spirit of the event to enjoy
it. So, we clap and cheer the various performers along with
everyone else. I spend time prowling through the craft booths
looking at renaissance costumes and eating fish and chips. I
even have my palm read by a seer, who is about 50/50 correct in
her observations. I'm still looking for the angels she saw in
the palm of my hand and sneaking peeks at the long wrinkle in my
palm that represents intellect. Who would have thought?
My mind is jumbled with sword fighting, fire-eaters and dulcimer
players. My purse is much lighter, having been relieved of it's
monetary content to buy cheap jewelry, and other trinkets. My
grandson, who has no frame of reference for such an event, is
delighted and takes it all in stride, especially the trained
birds and falcons.
Like most fantasy, Camelot has been overly romanticized and the
reality, or even the recreation of reality, cannot measure up.
In spite of the element of mystique, the days of chivalry where
not quite as chivalrous as they are supposed to be. But for an
escapade in time and recreation of a literary reality, it is an
adventure that will leave you wishing for a castle with a
drawbridge. It is a step into a fairytale world where knights
are bold, maidens fair, and where everyone with admission price
lives happily ever after.
Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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