Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pirates all up in everything

I just got back from the Georgia Renaissance Festival, which was, after reflecting on it for a moment, probably not worth the long drive. The Ren Fest was fun, and was made even better by the fine company we kept, but it was a long drive to spend the day mostly among pirates.

The first time I went to a Ren Faire, there were no pirates -- they hadn't become trendy. Last year, the ubiquity of pirate stuff was a little annoying, but I have nothing particularly against pirates, so I tended to ignore it.

This year, however, the pirate stuff seems to be pushing the medieval stuff out of the Faire. For example, last year our kids bought Robin Hood-style hats. This year, no such hats were available. I looked around for a T-shaped tunic for myself (I had even saved up a bunch of money for it), but this year no shop carried them at all. I don't mean they didn't have one I liked, or one in my size, or whatever. They just plumb didn't have medieval clothing anymore.

There are still some medieval things -- for example, they still have jousting, and swords and fairy-related items are still available -- but I would say that the Faire is now dominated by pirates. Nothing wrong with pirates, but not my scene.

After a year to think about it, I might change my mind, but for the moment, I think I won't be returning to a Ren Faire until this pirate trend gives its dying whimper.

Hmmmm ... I wonder what the SCA is doing this summer?


  1. Anonymous10:50 PM

    The last SCA war I went to (which admittedly I only spent a day and evenings at, since I was at the ACMRS conference during the day) had its fair share of pirates too. That said, it doesn't seem to have reached the point that you're describing. I haven't been to the Renn Faire out here in CA lately (and I'm moving to do my doctoral work, so I won't be for a long time), but I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same thing.

  2. My guess is that the SCA will be fighting off pirate attacks but will emerge triumphant. I have to wonder where this pirate stuff comes from, it has been building up for a number of years and I would guess it comes from the non-geek parts of popular culture into the geek world and not vice versa. Do you mind if I post your comment to a local SCA list to see what they say?

  3. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I would suggest extended time at a war. Two options would be the War of the Lilies near Kansas City in mid-June and Pennsic near Pittsburgh in July-August.

    Lilies is much truer to SCA standards, while Pennsic is the biggest and most inclusive SCA event.

    Rob Howell

  4. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Aha! The very question I asked in class one day, exactly what is the deal with pirates and ren fairs? I love fairies though and I will fight to death to prevent some stinking pirate from killing off the fairies. Blame it on Johnny Depp. That's my philosophy anyway.

  5. i guess you won't be giving it as extra credit ;-)