by Chrysa Smith

‘Faire thee well.’

That’s one of the lost phrases you’ll hear at your local Renaissance Festival. And for me, that’s the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire:

I haven’t gotten there yet this year, but I will–as soon as my son heads off to college. Because an afternoon spent at a Renaissance Festival is equal to a mini-vacation; entering an ancient world filled with queens, knights, beggars, jesters and of course, those bawdy girls (oh, my!)

Naturally, you’ll get to see such things as a human chess board, ax throwing games, a fun game of ‘Dunk the Wench.’ You’ll find wind up rides and the medieval chiropractor (wooden board with rope that stretches you),and get a few laughs as the ‘characters’ stay in ‘character’ without missing a beat. The bawdy girls belt out some bawdy ballads and jest with male audience members. And the mud pit wrestling gets audiences fired up, as does some of the period food.

Now it’s no foodie delight, but it is unique and somewhat authentic. Smoked turkey legs are amongst the highlights–big enough to have come off something larger, like an ostrich. But no patty meat here. This is a down and dirty meal eaten with hand and mouth, and a napkin for those with manners. Pickle-on-a stick is another favorite. It comes from a roving vendor who jokingly chants: “Pick your stick or stick your pick.” I can hear that one over and over again–still makes me giggle. There are soups and chowders served in bread bowls and one of my favorite desserts: bread pudding.

Of course there is standard fare for those non-adventurous types who can’t leave their Blackberries or their 21st Century fast food alone—even for the grand finale of the day—a joust. On horseback, two dueling dynasties fight it out to the finish as Queen Elizabeth and her posse look on.

I don’t know about you, but I could go for a day that’s truly ‘out of this world’—at least the current one. It’s a great Rx for modern day relief that comes highly recommended.

Until we meet again, I faire thee well.
The PA Renaissance Faire is located in Manheim, PA (Lancaster County), just off the PA Turnpike. It runs every weekend through October 30th.