RENAISSANCE FAIRE KNIGHTS
Most people have a few specific images in mind when they want
to visit a renaissance or medieval festival. Kings and queens,
princesses, knights in shining armor, and Robin Hood. Perhaps
without understanding the actual difference between the Renaissance
and Medieval periods, these romanticized figures of European
myth and history are what paying patrons generally want to see
and interact with.
But out of all of them, the one you're least likely to meet in
the form of a cast portrayal is the armored knight. Armor is
expensive and difficult to wear for a long time, certainly,
but I'm not sure if there are reasons beyond that. Most of the
faires will have jousting shows, or possibly even some sword
combat demonstrations. But few knights wander around the village
to interact with children and families the way the king or queen
will, not to mention many other nobles and villagers that are
also being portrayed.
I'll use the Maryland Renaissance Festival as an example. It's
perhaps the largest and most well established of the renfaires
in the eastern third of the United States, and has multiple
jousting shows per day with a dedicated jousting troupe. It has
a very large and relatively historically accurate cast, portraying
specific figures from the time of Henry VIII. However, there are
no armored knights on cast. The closest they have is one of the
jousters who is paid extra to wander throughout the shire and
interact with patrons (briefly) between shows. What he does is
wonderful, as he's an excellent jouster and he's great with the
kids. But he's one man, and his time is limited, and the faire
site is quite large.
Nine times out of ten, a young child who has his heart set on
meeting a knight will end up meeting a paying patron rather
than a cast member. With the improving prices and availablilty
of armor, more and more patrons are taking up the role of knights.
However, their number is still quite small overall.
This is where we come in. As knights of the renfaires, we can
take up the charge of providing photo-ops, answering questions,
and being positive role models to families and children who
wish to see knights in shining armor as part of their faire
experience. We do this because we enjoy bringing smiles to their
faces, and keeping the romantic view of chivalry alive. In our
modern age of daily drudgery, a little education, entertainment,
and inspiration can go a long way.
Truth and Honor!
-- Sir Edward