Modern Chivalry

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RenFaire Knights

Making a Kit



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

An Ed Toton website.