After 12 years I finally made it to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The two I'd been to in the past were a tiny one at Kansas Neuman college in Wichita and the one outside Kansas City. The Maryland one compares nicely to the one outside Kansas City.
In KC the performers have to ask for donations after each show.
In MD they're paid by the festival.
In KC the joust is off in a corner and is a whole tournament that lasts a good part of the day. A wall of people forms and you can't get in to see the show
In MD there's three jousts that each last less than an hour. People come, see the show, and leave.
There's a much greater selection of food in MD. The pizza and spaghetti was a bit of a puzzle until I realized that we think of Renaissance festivals celebrating medieval times and not much of the Renaissance. That still doesn't explain the cheesecake on a stick.
The archery booths were a joke. You had to shoot at your neighbor's target to have a hope of hitting yours. The midair gymnastics of the arrows were really rather impressive.
The mead was good. I tried some Vikingernes Mjod recently that tasted like spite. Not Sprite. Spite. Both the spite and the festival mead tasted like white wine with honey added, but the festival mead was pretty good.
There weren't as many people with tails as I had expected. Some people had slightly animatronic creatures on their shoulders, but not many. There was one guy in a quality Star Trek: The Next Generation costume. Two people had Star Trek: The Reboot Movies uniform t-shirts. One 10th Doctor outfit. A few vikings. A Lannister. A few Victorian era outfits edging into steampunk.
If you go, you'll want to check out the Battle School show. They start with a scene from The Princess Bride and then explain who all the names mentioned during the battle were and their contribution to fencing. Then they go through a variety of swords, how they got their names, how to use them, then do a battle in slow motion followed by the same battle at BATTLE SPEED (you have to yell it)!
Hopefully, it won't be another 12 years before I make it back.