2021 is a heck of a year for time travel and I mean that in the best way possible. Flouting the time-space continuum has always been a popular theme, with stories such as H.G. Wells The Time Machine and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court being counted among the most notable. The very idea of being able to manipulate time to our desires branches out into nearly every aspect of literature and media into the modern era, inspiring daring creative choices for storytelling. With shows like Rick & Morty, Loki, and Outlander taking over as some of the most popular fandoms, it’s no surprise that our fascination with alternate universes, endless timelines, and our effect as individuals in an endless universe of possibility is at an all-time high. And what better place to experience this than a renaissance festival?
While ORF exists within the bubble of 1572 Elizabethan England, Time Travelers weekend is when we get our biggest burst of anachronism flooding into the park, much to the delight of sci-fi and fantasy enthusiasts. Steampunk aesthetics are out for everyone to see, with a flair for the Victorian era and some of the most bombastic character creations you could ask for. We get our fair share of addled professors, inventors, and time police wandering through. I have a special passion for those who put functional construction into their garb, making it more than gears and copper paint.
Cosplayers show up in droves, giving us a glimpse at the talent and skill that our guests are capable of. The costume contest held on the Chess Field lets you take part in the show, bringing forward your best look for the audience to vote on. We tend to leave the rules fairly open, as some cosplays are entirely homemade while others are composites of pieces bought over time. But the audience loves seeing the competitors go all the way with their looks, so if you want that applause you’d better bring it!
Adding to the crowds last weekend was the return of Albannach, the bare-knuckle pipes and drums group that takes over the Ohio Renaissance Festival every year. Their music hits something ingrained deep inside each and every one of us. The forceful beat of the drums mingles in with the clarion cry of the bagpipes, tugging at the very core of one’s being. The music is inescapable and can be heard everywhere within the village. It’s only natural to dance along, so don’t be surprised if you get swept up by the train of people clapping their way through the aisles.
So far this has been a season of triumphs and challenges. ORF is following the trend of many faires around the country with dedicated fans and newcomers alike eager to enjoy the festival’s entertainments. With only four more weeks left of the run, I’ve taken note of the way the faire is running and come up with a few suggestions for those of you who want to visit in the coming days. It never hurts to be prepared when coming to such a large-scale venue. Read ahead and take advantage of my experience to give you and your family the best visit to our village.
#1: Be Courteous
Putting on a festival of any kind takes the dedication and hard work of dozens of people, never mind putting on a faire that lasts two months. For every staff member you see in uniform, know that there are more behind the scenes putting in their utmost every day to keep things flowing in all conditions. They do it for the joy of ren faire, so treat them with the same courtesy you would expect.
#2: Bring Cash
The Ohio Renaissance Festival is set in the middle of rural Harveysburg, OH. At any given time we have a large number of guests in the park, not including the vendors, boothies, and performers, all trying to use the mobile network to process payments, post to social media, and the like. We have multiple ATMs located at the Front Gate, 1572 BBQ, New World Knoll, and Gamer’s Grove. However, it is prudent to understand that supplies are not endless and lines will form. We are in an increasingly cashless world, but for the moment it will benefit you to have some on hand for your expected expenditures.
#3: Arrive Early
The gates open at 10:30 am Saturday and Sunday. Our parking lot fills up quickly and as we have seen these past weeks the traffic coming off the interstate will back up equally fast on the two-lane State Route 73. The amount of control ORF has begins and ends at our lot gates. Our parking staff works very hard to get cars through as quickly and safely as possible. The best thing you can do is plan to get here early and take your time enjoying what the festival has to offer.
#4: Check the Website
Because of the high crowds and ongoing festival, the staff is often very busy during the day. This can make it difficult to get fast answers by posting in the comment section. Be sure to check the website before you attend to get most of the information you will need during your visit. As always, we will do our best to attend to any pertinent issues that arise. Most basic information can be found by visiting renfestival.com. Also, make sure you take a screenshot of the QR code emailed to you when you purchase tickets online before you arrive at the park.
#5: Tips & Tricks
There are a few more things you can do to lighten the load during your visit!
– Eat Before Joust: Once the joust lets out the lines fill up quickly, so grab your food and drink before then so you can avoid the long waits.
– Make Downtime: A full day at ORF is wonderful, exhausting fun! Find a chance to grab some shade and relax before you burn out.
– Shop Early: The mobile network starts to run sluggish around noon or so when most of the big crowds show up. If you have a planned purchase hit the booth early and get what you came for.