On Saturday, my friends and I made our annual pilgrimage to Sterling Renaissance Festival, a fantastic outdoor festival that takes place every weekend during the summer. The ground are set up to imitate a small English village, and each day at noon Queen Elizabeth and her court parade through, followed by all manner of knights, wenches, thieves, and beggars who wander the village entertaining the visitors. The actor’s costumes and personas are fantastic, and about half of the patrons dress up as well. Naturally, I am in that 50 percent.
To my mind, costumes are all about the accessories. I don’t claim to be an expert (nor do I pretend that my costumes are in any way accurate), but I love finding new bits and pieces for my costume each year. The ‘kilt’ was easy, just a circle skirt out of some plaid fabric I found on clearance a couple years ago. What the Craft and The Ribbon Retreat both have good patterns if you want to make one yourself; they’re wonderfully swooshy!
The accessories though, ah the accessories! Most important (and arguably easiest) is a good leather belt. Everyone at the fair wears one and you’ll see anything from tankards to baby dragons tied on to them. The pouch was another easy bit. Made from the leftover fabric from my skirt and lined with brown fur fabric, I stitched on some bells and a lovely silver owl from an old necklace. He’s been through the wars that bird – one eye and a few feathers gone for good. I never throw away any jewelry though, I even used his chain to make charm bracelets for my sister and me. The wooden fan came from Lily Dale, a small spiritualist community near Buffalo, NY. It smells…like seances and fairy houses, but works well tied on to my belt with a small jewelry clasp. The pocket watch, too, was clipped on to the skirt with a clasp.
The drinking horn is my favorite part of the whole costume. My fiance bought it for me at the Festival a few years ago, at the Art of Fire glass studio. For many years, Foster and his wife Theda put on glassblowing shows every weekend. They no longer do the shows, but still have a lovely little booth right near the entrance! It is by far my favorite place to shop and Mike and I find something beautiful to buy every year.
And! My newest acquisition. Threads of Time is another must see, with handmaid bodices, chemises, and full gowns – all handmaid (as well as stuff for the menfolk, but I’ve only glanced through that). This year I finally purchased a bodice! It’s more of a teal than the one in the picture, and goes with my skirt beautifully. I’m ridiculously excited to add it to my costume for next years excursion!
Along with the shopping, the shows are always spectacular. My personal favorites are the Washer Wenches (clean clothes for dirty people!), Hey Nunnie Nunnie (wacky songs of divine inspiration!) and Franko Master Hypnotist (the funniest show you’ll ever sleep through!). This year I managed to get myself hypnotized and do some very silly things…
So. In conclusion. Go to the festival, flirt with some wenches, and eat a turkey leg for me!