During the Memorial Holiday weekend, I took a road trip back in time with a few friends to Muskogee, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, which marked its 20th anniversary this year. We had a fantastic “ye’ olde” time!
We were transported to the European Renaissance community called Castleton, a bigger than life area covering many acres of period-looking structures, including quaint merchant shops and bazaars, tournament grounds, public stages, and craft stands. The costumes worn by Castleton’s denizens are immersive and realistic and the personalities of all players are both welcoming and socially engaging. One denizen confronts anyone who has their hands in their pockets with, “You can pick someone else’s pockets, but you can’t pick your own!”
In the middle of town, there’s a rustic little bank where you can trade in modern currency for hearty coins of the realm equivalencies that you use with vendors and merchants for making purchases. And, oh how the vendors love to engage you about their wares, many of which were handmade (leather goods, and crafts) or home-conjured (soaps, herbal remedies, etc.). The entire environment is like the cross between a Renaissance community and Disneyland in the 1600s!
While it wasn’t like taking an actual TARDIS trip back to the 1600s, it was immersive and highly socially engaging. Face it; properly masked technology is appreciable. I mean, it’s not only nice to be able to use modern currency or a debit card when paying for one’s chicken Shawarma or lamb kabobs, but modern plumbing is wonderful when it’s time for those infrequent restroom breaks. In fact, those tactfully placed “Ye Olde Privy” signs are a hoot, too.
It was my second year in a row to attend the festival, and my love for it continues to grow. I loved the boisterous welcome provided at Castleton’s entrance by some lovely ladies who placed visible lipstick kisses onto you, only to have Castleton’s residents and players poke fun at you for having visiting the “wenches” as you wander the town. One of my friends – her character’s name is Pearl – was one of those lovely ladies, and she played her role to the hilt! (Pun intended…)
Of particular interest was a rare lady knight on horseback. She participated in both the equestrian events and the actual helmed joust. She was amazing! I genuinely appreciated her posing for a photo, too.
Oh, there are foods galore to choose from, too. The fresh scent of cooked meats permeates the air and there are both wine and beer merchants when you’re ready to imbibe. As for treats, I purchased some blackberry and black raspberry jams from one of the merchants, as well as some tasty honey-roasted almonds. Next year, I plan to patronize both the chocolate fudge vendor and the kettle corn merchant.
If you’re interested in learning more about Castleton or the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, please click HERE to go to their website. I highly recommend a visit!
However you choose to spend your weekend, don’t forget to pause for a moment in reflection for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for us. Certainly, none elected to become a statistic, but we nevertheless owe them at least a silent acknowledgment that we appreciate their sacrifice.
As always, enjoy life; be kind to those around you, and Happy Reading! Peace.