It’s that time of year again. Fall! Cool mornings, apple picking, Pumpkin Spice flavor in everything known to man, and the return of King Richard’s Faire. Held on the border of cranberry country in Carver, Massachusetts King Richard’s Faire lets you taste the Renaissance era without out all of those pesky plagues and wars.
Grab a map on your way in and explore the kingdom. There are 11 stages sprinkled throughout the woods with a variety of entertainment from family friendly shows to bawdy entertainment that might require parents to answer some questions on the ride home. There are pony rides and animal shows. You can test your own knight’s prowess throwing axes, knives, or knocking back some arrows at the gaming glen. If you are good, you could win your own knighthood.
And no King Richard’s Faire experience would be complete without seeing at least one of the Jousts.
You say, “But, oh I have nothing to wear!” Costumes are not required, but if the costume bug bites you, there is both a costume rental booth and for a more permanent solution a number of vendors who are ready to deck you out in the most colorful of clothing.
The food can be a bit on the pricey side, but is worth it for the novelty of a glass of honey mead and a turkey leg big enough to club your neighbor. Vegetarians need not fear, the King’s kitchen offer more than just side dishes for their dining pleasure.
As King Richard’s Faire celebrates its 35th anniversary, it is interesting to see how it has changed since I was a child. It adapts to the present times with it’s embracing of the pop culture. When Braveheart came out, it embraced the Scottish games. With the rise of Pirates of the Caribbean series, there became a distinct swagger to the realm. With Lord of the Rings, a distinct Elven presence was felt the pine woods of Carver. And now with Game of Thrones claiming the small screen, there is more than one Stark or Targaryen sitting on the bench next to you.
Each weekend has a theme. You can check out their website to see the full schedule. This past weekend was the Iron Throne weekend and I was asked to join the festivities as a guest judge for the Game of Thrones Costume Contest and Trivia Game. Drawing a huge crowd of fans, 50 participants were chosen and broken up into 5 teams representing the a great houses of Westeros. Each round of trivia has one survivor, and the other 4 contestants are eliminated, creating a fast paced game.
To keep it from being your standard game of trivia, the game’s host, Sir Percival also threw in a “sudden death” curveballs such as a white walker attack. Several audience members were chosen before the game began and at Sir Percival’s que, were allowed to choose at random a participant to eliminate. Unfair, maybe, but true the spirit of Game of Thrones. The last contestant standing won both bragging rights and a place as guest judge for the costume contest.
After the trivia came the costume contest. There were a number of Daenerys’ and Jon Snows as to be expected. A few brave souls went so far as to dress as characters from the books never to have appeared on the HBO show. Judges picked the finalists, but in King Richard’s Faire fashion, it is the crowd who picked the winner. No just costume, but embodiment of the character won the day. A young woman dressed as a blind and beggerly Arya Stark reigned supreme. We can only hope that is how it works out in the show as well.
For me, that is what is so enduring about King Richard’s Faire. It is accepting. It embraces everyone’s secret nerdom and integrates it. It gives the visitors a place to indulge in their childhood storytime, whether it be magic or dragons or pirates. It is all entertainment.
If you’ve never attended before, there’s still time to visit this season. King Richard’s Faire runs every weekend until October 24th.