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KING RICHARD’S FAIRE: An Annual Autumnal Tradition

By Benn Robbins

As the summer wanes and we are all preparing to not wear white after Labor Day, I am always excited because it means that The Renaissance returns to Massachusetts.

If You don’t know what I am talking about, then either you must be new round these parts, or you might not have a love of corsets, turkey legs and jousting duels.

King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA is New England’s longest running Renaissance Faire that is every weekend from Labor Day weekend through the weekend of October 19th. Set in a forest on 80 acres off of Route 58 in Carver, you get to step back in time and have a grand olde tyme with hundreds of entertainers, performers, shoppes and venders.

The main attraction being the 3 main jousting and combat duels that happen throughout the day.

This year marks my 25th year of going to this fantastic and fun event.

So, grab your flagon of mead and turkey drumstick and come with me on a journey to the past.

My trip to the Faire was partially to cover the show but also to celebrate my friend Bethany’s birthday.

I thought “What a great idea, because coming and sharing this with friends is what, to me, KRF is all about.”. Most of us dressed up in traditional garb of the time. And we all, except myself because I can’t drink alcohol, bellied up to the bar and got our honey mead on.

What is honey mead? it is a fermented wine made from honey. It is sweet, delicious, and traditional for most who one here to partake in.

As the day progressed we wandered, taking in the sights, the stage shows were a riot, as usual, particularly the Washing Well Wenches and the Mud Show.

Each weekend there is a highlighted event. Sadly I had missed the “Cleavage Contest” on the 6th, one of my favorites. HAHA.

However, this past weekend was the Game Of Thrones costume contest and trivia.

The Game of Thrones contest, sponsored by Hosted by Disruptor Beam, developers of Game of Thrones Ascent – an online strategy game set in the world create by author George R. R. Martin. It boasted some pretty amazing and creative costumes. The contestants were paraded on stage for the judges and audience to see.

Finalists were cozen by the judges and then the final winner was chosen by audience applause. The winner, an uncanny Caitlyn Stark complete with (SPOILERS) Red Wedding neck slice.

The trivia contest was fun and focused on the TV series and not so much the books but the format was fun and kind of silly. Like the show/books there was much “death” involved.

Other fun upcoming events are Royal Ink (Tattoo) contest on Saturday Oct 4th, Men in Kilts and Ladies in Bloomers contest on Sunday Oct 5th, Children’s Fairies & Pirates Costume contest on Sat Oct 11th and finally the Adult Costume contest on the final weekend on Saturday Oct 18th.

In between shows and other events I highly recommend you check out the vast and various vendors and craftspeople that make up the landscape as well. Much like the fairs of old people from around the realm come to sell their wears. Should you want to dress up but don’t have anything that would fit the time there is a myriad of costume shops where you can purchase or rent some garb for the day.

Various jewelers and accessory makers hand craft baubles and trinkets to adorn your body and should you want to arm thyself, there are a slew of armorers around from prop style weapons to functioning sharp and pointy armaments of all kinds.

Food is plenty with an array of munchables from the aforementioned Turkey leg to Chowder in bread bowls and peasant bread i.e. fried dough. Food is purchased with food ticks you can buy at kiosks around the fairgrounds. With the exception of the food vendors most all the various sellers take the Maister of Card and Ser Visa some even take the card of Discovery and Express of Americas.

When you want to take a break from shopping the Tournament Field is host to the three main battles of the day, “the Challenge of the Champions” at noon, “the King’s Tournament” at 2pm and the final “Joust to the Death” at 5pm are always fun.

Hokey and silly but always a good time with the crowds cheering and jeering their favorite knights as the battle to the end. Will betrayal and deceit prevail or will the Chivalrous win the day?

The day ended and much like it does for me whenever I go to the faire,  it ended too soon. Festivities and excitement drew to an end and the dusty wind swept glens, fields and forest slowly emptied and though we went our separate way the camaraderie we all built this day carried us to our cars and back to the “real world”.

If you have the means and the time, I highly recommend this destination, as the leaves change and fall the setting is perfect for a day out with family and/or friends. Climb the Jacobs Ladder, Get knighted in one of the many challenges like Archery, Knife and or Axe Throwing.

There is something for everyone, young and old, to keep you entertained. Dress up or not, come and enjoy the people watching, it really doesn’t matter. You are bound to find something you like here. I have for the last 25 years.

King Richard’s Faire is open every weekend through October 19th from 10:30am-6:00pm

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