In a surprise to likely no one, stories from people who work at Renaissance Faires sound just as harrowing as the prospect of medieval survival itself. It takes a certain kind of eclectic to work a Renaissance Faire, the kind of confident, yet mysterious individual who catches a bus in homemade chain-mail without any sign of shame. Of course, when combined with a whole lot of weaponry, deep-fried turkey legs, and ale, that confidence comes in handy. For every successful puppet show and catapult launch, there are Renaissance Faire stories of people stealing swords, taking jousting too seriously, and the old sex acts no one, even at a medieval far, wants to see. Hello, bestiality...
Fortunately for those of you who haven't sauntered into a Renaissance Faire, Reddit users give it to you straight from the wench's mouth. If you ever wanted to know the full range of wacky stuff going on in those tents, listen to these Renaissance Faire workers tell their worst stories. Despite what history tells you, the Dark Ages never passed.
The Tale Of Sargeant Sparkles
“I've been with the festivals for years now and I've got a couple stories.
This happened to some of my buddies. They ship glitter for use in their fairy-themed booths at fest. They have a large white van and were traveling down Arizona. They get stopped by border patrol, who pulls them over and asks them what they are transporting. The driver, being a smart ass, says ‘fairy paraphernalia.’ This of course gets their van searched.
The cops find all these vacuum plastic bricks in the van. Now I bet you don't know, but the way glitter is transported in bulk is in vacuum plastic bricks. Looks exactly like bricks of drugs from TV or movies. The cop grabs one and asks the driver what this is. The driver (still being a smart ass) says ‘I'd like to exercise my right to remain silent.’
So the cop pulls out a pocket knife to open the brick. The driver says ‘Officer, I wouldn't do that if I were you.’ I bet you don't know that when you vacuum pack a powder and then break the seal, it explodes.
The officer stabs the brick, which causes five pounds of glitter to explode all over him. The officer's partner busts out laughing and says to his partner ‘Oh no, you're not getting in my squad car like that.’
So if you're ever driving down I-10 in Arizona near the border. Be sure to say hello to Sargent Sparkles.”
Say A Little Prayer
"I've worked at my local renaissance faire for nearly 13 years. First in games and rides mostly managing the front Archery range, and then these last 3 years in one of the soap shops. I have hundreds of crazy stories, but this is the most insane.
The Archery range I worked at was sandwiched between a bar and the Mud Show. It made for some very drunk and rowdy patrons. I tended to use my best judgment on who I let shoot, but occasionally there was very little I could do with a line longer than one at Disney Land and people shoving money into my hands. A super drunk got past me by his wife purchasing the arrows and because we were slammed. After the line had thinned I turned to look and the super drunk was in the Archery stall next to me. I noticed he had his arrow knocked improperly in the bow and spoke to him to get him to fix it so he didn't slice his hand open. Instead of complying, super drunk turned towards me with the loaded and drawn bow and said 'Whuuuut?' And then released.
Now, I am not a religious person, but you better believe I went to mass held on grounds the next morning. By the grace of whatever is out there, the arrow hit the large piece of steel boning in my Moresca bodice and saved my innards from being pierced by an arrow shot from a 30lb compound bow. I had a bruise the size of my fist and needed to be immediately extracted from my bodice because the boning had bent inwards and was excruciatingly painful, but I was perfectly fine."
A Close Shave
"Participant at one of Europe's larger medieval festivals here.
During an sca tournament, one of the fighters had his helmet thwacked well and hard, as it should be, however, the dent...
The helmet dented under/around the jawline of the fighter. This meant that he could not get it off. Nor could anybody else help him pry it off. They had to get a blacksmith with a hammer, chisel and chopping block out there. So, in front of an audience, the man places his helmeted head on the chopping block whilst the blacksmith starts chiseling the helmet open whilst it's still on the dude's HEAD! And remember, the dent was around his jawline, I.e. The metal sat damn close to the skin of his face and neck. One wrong thwack and he'd be disfigured or dead.
In the end, they got him out, the audience cheered and he turned to his friend and said 'I may have lost the tournament, but I f*cking won Visby.'"
Engage At Your Own Risk
“Some guy this year jumped into the show and stole a character's sword. The character's wife (wife in real life as well) jumped on the guy and got him in a choke hold until police arrived. Badass woman.”