I know, I know...
Ren Fests are those people that far more people attend than are willing to admit attending, but they're truly great places full of great people. (And some not so great people, at least one of which mutilated my favorite bridge troll by cutting it in half! GRRR!)
But, I'm not going to focus on the not-so-greats in this post.
The number one thing you learn when attending a Ren Fest is that - literally - everyone is welcome there. (Okay, so it's the 2nd thing you learn. The 1st is that ANYTHING can be fried and stuck on a stick.) Eclectic takes on a whole new meaning in that atmosphere.
The Faire I attended today is the one I worked a stint at when I was in high school (yes, folks, I'm an honorary carnie. Deal with it ;-P ) And because I'm used to it, I'm used to seeing the unusual. From the man who has spend the last ten or so years standing guard for hours on end in chain mail at the gate to guys who willingly wear tights and skirts (Skirt, kilt, potato, pottato) and suddenly lose the machismo that prevents them from hugging other men. (Apparently, in the Renaissance, it was no big deal.)
The shop matron of one of the long time costumers is a six and a half foot tall , two hundred pound man with a personality that makes even the hardest sell forget about his dress. Women who have nursing babies are free to feed them in the middle of the square and no one makes a scene or announces their displeasure. Couples that might draw strange looks elsewhere walk around like they're part of the family, and in a way that's what everyone there is. But I've never seen anything like the incident that made me decide that the world should be a little more like the bubble inside the gates of the Faire.
There was a little girl, maybe eight years old, who was more than slightly overweight. She was there with her mom and grandma, and this little girl wanted to dress in full costume for the day. She didn't go for the corsets and full skirts, she wanted to be a gypsy. For a moment, mom and granny (both of a similar body type to the child) looked unsure, but they went into the costumer.
A while later, I saw them again. And everyone of them was decked out in full gypsy regalia, veils, bare bellies and all. Yes, her probably eight-five year old grandmother was wearing what amounted to a gauze draped bikini. The amazing thing of it was - no one cared. NO ONE. Not one person whispered behind their backs or poked fun at this trio who would have elsewhere been shunned or pushed to dressed more "appropriate" for their physical appearance. No one suggested that the beaming little girl in pink and orange was anything other than the beautiful creature she believed herself to be.
Kudos to the kiddo that didn't let someone else steal her moment, kudos that mom and grandma for having the guts to go that far to support the little girl they loved, and kudos to everyone else for letting them be.
So, are you going to Scarborough Faire (yes, that's really its name)? If not, you ought to.