I'm a People Watcher. I love to just sit and watch people. Back when I was in high school, my sister Jamie worked at Disneyland and during the summer, we'd go to Disneyland (we got in for FREE!) and pick a spot to just sit and people watch. Oh, sure, we'd go on a couple of rides but mostly we just people watch and laugh our fool heads off.
We could usually guess which part of the world people were from by their clothing. European men seemed to favor short-shorts with tank tops and clogs. Canadians usually wore high-waisted jeans with HUGE legs (this was back in the late '70's). Jamie and I would elbow each other and snicker, "How's it going, eh?" Japanese guests would almost always be in silk suits and ties for the men and silk dresses with pearls and high heels for the ladies.
One family that still sticks out to this day was the family that looked like they had just stepped off the set of "Deliverance." The menfolk were wearing overalls that could not be buttoned at the sides due to the fact that the material did not stretch that far. "Paw" had a "Mountain Man" beard down to his chest. "Maw" and daughter were both large women (and that's putting it kindly) and were wearing what looked like a tent sewed at the sides with head and armholes cut out. They looked terrified at being away from the Appalachians yet thrilled to be at Disneyland!
But I digress. While I was in Colorado last week, sister Jamie asked if I would be interested in going to the Larkspur Renaissance Festival. Would I? Would I? (Peg Leg! Peg Leg!) Some of the best people watching is at Renaissance Fairs/Festivals and I was SO there!
Now I had always assumed that people who "participate" in RenFairs made sure their characters and costumes were historically accurate to Elizabethan England. Hardy har-har and tee-hee-hee. Oh, sure, there were a few characters that were historically accurate in their costumes but for the most part, RenFest was just a chance for people to fly their Freak Flags and live out some fantasy, like Mr. Centaur here:
There were lots of fairies floating around. Nephew Chris says it's because they all had pointy ears leftover from the last Star Trek convention and dammit, they're going to get their money's worth out of them. Some of the fairy costumes were just...odd:
Or maybe she was a jester.
I discovered that if you wear a swimsuit, stuff some tulle in your bottoms and paint whimsical designs on your face, you can consider yourself a fairy:
For women, the costume of choice appeared to be a curious mixture of Goth Gypsy meets Belly Dancer. The more skin showing, the better. Which in many cases was NOT better as the skin that was showing was usually rolls of belly and waist fat:
You'd buy your Goth Gypsy/Belly Dancer attire at this place:
There were many people who mistook fashions from the late 17th century for mid 16th century Renaissance wear. Lots of Captain Jack Sparrows roaming around, along with Nell Gwynne lookalikes. The Pirate (or should I say "Pyrate?") Wench look was big.
I saw about 10 people who were dressed historically accurate for the time period.
Some of the best people watching were the attendees. Yes, she's wearing a bikini top and gold lame' shorts.
His 'n' Hers Beer Bellies!
A Shining Example of American Youth:
Yes, his earlobes ARE stretched that far and yes, that IS a lip disk that makes his bottom lip stick out that far and you can see his nipple piercings through his wife- beater. I'm sure they're very nice people.
Chris and Kaylyn modeling the latest in headwear from the Ghengis Khan Collection:
We did have a lovely time, even with the sudden drenching downpour. Since the food stations were serving up deep fried carnival food, I partook of fried dill pickles and a funnel cake that had sat too long under the heat lamp. Luckily I was able to burn off those empty calories with the trek back to the parking lot. Up hill. In the heat and humidity. It killed me. Dead.
Anyhoo, I learned that Renaissance Festivals and Fairs aren't about being historically accurate; it's about living out your fantasies, accuracy be damned! But mostly, Ren Festivals and Fairs are all about the People Watching!