We are SO pleased to have a guest blogger with us today! Denny Zee is the head of “Homeschool Cooperative Educating in Central Florida” or HCECF, an inclusive and eclectic group of home-educating families in the greater Orlando area. She’s also a full-fledged Rennie and a seasoned faire-goer! Denny has written a fabulous post chock-full of helpful information for teachers planning to visit the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire with their students! For more information about HCECF or to contact Denny, please visit http://www.hcecf.net/
Take it away, Denny!
“Education Day at the Faire is a great opportunity to allow your students a brief glimpse into another time period. Auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning styles are combined in a field trip to the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire which brings history to life for your students.
I attended my first renaissance faire as a young adult way back in 1987. Without hesitation, I can say that single event changed my life. I’ve worn many hats over the years since – historical reenactor, faire patron, performer, teacher, homeschooler, costumer, vendor, and mom. From this combined perspective, I offer some tips to help your students get the most out of their trip to the middle ages. Plus things that all the performers likely want you to know, but won’t tell you.
*Take advantage of the free curriculum. Most renaissance faires have an education day and a related curriculum. Get it, use it. If you need more, check out the curriculum for other faires. Many are available free online. Web quests are also fun and easily found online. The library or bookstore will have tons of books and related activities. The more background information your students have, the more they’ll enjoy interacting with the cast.
*Know who is performing at the faire and expose your kids to them before hand. Every faire has a list of performers on their website. With this information, you can look them up on youtube or their websites. Have the kids learn a song or two from each, this really makes the music acts much more entertaining for them. It’s the difference between attending a concert with a band you know verses attending a concert with a band you’ve never heard of. Caution – some acts have “adult” versions of their shows and some faires are more bawdy than others, so be sure to preview any videos before showing them to your students. As a general rule, the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire is pretty tame especially on the Friday education day.
*Tipping is customary! Make sure your students and their parents know this. This is how many of these folks make a living. If they don’t earn enough to cover expenses, they will have to get “real jobs” and won’t be back next year! Five or ten bucks per kid in singles to tip the acts through out the day can go a long way. Don’t forget to tip the privy man! Lady of the Lakes has the CLEANEST privies!
*Most vendors do not make enough profit to cover the cost of their booth during the school days. Hopefully, they make enough the rest of the weekend for it to work out. Vendors work harder on school days and sell less merchandise. If budget allows, buy something! Souvenirs are a great way to remember a wondrous day.
*If you’re not buying it, don’t leave the booth with it! This always amazes me. You wouldn’t do this at the local mall, but many don’t think twice about walking out of a vendor booth with an item to show someone. In the real world this constitutes theft, at the renaissance faire you are freaking out the poor vendor who is trying to retrieve their item, watch the cash box and keep other merchandise from leaving in a similar manner.
*Be nice to the vendors and limit the number of kids in the booth at a time. Most booths simply will not hold a class of 20 plus kids all at the same time. Break into smaller groups. This way your questions can be answered and you get a chance to look at all of the goodies.
*The Queen’s Crusade is fun. Generally, Crusade sheets are available at the gate of most faires. Politeness is still required. General rules of common sense and courtesy should apply. I’ve seen all of these done by kids trying to complete the quest. Some are funny, some make you wonder who is teaching these kids. Don’t interrupt when people are talking. Interrupting an act on stage to ask if the performer has a clue really shouldn’t be done. Some trying to head into the privy, really can be asked later. The parade should continue for everyone’s enjoyment and not be stopped dead in its tracts because someone wants to ask a quest question. I promise, everyone is happy to provide the clues, but appropriate timing does wonders as does a thank you. Even the folks you ask who don’t have a clue to share should be thanked.
*Touching people and their belongings. Shiny things are neat and velvet feels nice. Do remember though, that these are people and you shouldn’t just reach out and touch them to see what they feel like. Some are performers and some are just visiting the faire in funny clothes. It is NOT ok, ever, to touch someone’s weapon without their permission. It is also dangerous. Not all the weapons are peace tied or have dulled edges. Ask permission, be polite and never touch the blade. If you’re allowed to hold someone’s sword, don’t swing it about. Also, be mindful of where you are swinging that toy sword you bought and where you are firing your pencil cross bow bolts. Most people don’t want to be hit by toy weapons.
*Where is your group eating lunch? The stage even if it’s empty now, won’t be in a few minutes. That’s not a good place for your class to sit and eat. Also, telling the performer who plans to use the stage at a certain time (as per their contract to get paid) that you’re group will be done in a little while really amazes me. Leaving your trash on the stage when you do vacate is simply unbelievable. Your group could sit in the audience and eat, but the stages should really be off limits. Make sure that they know they have to be polite and listen during the act same as they would if they weren’t eating lunch. Standing up and loudly announcing during the act that lunch is over and your group is leaving now is pretty disrespectful – especially if you don’t bother to tip. If your group needs to talk during lunch, picnicking in the grass is a good option if there isn’t a lunch pavilion.
*Do you really need the hand held video game?
*Leave politely. If you must leave before a set is over at least wait until there’s a natural break. The end of a song, or other pause is a good opportunity and less disruptive than leaving in the middle of one. Waiting until the act is over is even better.
*Got garb? Medieval or Renaissance looking garb makes attending even more fun. It also doesn’t have to cost a lot. Show your students pictures of period garb and challenge them to a costume contest before the faire.
For we may or might never all meet here again, but whether we do or nay, I hope you enjoy your faire day.”
Thanks, Denny! The Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire will be held November 5th, 6th and 7th in central Florida. For more information, please visit http://www.lakerenfaire.com