The Ten People You Meet at the Florida Renaissance Festival

For more than 20 years, the Florida Renaissance Festival has brought a little slice of 16th-century Europe to South Florida. Sure, it requires a little imagination to make those velvet robes and English accents not seem out of place among sweltering heat and tropical plants, but the dedicated men and women on the Ren Fest pull it off, year after year. 

Whether you're a loyal attendee or maybe a festival participant, you know that Rennies are a, umm, colorful, eclectic bunch. If you've never been but you're thinking about it, here are the folks you can expect to find at the Ren Fest. (Pssst, newbies, this first guy, yeah... He's you.)
1 . The Rookie

These specimens, whether old or young, male or female, arrive unaware of what is truly in store for them. Once inside, they often become high on endorphins, their eyes expand to twice their normal size, and they start taking panicked photos of anything or anyone they can. The Rookies can usually be easily spotted by the clothes they wear, plain and modern. Fear not, Rookies; yes, that’s right, you can rent garb once inside.

2. The Pro

You know who you are, and if you’re not sure, then you’re not a Pro. The Pro comes in many flavors, ranging from professional photographers, actors, and entertainers to passionate garb aficionados. Many a “cannoneer” wanders the festivities, snapping shots and videos of all the wondrous events and activities. Actors, entertainers, and musicians abound, doing their due diligence to ensure you have a magical experience. You will also run into many a proud patron, sporting their elaborate — and often expensive — outfits and gear. Known officially as “garb,” entire outfits are purchased but, more often than not, are made, personally, by the wearer. Pro’s take FLARF very seriously.

3. The Historian

This one is usually like that annoying kid from high school, who always tries to point out the historical inaccuracies and intricate yet irrelevant historical facts, typically while you are otherwise engaged in rabble-rousing, feasting, or trying to remember how many flagons of mead you may or may not have had. This creature is of no threat. Just nod and smile. Worst-case scenario: You might actually learn something. Best-case scenario: They can give you a ride home when the mead-induced “earthquakes” prevent you from standing.

4. The Village Drunkard

This rare bird can nearly always be identified in one of three ways. 1. Are they welcome dance partners for the hired entertainment? 2. Are they able to form a complete sentence? 3. Will they decline a free refill when offered? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then it’s highly likely you’ve found the Village Drunkard. One other hint: They may smell of mead and sausages and be unable to put their mug down — or pick it up once dropped. In any case, they will almost always be great entertainment.

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