How to Travel Through Time: Inside Maryland's Renaissance Festival
Travel + Leisure sent photographer Chris Maggio to uncover the allure of a renaissance festival in Maryland during their opening weekend. Renaissance Festivals and Faires are in season across the country from now through October. Many of them have been running for over a decade and with growing cultural popularity for the medieval-era, a renaissance faire seems to be the closest destination to live out all our “Game of Thrones”-esque dreams. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is open every weekend from August 25 until October 21, 2018 and has been running strong for over 40 years. Maggio shares his experience of the festivities where the 16th and 21st century converge.
It’s easy to poke fun at the tropes of an American Renaissance Faire: the garish costumes, the flawed British accents infused with hints of a Southern drawl, the fact that you can’t even ask where the bathroom is without someone calling you “M’lord.”
But these festivals deserve praise — not only for their endearing, home-grown creativity but for being a sanctuary for all who attend. Renaissance Faires are familial atmospheres where people of so many walks of life are accepted- no questions asked. The event hinges on everyone working together to imagine a world where, despite their differences, everyone plays an important part.
It’s an environment where the troubles of the real world are left behind at the gate, and although there are tribes within its walls (fairies, knights, royalty, craftsmen), all the players cooperate to form one, egalitarian narrative.
While it seems strange to have to mentally transport ourselves to a more brutal age in history to channel empathy in the modern day, it’s still refreshing. Perhaps it has to do with stepping out of your comfort zone and into a pair of pantaloons.