Last Saturday was Much Ado About Sebastapol (MAAS), where Sarah & I debuted Fockett & Cox. This was a different type of Renaissance faire, in that everyone was portraying one specific English village (Fenford, circa 1578), and the faire had an educational mission tied into local school’s curriculum. The artisan guilds (where we were stationed) had specific questions to answer for schoolchildren that the kids would get stamped on “passports” for credit. Thus, historical accuracy was paramount, and the faire had none of the random assortment of pirates, gypsies, and miscellaneous groups that tend to crop up at renfaires these days. It was also a one-day event, one very long day, open from 10am to 8pm. So, new challenges all ’round!
I must say, our booth looked really fabulous. We did have enough “merchandise,” I think. In fact, our most common “problem” was actually explaining to people that none of it was for sale!
However, I was quite pleased that we did achieve our mission (& part of MAAS’ educational mission) of teaching people about Elizabethan dress accessories. I explained how points lace a man’s doublet & breeches together, how an awl makes holes in fabric so a gown can be laced up, how pins are used in clothing, how coifs are worn by women & men, how ruffs are worn / made / maintained, & much more.
One of the most entertaining things to explain was this cosmetic tool. I’d made a little paper holder for it (mostly do we wouldn’t lose it), & kids noticed it & asked about the tool. They *loved* the explanation about scooping ear wax. Always got a few “ewwwwws”& some giggles 😉
There were ups & downs, of course. Primarily because it was such a long day! The Guild Green was near one of the entrances, so we had a steady stream of people coming through till at least 5pm. Also, with just Sarah & me in the booth, we were pretty much stuck in that spot the whole time. Ladies wouldn’t go walking about unescorted in the 16th century, so unless we were making a quick run to the green room (which was close to our end of the faire), we couldn’t leave. If we do MAAS again, we must get a shopgirl to help out!
Similarly, Francis was stuck at his booth (across the path from us), & he was on the school passport program. His question was “what’s the difference between a cordwainer & a cobbler?” So he was kept too busy to leave his booth & escort one of us around. We finally got a lunch break when another player offered to watch our booth for a while. Thank goodness! Sarah also brought a sandwich back for Francis or he’d have never gotten to eat.
I almost think it would be good to have a tailor & maybe even a mercer near us. Then people could go from the weavers and embroiderer to the tailor & then to Fockett & Cox & the cordwainer, so they’d see the whole process of how a person got an outfit made in the 16th century. Cloth was made like this, decorated like that, then you would be measured for your suit & shoes, & you’d pick out a hat & ruff to complete the look, and, of course, every single item was custom-made to measure. Kinda crazy to expand the deal like that tho! It’s just that we were a bit of an outlier — we were thinking more of this as the right gig for the other faire circuit where there *is* a tailors guild.
Anyway, while it was a lot of work, it was a good time and for a good cause. Next up, Folsom Renaissance Faire, which is a different gig in several ways.