5 Things That Surprised Me at the Black Rock Medieval Fest

5 Things That Surprised Me at the Black Rock Medieval Fest
The Awesome Mitten - Black Rock Medeival Fest
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I attended the Black Rock Medieval Fest, seeing as it was my first time ever going to that kind of a thing.

Okay, I kind of knew what to expect.

I expected lots of people dressed in big poofy dresses and those old timey, floppy hats. And I expected all the names of the food stands to start with the words “Ye Olde,” as in “Ye Olde Popcorn Stand” and “Ye Olde Macho Nacho Truck.”

What I certainly didn’t expect was to have as good of a time as I did. You guys, renaissance fairs are actually super fun! I can kind of understand why people would dress up in suits of armor and big velvet dresses in the middle of the summer and go to them.

Here’s a few more things I didn’t expect from the Black Rock Medieval festival:

1. The friendly atmosphere.

According to the pamphlet I was handed at the entrance gate, the festival is supposedly set in the fictitious Viking village of Gallus, where the king and queen are currently in a battle against insurgent forces.

Given this storyline, you’d think the fair would be overrun with angry Vikings in horned hats. But everyone was really pleasant and friendly. Lots of people struck up conversations with me, and no one attempted to gore me with their horned hat.

2. Everyone’s doing it.

Admittedly, one of the reasons why I’ve never been to a renaissance fair is because I always thought it was kind of, well, geeky. (Sorry, ren-fair fans!)

So I was surprised that the Black Rock Medieval Fest was not only packed, it was packed full of a whole bunch of people I wouldn’t expect to be into that kind of thing. There was everyone from soccer moms dressed in brocade ballgowns to grandmas in gypsy garb to hunky young guys wearing nothing but kilts.

Seriously, you guys, if I had known so many cute, partially-dressed men went to renaissance fairs, I would have started going to them a long time ago.

3. There’s lots of entertainment.

I honestly had no idea what I’d do once I got to the festival. I figured there would be a jousting show or sword fight or two. But, I, honestly, thought I’d be bored silly and forced to start shopping for chainmail just to keep myself occupied.

I certainly didn’t expect an entire page-long itinerary of events, including everything from musicians to maypole dancing.

I spent my whole time there jumping from show to show. My favorite was the fire-eating pirate. Because, seriously, who doesn’t love a good fire-eating pirate?

The Awesome Mitten - Black Rock Medeival Fest
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

4. You can learn stuff.

I’m kind of a nerd. And by “kind of” I mean “a lot.” So I like to learn stuff when I go to these kinds of things.

Throughout the fair, there were a number of historical displays and signs. There was even an authentic-looking Viking encampment, where you could learn about how Vikings used to live back in the day.

But my favorite educational opportunity was the falconry show, where I got to learn all about falcons and other birds of prey. Because, seriously, who doesn’t love a good falconry show?

The Awesome Mitten - Black Rock Medeival Fest
Photo courtesy of Sally Thelen

5. I would go back.

The main reason why I went to the medieval fest was because I’d put it on my summer bucket list. I figured I’d do it once and check it off my list. But I enjoyed myself so much, I would totally go back again.

And I’m not just saying that because I want to ogle more cute guys in kilts.

But that’s definitely one of the reasons.

 

Visitor & Contact Information:

The Black Rock Medieval Fest runs on weekends from July 12 to August 3, 10 AM to 6 PM.

Admission: $10 per person; children 12 and under are free

Location: 13215 M-96, Augusta, MI,  49012

Phone: (269) 580-1290

Email: owv@tds.net

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Have you ever been to a medieval festival or renaissance fair? How was your experience?

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Sally Thelen is a blogger, teacher, traveler, bacon-eater, beer-drinker, and self-professed scaredy cat. Sally grew up in Buffalo, NY, and then bounced around the globe for fifteen years -- taking up residence everywhere from Washington, DC to Brazil to Japan. In 2013, she moved to Kalamazoo, where she has made it her mission to drink ALL THE BEER. Her blog, Unbrave Girl (www.unbravegirl.com) has been featured on Huffington Post and TravelChannel.com and won the 2014 Weblog Award for Most Humorous Weblog.