Mention the words “Renaissance festival” to your average American adult (Markijohn, 2009), and you'll likely conjure up images of knights jousting on horseback, casually-dressed visitors gnawing on turkey legs, barely-restrained cleavage in tight bodices, comic variety performers on earthy wooden stages, and richly-dressed royals presiding over it all.
More than diversionary entertainment (Markijohn, 2009), however, the American Renaissance festival provides visitors with a complex space in which elements of carnival create opportunities for identity and gender play. It is perhaps true that Renaissance festivals don't really change the world, but it seems that they may, in fact, release visitors from it in a way that allows them to examine "and play with" the ways in which “sedimented” notions of gender are constructed through performance.
Every year during the months of August-October (McCullough, 2014), the Ohio Renaissance Festival takes place. Here, happy fair goers eat, drink, and make merry in some of the most unique and truly entertaining ways. We get to explore the festival through the attendee's eyes and learn what makes this fair a worthwhile experience for one and all.
McCullough, Skye. "The Ohio Renaissance Festival: A Look Inside." (2014).
Markijohn, Andie Carole. "“Wet, Dirty Women” and “Men Without Pants”: The Performance of Gender at the American Renaissance Festival." PhD diss., Bowling Green State University, 2009.
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