In the corner of the Central Idaho Renaissance Fair, there’s a section tied up that says “Free Hero Training and Princess Lessons.” Inside, kids hit each other with foam swords.
Cloaks and clothes of all kinds sashayed across the field. However, the best costume—yes, it’s called a costume, not a costume—is weaponized. Be it a bow and arrow, sword or staff, any knight in shining armor or fair maiden needs a weapon.
Roger and Rebecca Peck continued the Renaissance Fair after their daughter started it for her senior project last year.
“In medieval times, your armor kept you alive,” Peck said. “Some small kingdoms did not have a standing army and the lord or king could call on anyone living in his territory to defend it when necessary.”
At one point in England, every boy over the age of 14 was required to participate in archery practice every Sunday for a few hours under the direction of the clergy.
“They’re also a status symbol—the rich can afford the best swords because of what it takes to make them,” Peck said.
He even brought some of his own swords for photo opportunities, like a replica of El Cid’s.
“His story is a beautiful story that if people today emulated it would make the world a better place,” Peck said.
Others include a replica of Excalibur and a Scottish Claymore.
“I’ve always been a student of history, and weapons are a big part of that,” Peck said.
Once upon a time, the Central Idaho Renaissance Fair came to the enchanted land of Carey on September 9 and 10. Money raised at the event will fund scholarships for students who plan to study history, literature and education. in performing arts.
On Friday, those hoping to escape the smoke at the Blaine County Fairgrounds found some shelter in Carey. The sun tried to break through an orange sky.
Although, sometimes at the renaissance fair, there’s more than just smoke in the air. The strumming of lutes and the aroma of smoked meats also tickle the senses.
A girl dressed as a fairy draws caricatures. People stuck their heads and hands into wooden stocks, just to be silly. A woman painted as a statue sits quietly. For $5, you can give Sibyl a spin to answer any of your questions.
Unicorns pull around a carriage. They’re not real unicorns—I asked. Ponies welcome pats on the head as long as you approach them with respect.
Michael Collins sits outside his tent for BlackWolf Blades, beard up to his chest, eyes icy blue. He was a geek before it was cool. In the 90s, he started collecting knives and swords while playing dungeons and dragons. Now, with the proliferation of “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones,” he’s seen geek culture go mainstream.
At BlackWolf Blades he sells all kinds of medieval weapons: swords, daggers, axes. He offers both functional, “battle-ready pieces” along with decorative pieces.
“But don’t hit anything on them,” Collins said. “They are designed to hang on the wall or hang on your hip and look cool”
He sent his Viking-inspired designs to a custom forge.
Steve Avery of When Pigs Fly Creations makes his own knives from carbon steel: heat treating, tempering, grinding bevels, sanding the edges. The company also offers saws carved with a handheld plasma cutter. Designs include Bigfoot and the American flag. They had just started attending Renaissance fairs.
“It’s fun to watch the people walking, the costumes and how creative people are,” Avery said. “The idea of being able to talk to new people and support our hobbies a little bit.”
Of course, weapons are only a small part of the vendors. Royal Dogs sell “Peasant Stew.” Littlelota’s sold keto treats. DNH Studios sold handmade flower crowns. Itty Bitty Farms sold pickled eggs and $1 root beer. Merriahna’s offered luxury dreadlocks. There are denim handbags and Johnny Depp in thermoses.
Weapons or no weapons, the Central Idaho Renaissance Fair offered a haven for “geeks” of all stripes, styles and armaments to unite with Carey.
“We need more of this kind of thing in Idaho,” Collins said of the fair. “I’m glad to see things like this happening closer to home.” ￼