ZoSo at the 1572

I love going to the summer concert series, The Roadhouse Presents. Every week I look forward to heading out, visiting friends, and deciding what I wanna get from the 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q before settling down in a comfy chair so I can take in the music and the atmosphere. The experience was something that helped get me through 2020 and with 2021 just revving up I plan on going every chance I get. Last weekend gave me a staunch reminder of what I was in for.

ZoSo brought out the classics for The Roadhouse Presents Summer Concert Series. Photo by Jeff Rooks – Checkmate Photography

ZoSo took the Shipwreck Stage to one of the larger crowds I’ve seen in attendance. Nothing calls to people like a Led Zeppelin tribute band playing to their audience with magnificent 80’s hair and killer guitar skills while busting out classic tunes. All I needed to hear was the intro cords to The Immigrant Song and I was sold! ZoSo created a brilliant performance and their enthusiasm really brought out a special magic from the group.

Unfortunately, my wife and I didn’t get to stay for the entire thing.

Why? Well…we both got heatstroke.

We’re okay! Nothing bad enough to warrant a call to the local Fire Department or an ambulance. By the time the sun went down, we started to realize that neither of us were doing so well and it would be safer to get into an air-conditioned environment than to sit there and continue to feel like we might pass out. After several glasses of water and a good night’s sleep, I decided that, with the slew of wonderful events being held at Renaissance Parks this year, now might be a good time to discuss how to beat the heat and stay safe during the 2021 festival season.

Beat the Heat at Renaissance Parks

The symptoms of heatstroke are pretty unmistakable, but every year people ignore the signs or think they’re immune to the effects for whatever reason. Exposure to a hot environment (like midsummer at a ren faire) and strenuous activity (like walking around a 30+ acre park) are both contributing factors along with wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol, and allowing yourself to become dehydrated. You can look up the full list of risk factors and complications through Mayo Clinic.

A few signs to watch out for include:

  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • confusion or dizziness
  • flush or reddened skin
  • rapid/heavy breathing
  • headache
  • muscle cramps
  • diarrhea

NO ONE is immune to heatstroke. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been going to festivals or if you work outdoors. Infants and the elderly are prone to heatstroke, so consider their needs when setting up an outdoor get-together. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you can do to avoid sunstroke and enjoy the outdoor life at Renaissance Parks this summer.

1: Hydrate comes in a big plastic bottle…

Be sure to stay hydrated so you can enjoy the day!

Okay maybe not the most catchy tune, but you get the point. It seems the most obvious, but every season guests dehydrate themselves to ill effects. With Celtic Fest Ohio coming up I know we’re all looking forward to the Jameson Whiskey Tasting and a frothy Guinness beer, but the condensation on your cup does NOT count as water intake! Start your day with a big cup of water, and keep it coming. You can get ice cold water everywhere they sell drinks at the faire, but don’t be shy about bringing your own. Remember, the more you sweat the more water you need to replace.

2: Cool to the Core

Keeping your core temp regulated can be challenging at a festival, especially for all us bodice/corset wearers. Any Rennie will tell you some fantastic tips for maintaining in the blistering heat, and it’s important to take their practiced advice to heart. It may be worth investing in a bodice chiller, or buying some reusable ice gel packs and tucking them into your chest on a hot summer day. If all else fails, ask the bartender for a chunk of ice and shove it up against your chest. I’ve done this many times and I’ll do it again with no regrets.

3: Consider Your Wardrobe

Staying cool means making comfortable wardrobe choices!

I have a closet full of garb that is begging to be worn! But some days are just not meant for layering and heavy fabric. Consider the weather before dressing to the nines at a festival event. Corseting, leather, furs, and multiple layers are just about the worst thing you can do as an attendee and you don’t want your day to get cut short by a ride in an ambulance. Try to keep a few things in mind, like:

  • breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton
  • light colors that won’t absorb heat
  • loose clothing that won’t insulate your body
  • wide-brimmed, ‘straw’ hats that provide shade w/o restricting airflow
  • shorts, skirts, kilts, and cargo pants

4: Look for the Cooling Stations!

Renaissance Parks will have cooling stations set up throughout the festival grounds to help provide guests with relief on hot, humid summer days! Stop in for a minute and enjoy a nice, refreshing mist of cool water in these open-air stations. It’s worth noting that you can ask for assistance at any time if you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of heatstroke. Guest/Emergency Services are located by the Front Gate. You can go to one of the pubs, ask a Boothie, find someone holding a walkie-talkie or grab somebody in a staff shirt and make them aware of what is going on. They are there to help. Also, keep in mind if you see a golf cart headed down the lanes, step to the side and give them room to move! It’s likely an emergency situation.

5: Made in the Shade

There are plenty of shady spots around the park if you need to rest!

There are plenty of spots to take a moment and relax in the shade, and I strongly advise you to take advantage of this. Over-exertion is a good way to get yourself over-heated, so plan your day with generous breaks to recuperate in a well-shaded, ventilated environment. One of my favorite spots is the St. Peter’s Chapel up past the Maze. The stone benches are cool to the touch and it’s generally one of the calmer areas on the grounds. Just don’t interrupt any events going on in there! The pubs through the park have shaded areas where you can take a seat and relax for a little while. Don’t be afraid to lie under the trees and let yourself breathe for a little while. Whatever it takes to stay healthy.

6: Know Your Limits

I know. We all want to be here. We’ve been hungry for the return of the festival and many of us haven’t been able to go to anything since 2019. It seems unthinkable to miss out now that things are open again. But here’s the good news. Renaissance Parks is hosting multiple events running from now till December! We’ve got Celtic Fest Ohio, the Roadhouse Presents Summer Concert Series, Free Friday Flicks coming back in July, the Lights Fest in August, the Ohio Renaissance Festival in September – October, Brimstone Haunt in October. and the Yuletide village in December! There is no shortage of opportunities to come out and have fun with us. So if you look at the weather and know it’s a bad idea for you, that is okay! There’s always more coming.

With Celtic Fest Ohio just around the corner and Cast Auditions on June 26th – 27th, I know you will all be excited to visit the park again. Everyone involved is thrilled to get back to what we do best and make 2021 a season to remember. Please put your safety first so you can join us as much as possible. We’ve missed you all very much.