Another year has gone and a new year is stretched out to the horizon, just waiting to be explored. So often it feels as if the world around goes by too fast, opportunities moving past us like logs rushing downstream as we swim against the currents. With that kind of a metaphor, you might be surprised to find that many people find themselves stagnant. Rather than let themselves get caught up in the frantic pace, they sit on the shore and don’t move at all. I’ve been both in 2019, sometimes caught up in the rush to achieve or impress. Other times I’ve been so frightened of being overwhelmed that I stay within my comfort zone. But neither of these offer a way to grow. To progress, one has to be willing to open themselves up to learning. So that’s why I’m dubbing 2020 the Year of Experience!

As many of you know, ren faire isn’t just a once a year occasion. It’s a lifestyle. During 2020, the ORF blog – and to that extent myself -will be hitting multiple events in the Ohio/Michigan area! Some of these events are directly associated with the Ohio Renaissance Festival, while others are gathering opportunities for the larger rennie community. This is a wonderful way to stay connected to one another during the offseason. We’d love to have all of you join us and become more active in the festival community!

Pub Sing

The Dublin Pub – Feb 8th

After the long hard haul of the holiday season is over and the new year has been properly saluted, the people who make ORF special start to get that itch to come and visit one another. We start missing our friends and faire-mily and we want to reconnect with one another in a fun environment. Dublin Pub is a great venue for this occasion as it offers some delectable menu options. Many of your favorite groups, like Wenches’a’Wailing and Father, Son & Friends, entertain the house with their music and song. This is not necessarily a garbed event, but if you wanna put on a corset and skirts you won’t be the only one.

Horror Hound Weekend

Sharonville Convention Center – March 20th – 22nd

Just because October is months away doesn’t mean the haunt planners are asleep at the wheel! Brimstone Haunt is one of Renaissance Park’s attractions and they’re always looking for new pieces to add to their memorable venue. Horror Hound is one of the conventions attended by the Brimstone Haunt coordinators. I have never been to a haunters convention before and I’m super excited to see what goes into the creation of spooky-themed attractions! Brimstone Haunt was such a blast in 2019 and I think for those of us who are Halloween/Haunt enthusiasts, this will be the place to be.

Steampunk Symposium

Holiday Inn Eastgate – March 27th – 29th

In 2019 the Steampunk Symposium sponsored a costume contest for ORF’s Time Traveler’s weekend! It was a lot of fun, opening up the ren faire to cosplayers and the expanded geekdom that lives for faires and festivals of all kinds. With this year’s Steampunk Symposium theme being the ‘Weird West’, I’m excited to see how guests will explore the combination of Steampunk and the American West. With authors, vendors, and musical guests Unwoman and The Nülydedz it’s sure to make for one heck of a party!

Ashville Viking Festival

Ashville Community Park – April 27th – 28th

For me, this is the real start of the festival season. The weather is starting to warm up, everyone is getting the faire twitches (that feeling that happens when you can’t wait to get on garb and get back to ORF), and we’ve spent way too long stuck indoors. Ashville Viking Festival is a wonderful reenactment of Viking life through different periods. You’ll see plenty of weapons demos, a real Viking encampment, crafts, fun, and lots of shopping to enjoy. The best part? All it will cost you is a donation of a few cans of food to the Ashville Food Pantry.

Oddities & Curiosities Expo

Ohio Expo Center & State Fairgrounds – May 9th

A fan of the creepy, spooky and weird? Me too! This traveling expo offers everything for your inner kook to enjoy from hundreds of artisans and creators. Everything from taxidermy to handcrafted clothing can be found here, and since the vendors change from year to year you really want to come and see what 2020 will bring. Oddities & Curiosities Expo supports a great deal of small businesses across the country and puts emphasis on the sustainability of the products offered. They even offer a 4-hour taxidermy academy for the daring among us. (Priced separately). So if you’re a lover of the strange & unusual, be sure to drop by!

Ohio Viking Festival

Everett Cortland Hull Road, Cortland, OH – June 26th – 28th

This immense festival provides a ton of entertainment for people of all ages. With handcrafted vendor goods, shield painting classes, music, food, a Viking village, dragon training school, fire eaters, and mead making classes you’ll stay busy all weekend long! The Ohio Viking Festival will have plenty of reenactors and Viking enthusiasts around to answer your questions and it’s a perfect place to brush up on your Lagertha impression. Hopefully, I’ll see plenty of you there.

Great Lakes Medieval Faire

3033 OH-534, Rock Creek, OH – TBA

One of my dreams has always been to go around and visit different renaissance faires. Each festival embraces it’s own themes, creating an atmosphere that is familiar but different. The Great Lakes Medieval Faire takes place during the hotter months of July/August, so it’s a good thing they’re shaded in the forest! I know a couple of people who hit them up each season, and since I’ve never been I’m looking forward to sharing in this experience. I’ve heard rumors of live mermaids and magic shows, so you know I’m excited to attend.

Bristol Renaissance Faire

12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI – July 11th – Sep 7th

Bristol is one of the preeminent faires for the midwest area. They have their own series of themes, entertainers and artisans to explore and I am super excited about attending this year for the very first time. They have a lot of special events, including RenQuest which is an interactive series of quests that allow you to explore the faire and the Queen’s College which offers classes in basket weaving, calligraphy and more! Looking through the website you may recognize a few ORF acts make a home there before hitting our faire. I’m looking forward to some of the famous (and notorious) acts like the Dead Bob Show, Iris and Rose, and the Tortuga Twins.

Michigan Renaissance Festival

12600 Dixie Hwy., Holly, MI – Aug 17th – Sep 29th

Just enough time to squeeze in one more festival before I hit my one and only home faire, ORF! Another first time for me, Michigan Ren Fest offers its own spin on the Elizabethan era, taking place towards the end of her reign in the 16th century. They have a ton of offers like the Feast of Fantasy which includes a 6-course meal. But I think what I’m most looking forward to is their first weekend, Pirates & Pets! Each themed weekend has it’s own series of special events, giving you plenty to explore while you are there. Along with the usual games, human-powered rides, and vendors this promises to be a memorable weekend!

Join us This Year

It looks like I’m gonna have my work cut out for me in 2020 and I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity! If you happen to catch me at an event don’t be afraid to stop over and say hi! I’m excited to meet everyone and help open up the rennie world to people who may never have been before. We truly are a unique extended family, and the chance to be involved in that is an irreplaceable experience. Here’s to 2020!

Next Blog: Artisans Highlight – Leatherworkers

We start 2020 with a monthly series featuring the many Crafters & Artisans at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Come discover the wide wide world of leatherworkers with Chip Brown of the Brown Cow as see what goes into creating your favorite boots, bracers, and belts!