Viking Trading Game
An Official Statement by The Ohio Renaissance Festival
Updated Statement July 27, 2023
Due to the overwhelming negative responses to our recent trinket trading statement, it is obvious that trinket trading will continue regardless of our attempts to keep it focused on the children’s activity it was created to be. For this reason, we are banning trinket trading at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.
The Viking Trading Game will still go on; however, it will be conducted as it was created by The Lost Vikings Hoard to be – a free activity young children can participate in. The trading symbol will be worn or displayed by festival street cast and artisans only. Children must be accompanied by an adult to trade. And remember, a trade is something small like a smile, joke, word, or piece of gravel.
Bestowing favors is a tradition of renaissance festivals. Favors are not traded for. Favors are not sold. Favors are not bartered for. A piece of cloth or a ribbon given as tokens of goodwill, kind regard, or love is the basic idea of favors.
Unless you are a vendor of the festival, please do not bring in trinkets with you to trade, sell or showcase. If you have unique items, consider applying to become a vendor and have an opportunity to share your homemade wares with hundreds of thousands looking for one-of-a-kind, hard to find items.
July 20, 2023
While the Ohio Renaissance Festival embraces the spirit of the Renaissance era and offers a delightful experience for visitors, it is important to recognize the limitations and drawbacks of engaging in trinket trading with guests and children. Please remember that we are NOT trying to ruin the fun for anyone, we are simply at a point where we need to address what is being traded and keep a handle on what is going on.
Trades Are for Trinkets, Not Vendor Merchandise
The Viking Trading Game was developed by The Lost Vikings Hoard as a free activity young children could participate in. A trading symbol signifies that a booth or person is willing to trade, usually a joke, compliment, rock, or a smile. The purpose was, and still is, to engage the children and bring them into the magic and wonder of the festival. Please help children understand it is not trading for the goods that merchants have for sale. That trade is for money, this is about something else. Also, please help children understand it is not trading for food items with the increased concern of food allergies.
A growing concern the festival has with trinket trading is respect for our artisans. The festival vendors are highly skilled craftsmen and women who invest countless hours in perfecting their trade. Trading and bartering may inadvertently devalue their craftsmanship and artistic endeavors, failing to recognize their dedication and talent. The festival vendors also rely on fair compensation for their hard work to sustain their livelihoods and continue to produce high-quality goods. If you have unique items that you make, consider becoming a vendor. Please do not trade items that are similar to a vendor’s product.
Costumed Patrons Vs. Official Staff and Cast
The festival has had to address concerns with costumed patrons interacting with guests and the confusion of whether these costumed patrons work for the festival. This is a big deal because if someone were to have a bad encounter with a costumed patron trading or bartering for items, an assumption is made that this person is affiliated with the festival. Official street cast members have gone through auditions, rigorous hours of training and rehearsal, and costuming classes to be able to interact with festival guests in an appropriate and sanctioned manner.
Make Sure Your Trinkets are Child-Safe
Another area of concern is that the festival has no idea what is being given out on its premises. We understand that trinkets are made with love, however, some items may pose a risk to children. Items that children may choke on, hurt themselves with, or encourages play with something dangerous after a visit to the festival. A caveat to this concern is that we do not want to encourage children to believe that all strangers trying to give them something are safe outside of festival.
You MUST trade with children
If you are wearing the trading symbol, you must be willing to trade with children, as the original intention of the symbol and game. If you bring items to give to other adults, those are favors, or gifts bestowed as tokens of goodwill, kind regard, love, establishing relationships, etc. Favors were not historically elaborate items. A piece of cloth, a ribbon, a token but all were items that held meaning for the giver and receiver.
Getting Back to the Roots of this Children’s Game
We do not want to ban trinket trading at our festival. However, we will only support the Viking Trading Game as it was originally created and will discourage anything that will take away from our vendors. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us reign in trinket trading and putting the focus back to being a children’s activity.