All's faireFor years we've harbored an idea for the perfect costume for a Medieval fair (or faire, as many aficionados prefer to call it): The Black Death. Dress in a black faceless cape, carry a wooden staff, and pass out black "X" badges to three-quarters of the people in attendance to mark those killed by the plague. Ah, yeah, the Black Death is about to get Medieval on your ass (or, more appropriately, arse).
As much as the folks who attend such fairs appreciate a good, humorous, and authentic costume, we can't imagine that they'd like ours. After all, these gigs glorify the romantic elements of the middle ages (chivalrous knights, music-filled kingdoms, and bawdy stage shows) and virtually ignore the grimmer sides such as the Black Death, feudal cruelty, extreme superstition and zealous religion, and the lack of education. For the next six weeks the forests and Medieval-style structures of Hawkwood will be filled with fairies, belly dancers, wenches, troubadours, knights, fools, and royalty--nary a boil or whip mark to be found. It's not called the Hawkwood Medieval Fantasy Faire for nothing. More proof that it is indeed a fantasy land: Hawkwood celebrates cultural diversity, showcasing African, Persian, Asian, and Slavic traditions and histories in addition to the usual British and Western European ones.
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Beyond that and the combat arts and special effects-laden Dragon Attack Stunt Show, Hawkwood offers the ordinary faire wares. There will be sword fights, fire-eaters, jugglers, minstrels, pubs, eateries, jewelers, furniture, weapons, costumes, and the other Middle Ages arts and crafts that either elicit dreams of fairies and courtly love or cause scowls that shelve them beside Star Trek conventions, Champions on Ice, and other easy targets for the unimaginative.