10 Anachronistic Items at the Ren Faire

What wouldn’t be at the faire during the Renaissance…

There are things that we see at the Renaissance Faires across the country that we take for granted.  Many of the conveniences  that we enjoy in the 21st century simply were not there during the Renaissance period and they certainly wouldn’t have been there during the Middle Ages.

10 Anachronistic Items at the Ren Faire


  1. redsolocupDisposable drinking vessels and straws
    – In the olden days, when you got your drink at a local faire, you would have been given a metal stein, a drinking horn or at best a glass of some type.  Being able to throw away your drinking vessel certainly makes for easier cleanup from the faires point of view and though their are plenty of Rennies and Playtrons that bring a tankard, the disposable cup is still the way to go.
  2. Elastic Waist Bands – Many of us enjoy the wonder that is elastic.  For keeping wist bands, sleeves and other parts of the costume in place, elastic is one of the most wonderful inventions in the world.  Back in the day, your pants would have been held up with a belt of some type.  The belt that was on the outside of your pants.  The belt that we wear on the outside for function/show, would have held up your pants, kept your shirt tucked in and held up all the gear you needed for a day of adventuring.
  3. Cotton and other breathable materials – Wool was the cloth of the day.  Some shirts would have been made out of muslin or linen but the majority of the clothes that you wore would have been made from wool.  Can you imagine the last weekend of the Georgia Renaissance Festival covered in wool.
  4. Journals with good paper – Plenty of leather vendors on the Renaissance Festival circuit sell journals and journal covers.  Most of the time the paper that is contained in those journals is purchased and is flawless. With paper in that good condition it is certainly anachronistic. The edges may have been left ragged to give it that ancient look but it is still good quality paper.  The paper is also very inexpensive.  In the middle ages, paper would have cost a lot of money and most of us would not have had a need for it due to the fact that we could not read or write. Also, back in the day, paper was not really disposable. It would have been used until it was not usable any longer.
  5. Comfortable Shoes – Shoes were in high demand in the middle ages and the shoes of the Renaissance era were nice if you were nobility.  Most of the commoners went without shoes or went in shoes that were hand-me-downs.  The shoes we have now, for the most part are much more comfortable then the shoes they had back in olden times.  The one exception being custom made shoes like those provided by craftsmen like Catskill Mocs.
  6. Good food – The food would have been bland and very one dimensional.  There definitely would not have been deep fried items and frozen treats would have been completely off the list. While the food at the faire is an attempt to stay in theme with the faire, it would have been very different in Medieval or Renaissance times.
  7. Washing-Well-WenchesWashing Well Wenches – One of my favorite shows would have been truer to their name sake.  The Washing Well Wenches would have been just that washing wenches at a a well and I doubt their bawdy brand of comedy would have been to the liking of most of the patriarchal society in those earlier times.
  8. Cold beer and mead – No ice, no refrigeration would have meant no cold beer and no cold mead.  Some folks like the warm beer put me personally… if it is not ice cold it is not worth drinking. The same goes true for my mead.
  9. The Privy, the loo, the bog, the porta-john – True, like the privy there would not have been running water at the faires of old, but at least they would not have been spilling their contents on the ground.  Huzzah for the privy – boo for the Privy Monster.
  10. Ninjas – Yup, this is the only good anachronism.  in the olden days, no freaking ninjas.