Urban Dictionary defines a Playtron as:

Patrons of renaissance faires who dress in costume, or garb, and play a character even though they aren’t a cast member of the faire.

garb1The Playtron is a vital part of the Ren Faire circuit.  These are the people that attend in costume for their own enjoyment.  They are not boothies, they are not working for swag and they are not there as part of a cast, passing the hat.  They are the wonderful people that are completely sold out to the idea of playing dress-up when they go to the faire.  Now, let me tell you about the first time I attended and what I thought about the folks that I saw there in costume.

I went in shorts and a t-shirt to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival in 2005. This was my first visit, ever, to a Ren Faire.  I was not in costume but all the rest of the people that I went with were.  They had been in costume from the time I picked them up that morning.  We ate in Cracker Barrel, them in costume, and me… not.  I was wondering what I was doing with them quite frankly.  I felt a little out of place and though I knew I would have a good time, I was wondering how many odd looks the group I was with would be getting.  Little did I know that by the next time I attended a faire, I would be in full costume.  By the next faire, I was in full pirate garb.  Gone were the thoughts of unusual stares, I had become a Playtron.

garbNow, these Playtrons are great people and though they may be a little kooky are the heart and soul of most of these faires.  They are not the majority, most of the attendees are not in costume.  They are the people that bring most of the new folks to the faire though.  They are the ones that go into the community and with their over-enthusiasm get other people jazzed about attending.  If they are nearby, they are there every weekend.  And near is an interesting term for a Playtron.  I have driven 4 hours to Atlanta for the Georgia Renaissance Festival, stayed at the faire from open to close and then driven the four hours back for one day at the faire.  Playtrons feel the need to bring everyone else into their world.  They want to spread the news about the faire.  Playtrons are the prophets and the missionaries of the Ren Faire world.

So, next time you are at the fair, if you are a Rennie, a merchant, an entertainer or if you are part of the staff of the faire.  Find that Playtron that seems down or like they don’t fit in and make them feel welcome.  Even if this is the last week of the faire and you don’t want to see another geek in costume for another year… shake their hand and thank them for coming.