I love medieval faires. They're never exactly representative of that thousand-year "dark" age, because almost everyone, instead of looking like a malnourished serf, falls somewhere on the Medieval Leather Intensity Scale—a highly scientific measure of one's devotion to the practice of the medieval arts, with squire at one end and gothy courtesan on the other. It's not accurate historically, but who cares? The churchy/plaguey part of the Middle Ages BLEW, and nobody wants to celebrate that.

The faire is kind of dead. There are maybe six or seven tents set up, including one that offers something mysteriously called "sweetmeats." As we roll in, we do meet the coolest guy in leather and swords jumping on his bike to leave, but he tells us: "No, I don't have a character. I teach swordsmanship." Then he strikes a totally epic pose. I, too, wish to be epic, so we wander around until we find some empty thrones. I put on my best king face and sit nobly while the grimmest music in the faire kingdom wafts over the verdant fields: ICE CREAM TRUCK SONG. Only the knights and seven families are left to hear the song.

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Some people are shouting at the Robin Hood play onstage, because the wenchy narrator steals the main character's jokes: "Wench!" Yeah, she is a wench. Wenches are—"KILL THE WENCH!" Oh god, what sort of faire is this? Oh—oh Jesus, there's a leather daddy in assless chaps. It's all going too fast! This isn't the Middle Ages at all. I get a sample of authentic 12th-century fudge and hightail it outta towne. recommended

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