Double, double toil and trouble: Ren Faires and comic-cons bubble
Updated: Aug 9, 2022
Last year, on a Friday morning before the second weekend, we had gotten notice that we could fill a spot at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. While it was one of the greatest experiences to be there and to see the overwhelming support and excitement from the patrons, the 20 hour workdays necessary to keep up with inventory taught us to be better prepared for the next one. However, we still found ourselves unprepared when we got accepted into both Georgia and Virginia simultaneously, a few months later.
Because we had been applying for a few years with no luck, we decided to level up our application: we hand-painted a brand new leather photo album with our logo across the front and printed high resolution pictures; we proposed building a permanent shop with a workshop schedule; we offered to build photo-op locations. So when we got in to Georgia Renaissance Festival, I’m not sure why we were caught off guard. We were absolutely stoked, even though GARF’s 8 weekend show would overlap with Virginia Renaissance Faire for 4 weekends and with Festival of Legends for another weekend, followed by the final weekend of Virginia being at the same time as ConCarolinas. Talk about learning how to swim by being thrown into the deep end! Though I suppose we threw ourselves in. Good thing we’d had some practice a few months prior.
The preparations for the impending crazy schedule began immediately. We stocked up pretty well, so when we set up at The Viking Experience in Oxford, NC two weeks before the beginning of GARF, we felt like we were on a pretty good path. What no one expected was that instead of the 500 or so attendees they planned for, TVE got over a thousand people in attendance. It was the best thing a first-time event could hope for! The county recognized this too and offered them a bigger space for their 2023 event and even sponsored some billboards for them. It was fantastic! It went really well for us too, but everything we thought we had stocked up was depleted and we only had 2 weeks to go for Georgia and one more week past that till the overlapping shows began.
After that event, we began our 100 hour work weeks and opened up an internship program to help out with some of the less complicated inventory production. Every week turned into a blur of production, teaching, traveling, and figuring out logistics for the weekend. Our weekends were filled with meeting great new people, turning into human sweat puddles, and getting our fill of faire food.
At the end of it all, we managed to keep both tents and booths full for the entirety of the 2 months. The cost being just a tiny slice of our sanity. We’re so grateful to have had such a strong team of people rise up when we needed them. Thank you to Tucker and Nicole of Riveting Desires, Dean of Brother Bear Leathers, Fox of Fox Valley Farms, Miriam I. of Krazy Needles, Susan of The Odd Cog, Rosie, Ren, and everyone else in between that made this all possible.
And a special thank you to Matthew for building something that brought everyone together in creativity.