Care to don your tunic, tights and sword for a day of medieval fun at Ye Olde Renaissance Fair? Don't wait for one to come to you; host your own!
First, ensure that you have a large enough space. Is this going to be a small party for friends or a larger scale celebration where you might consider charging people entry? Whatever the size, your fair will require a large, open, outdoor space that can accommodate this many people.
Canopies and tents will not only provide shade, but are also suggestive of the time period. Most people already own these items, so beg, borrow and steal from your friends. At the very least, tarps draped with fabric will work.
Tapestries, coats of arms and weaponry can be created using cardboard, paint and tinfoil. You can also make signs (remember that adding 'Ye' before everything and adding 'e' to the end of every word makes things sound more medieval). Actual fairs were often held in the countryside, so scatter bales of hay around the yard for an authentic touch.
If your fair is carrying on into the night, keep the obvious electrical lighting to a minimum. Candles, lanterns and torches should be used or you could decorate your lights to resemble more ancient methods.
Your budget is the limit on this one. You might decide that the feast will be the main event or you could provide performers and games.
If your friends have any appropriate talents, they can be enlisted as travelling performers. Skills like juggling, fire tricks or sword play can be used.
Some of your tents can be transformed into merchant booths. You could offer services like jewellery making or calligraphy or provide games with prizes.
Organise a medieval band to stage a performance at times throughout the day.
The feast is the highlight of the renaissance fair. It's all about excess and gluttony so you may need to keep your numbers down to provide an appropriate meal.
The menu is entirely up to you, but to stay in theme, you might like to start with fruit, nuts and cheese and follow that up with a roast meal. For drinking, what else but beer, cider and wine? Unless you have an industrial sized kitchen, you might find it easier to hire someone to cook for you.
If you're a stickler for convention, use this article as a guide for your meal.