The Central Coast Renaissance Faire is one of my favorite events in SLO County. It occurs on a Saturday & Sunday in mid-July, this year on July 17 & 18, 2010.The Renaissance Faire is traditionally held on the grounds of the SLO Botanical Garden in the El Chorro Regional Park, roughly halfway between the City of SLO and Morro Bay. You park at Cuesta College across the street, and then buses transport you over to the Faire Grounds. (Slight charge for parking, buses are free.)
There are lots of fun things to do at the Faire. Every few hours, they hold a traditional joust, with knights on horses charging each other, swordfights etc. This is the most popular event - the crowd is divided into two sections and each group is given one of the two fighters to cheer for. Lances get broken, and people do get knocked off their horses. The above photo is of a sword fight held as part of the joust.
Another fun part is the vendors. Mideival themed clothing, jewelry, candles, and accessories (think swords, knives, walking sticks, hats etc. etc.) . I do admit that I succumbed a few years ago and bought a simple peasant shirt and pants that I now wear every year to the Faire. (No, I will NOT be providing a photo.)
Perhaps my favorite thing to do (well, other than the joust) is people watching. I am not the only one in costume. MANY other attendees - as well as the paid actors- show up in costume. (And for many attendees, SHOW is the operative term.) Even if you want to be more modest and don't want to splurge on a full aristocratic attire, a quick visit to a thrift shop beforehand can provide basic shorts, dresses, shirts and blouses that can be ripped / reworked so that you too can be part of the act.
Final house-keeping details: the days can often get warm, so do think about wearing sunscreen, bringing water and wearing a hat. Definitely bring a camera - the actors are glad to pose for shots. Food, wine and beer are readily available. (Some vendors provide free insults with their wares - and no I'm not kidding.) There is also a Renaissance Faire Commercial on our YouTube Channel for you to enjoy the full flavor. See you there!