I know, I know, it may seem like a no-brainer, but I was at Renaissance Faire both days, and it was over 90F both days. At least on Sunday there was a breeze - a hot breeze, perhaps, but better than nothing, because Saturday was... well... miserable. Hot, humid, and still. My full outfit includes ankle-length silk bloomers, 2 cotton skirts, 1 heavy silk/cotton skirt, a heavy cotton blouse, and, of course, a bodice laced up tight so my boobs are practically under my chin. Since I’m helping out a friend with the shop she manages, I can’t wear the green over-dress that I love (it’s quite comfy), because that’s from a different shop.
My friend is really great to “her girls”, as she calls us, and provides us each with a jug of water and a mug, and makes snacks for us throughout the day. Healthy stuff, too, like fruits, raw veggies, and crackers and cheese, which is even better since just about everything at Faire is fried, except for the mushrooms and the pickles. I’m running our extension shop, so I’m by myself most of the day, but she makes sure I get breaks every hour or 2.
I nearly melted into a little (okay, a large) puddle. I think my brain was sweating. I drank over a half gallon of water, a big bottle of Gatorade, and a can of sugarcane juice, and I didn’t have to pee for over 16 hours (advantage: didn’t have to use the portapotty!). After we closed, I didn’t so much take off my costume as peel it loose because the underlayers were soaked. So. Gross, you guys. So gross.
I think that historical accuracy is a wonderful thing*, but honestly, England in the late 1500’s (it’s supposed to be 1574 at our Faire) was somewhat cooler and cloudier than Wisconsin in 2015! Average (yearly) temps were a few degrees cooler (as best as anyone can figure), but summer temps seem to have hit around the 80F mark at high point. Thermometers weren’t invented til...the early 1700’s, I think, so no one’s quite sure, but England was in the midst of the Little Ice Age in the Elizabethan era. Hell, the Thames froze over several times, and they had Ice Fairs on the river!
Ahem. Sorry, my history nerd is showing. I was just trying to illustrate how the costumes may be period-appropriate (more or less), but not really designed for the humid hell of a Midwest August. I always feel bad for the members of the court, though, and the knights. Those outfits are SO heavy, with satins and velvets,long sleeves and the neck ruffs... *shudder* It’s not uncommon for people to pass out from the heat, especially the people wearing armor or court garb. Fortunately, we have a great first-aid team on site!
Anyway. I’m having fun being in my favourite place every weekend, in spite of the appalling heat. It’s really neat getting to be behind the scenes, too. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen was when I went to get breakfast on site just before we opened, and a performer’s meeting let out from one of the main stages. People strolling along, chatting, stopping to get food, going to their shops... every single person in Elizabethan clothing from all classes. For just a moment, it felt real. History nerd’s dream!
*Speaking of historical accuracy, the best thing I’ve heard in the 3 weekends I’ve been there: “Put that stupid thing away! I don’t want anything anachronistic this weekend!” - said by a heavily-tattooed woman stuffed into a too-small corset, wearing flip-flops and plastic elf ears, to her husband, who was messing with his cell phone, as she paid with a credit card I ran through the Square reader on a tablet. I nearly died trying not to laugh, it just struck me as so damn funny.