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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival

The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival takes place over five weekends and is located 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh. There were two reasons why I just had to be there. First, I wanted to see how a medieval/renaissance festival in the US compares to the ones in Switzerland and Germany and second, I really needed a break from studying ;).

Similar to the markets back home the festival is a mixture of market stalls, food and entertainment. The market stalls were similar to those present in the Spectaculum, there were clothing, weapons and accessories stalls. There was also a costume rental shoppe, which allowed people to dress up for the day, a very neat idea. The food was more American than medieval but there were some exceptions around, such as the Soup in a Bread Bowl. Musicians were omnipresent, with a piper, a violinist, a bass player and several musical groups always circulating. The non-musical entertainment focused heavily on audience participation (i.e. people going on stage to help out) and was a case of hit and miss. I liked about half the shows I saw.

My favorite was Arsene, an inapt magician who spoke no word throughout his performance, but his facial expression and tricks were just hilarious.
From Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival
Here you can see him eating the hamster which wouldn't comply and jump through the hoop.

Overall it was a fantastic experience, I was especially impressed by the sturdiness of the buildings, which obviously are here to stay and will wait for next year's festival. Which, depending on the schedule, I just might be able to visit :)

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