Most people think of the annual Colorado Renaissance Festival -- or any Ren Faire, for that matter -- as a medieval Comic-Con. But when we visited this annual blast from the past in Larkspur, we found the Renaissance Festival an ideal place for a strapping fellow to bear witness to epic battles, execute feats of strength and kiss a damsel or two. Here are the top ten ways a man can get his machismo on at the Renaissance Festival.
10) Axes and Archery Every man wants to be the toughest guy in the King's court. For just a few bucks at the Ren Faire, you are handed brutal weapons and instructed in the deadliest way to use them. With axe in hand, your muscles will bulge, striking straight to the heart of any damsel -- like that arrow you shot through a hay bale earlier. And if you're carrying a beer, the Faire's game-masters will turn your talented tossing into a drinking game: a chug to celebrate your victory, or a swig to shame your defeat.
9) Mugs of Beer Oh, did we mention beer? Beer abounds at the Ren Faire, for a surprisingly affordable price considering that this is a huge festival. You get a brew for regular bar prices ($4 to 4.50), but it's not just about the beer. Faire artisans sell sturdy mugware -- earthen mugs, pewter mugs and wooden mugs, plus metal flasks wrapped in leather. Many are adorned with a skull and crossbones or a half-naked female pirate. So forgo the flimsy plastic cup and pour your brew into a mug that only a manly guy like yourself would tote.
8) Turkey Legs After your beer, you're likely to get hungry -- but you don't need no stinkin' plates or utensils. Among the many foods-on-a-stick here (including steak, brats and fried mac and cheese) are the quintessential turkey legs (despite the fact that there were no turkeys in Europe at that time). As you rip your teeth in, grease will drip down your face, arms and chest -- but that's how you eat, 'cause you're a man. Grunt.
Continue reading for more on the Renaissance Festival's manly feats.
7) Leather Bras and Bra-less Corsets After you wipe the grease from your face, it's quickly replaced by drool as you feast your eyes on the damsels of the Ren Faire. These ladies leave little to the imagination, with costumes that usually involve bare midriffs and overflowing corsets. Many are very questionably renaissance in nature, but who cares? Whether your type is a jingling gypsy, a pirate, a Buttercup-like peasant or a Zena Warrior princess, you'll find her here.
6) The Striker competition To secure the hearts of damsels strolling by, stop by the King's High Striker. You've seen the game before: hit the lever with a huge hammer and the thermometer will determine your strength. When you slam down that heavy hammer, ladies will swoon. You are no tit-mouse. You are no stable boy (unless she's into that).
5) Jousting After you display your manliness, you can show your softer side by taking a lady to a show. But not just any show: the joust. She might balk at first at seeing a sporting event -- but the jousting is pretty tame. The feats are less about violence and more about balancing a lance whilst riding a horse and stabbing a hay bale or two.
Continue reading for more of the Renaissance Festival's manly feats.
4) Comedy, Acrobats and Wet & Dirty Women There are other shows to enjoy, but you might not want to bring your lady. The Ren Faire's many stages have a number of swiftly rotating acts featuring feats of fancy. Send your lady to the sword-swallowing contest while you check out Puke and Snot's comedy, the flexible female acrobat of The Kamikaze Fireflies, and the wet and dirty (with mud, so the good dirty) at Washing Well Wenches. Who doesn't like to see a flexible lady or damsels rolling in a mud puddle?
3) Swords, machetes and more Now that you know how to use a weapon, you must get one for yourself. Head to the artisans of swords, battle axes and machetes. You can try them out -- and though you might not buy one, you can strike poses that the ladies will remember in their dreams. And you know, the longer the sword...
2) Blacksmith As you are a man of honor and a true curious Coloradan, you can't buy a sword without first meeting the masters of their craft. At the Blacksmith Forge, you'll find an actual blacksmith pounding iron and stoking the fire to create the molded metal tools that so ignite your valor and your lady's vigor.
1) Vegetable justice Let's be honest: Throwing axes at a wall and shooting arrows into hay bales has sparked your ancestral need for domination. The Renaissance Festival has the ideal release: vegetable justice. While the man in stocks taunts you, you get to throw tomatoes at his face. How manly is that?
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Yes, the Renaissance Festival is so much more than a medieval costume party. See for yourself during its next two weekends: July 26-27 features the Music & Dance Festival, August 2-3 is devoted to Fare Thee Well & Mardi Gras Style Carnivale. Find more information on the coloradorenaissance.com website....if you're man enough.