Having gone to the renaissance faire five years in a row, there are a few things I've picked up. Here are some of my "dos" and "don'ts" of the renaissance faire:
DO stay hydratedMost renaissance faires in the United States take place outside in the summer with little to no air conditioning available. Not drinking enough water will not only be very dangerous, but it will effect your fun. A hydrated body is a healthy, happy, pain-free body ready to have fun. I've found the best way to make sure I stay hydrated is to bring a container for water so I don't have to limit myself to quick sips at the drinking fountain. (I also found that when I brought something to drink from, I spent a lot less on soda.) I go in costume, so I chose to bring a wooden tankard that hung from my belt last year, and it worked really well. I just filled it up at the drinking fountain every time I passed, and carried it around with me while I finished it off. If you don't go in costume you can always just bring a water bottle. And while we're on the subject of water, some faires have a special, members only garden that comes with bottomless Gatorade and filtered water. The one at Bristol Ren Faire is $35 for the year, or - if you're only going one day - $5 to test it out. I did that last year and it was well worth it in my experience.
DON'T try to cram everything you want to do into one dayIf you're just a casual faire goer, and everything you want to see/do will fit into one day nicely, than great! All the power to you! But if there is a lot of stuff that you're interested in and/or some of it overlaps each other, take the extra day and go a whole weekend. You won't feel as pressured to rush from here to there so you don't miss x, which will leave you more relaxed, and more able to enjoy your time at the faire. Trust me. I've done it both ways and learned from my mistakes.
DO role playThis is something that I was really hesitant to do the first four years I went, but after reading Easy Street by AE last year I decided to give it a go, and I've never had so much fun at the faire before! For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the term "role play," it basically just means to get into character - to walk, talk, eat, etc. like your character would. For street performers at the faire this is a big part of their day, for playtrons (patrons that go in costume) it's not as important to stay in character, but it can be fun to play along as a character every now and then.
On my last visit to the renaissance faire I saw a gentleman in a shirt that looked like the Doctor's suit and tie. Unable to resist the temptation I went up to him and - in my best Elizabethan speech - asked him if he was "the man they call the Doctor." He decided to play along, and said yes, then -when I inquired as to where his blue box was - he told me that it was parked in the parking lot. Lol! It was just a brief moment, but things like that is what makes the renaissance faire so much fun! So definately don't be afraid to role play.
DON'T over do it on the junk foodI cannot stress this one enough! It's right up there with "stay hydrated." On one of my trips last year me and my group made the unfortunate mistake of not drinking enough water and eating too much fried food. The result was not a stomach ache or anything like that, we just felt super tired, groggy and all around "blah!" all day. So my advice is to definitely go slow on the fried stuff, and maybe pack some veggies in a cooler in the car. You can get your hand stamped to so you can come back in if you run out to your car, and then you will be properly fueled for a day of fun.
Well, those are some of biggest, best, and most important tips as far the the glorious ren faire is concerned. If you have any other tips I'd love to hear them! One of the fun things about the faire is that you're never done learning. *winks*