Most people from Massachusetts and RI have probably heard of King Richard’s Faire. If you haven’t heard of it, the quick breakdown is that it’s a medieval/Renaissance fair that runs only on weekends for about two months every year in the Fall. At first mention, anyone who has a preconceived notion of a Renaissance fair immediately assumes the worst. Let me disclaim this post by saying that King Richard’s Faire (“KRF”) is like a lighter version of some stereotypical fairs seen on TV or in movies. There is no pressure to dress up or speak in Old English and I, myself, have never done so. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you won’t find people dressed up and playing roles all over the faire (yes, I used an “e” that time). Generally speaking, if you like apple or pumpkin picking in the fall, then KRF is basically the same thing except with more to see and do. You get to walk around in the fantastic fall weather, eat all kinds of treats from chowder in bread bowls, to turkey legs, to ice cream sundaes, and you can play games or watch shows (like jousts) in the process. I’ve always enjoyed myself at King Richard’s Faire and I wanted to share some of my experiences this last time around.
King Richard’s Faire
235 Main Street
Carver, MA 02330
Upon driving onto the 80-Acre pine forest that is King Richard’s Faire, you can already see the majestic flags that line the dirt parking lot leading up to the main entrance. The entrance itself (pictured above) is a simple looking structure, but the interior of the Faire is much larger than the entrance would suggest. Inside the gate, actually feels like being in a merchant village with beautiful trees interspersed between aged structures. When we walked in, we saw the King himself chatting with some of his subjects (you can see him in the picture below in the bottom left). It’s true that the staff dresses up and many of them stay in character for at least a couple of minutes when interacting with them. Many of them seem to realize how ridiculous it is to speak in a fake accent when trying to have any kind of substantive conversation, so they snap out of it pretty quickly. Nonetheless, they are there and some of the patrons of the Faire are also there in costumes of all kinds. There are homemade disasters as well as finely crafted ensembles. Below is a photo of some of the Faire employees in full garb. Shops and Shows
As you exit or enter the Faire, near the entrance there is a candle shop run by a man named, Mike. He has been coming to the Faire for 30 years and even though he has retired in Thailand, he still makes it out to the Faire every year. His shop is iconic as he sits and creates finely sculpted fantasy candles right in front of anyone willing to watch. Some of my favorite shops at KRF are the sword shops. All of the sword shops sell real swords. By real, I mean that they could be used in a real battle without snapping in half. They need to remain oiled so they don’t rust and they are truly amazingly crafted works of art. There are three main sword shops at KRF with completely different styles. The first, and possibly the most famous due to its location right next to the Tournament field is Starfire Swords. They make simple, authentic looking swords with a very obvious theme. The next sword shop to note is Sabersmith. Their style is much more fantasy based. Their items are as beautiful as they are deadly. LaForge (no, not the blind guy from Star Trek) is the last swordsmith. They have crude looking swords and boast that no sword or dagger is like any other. Each piece is one of a kind. This sword shop is located right next to one of my favorite shows at KRF – The Mud Show! This funny show is put on by two “beggars” that divide and conquer the crowd by dividing it in half and pitting one side against the other. I won’t ruin all of the details of the show for you, but there is some mud eating, some mud drinking, and some mud in the face. It’s a short show, but fun for all ages even though some of the jokes are adult themed. There are jokes that I understand now that I totally missed when I was younger! In addition to the Mud Show, be sure to check out the baby tigers show put on by some fearless women and when that is over, go check out the big tournament where knights joust on real horses for the honor of their home countries. Food
If everything at the Faire wasn’t enough, they provide a multitude of foods that are terrible for your health, but wonderful for your taste buds. Upon arriving at the Faire, my brother and his wife purchased a giant soft pretzel and some cheese fries. The giant pretzel turned out to be a little too salty for my brother, so he brushed off some of the huge chunks of salt before eating it. The pretzel was exactly as expected (i.e. giant, soft, and pretzel-like). The cheese fries were delicious shoestring fries covered in cheez whiz basically. As gross and haunting as cheez whiz is, sometimes it totally hits the spot. On this occasion, no one was expecting anything gourmet, so as far as Faire food goes, these fries were actually really tasty. Unfortunately, they tend to get really soggy from the cheese after a bit, so you’ll need a fork. Another fried item we tried was the Faire’s Bloomin Onion. It’s a giant onion chopped into wedges, battered, and fried as one big blossom. You can find this item at numerous chain restaurants across the country. The batter at the Faire tasted like it had some interesting spices in it that none of us could place. The onion itself was very crispy and while heavy, it was nowehere near as heavy as it could have been. The horseradish syle sauce in the center was also an excellent addition. The ultimate in King Richard’s Faire foods is the Turkey Leg. It’s a barbarically sized hunk of turkey that’s been smoked and crisped up. The leathery skin is crispy and the interior is soft, juicy, and smoky like ham. In fact, the leg tastes just like a really really salty ham. This item is more of a novelty than anything else because it’s a lot of food, a lot of one kind of flavor, and way too salty. Nonetheless, it so fun to purchase and waive around that it’s worth it! We washed some of the food down with a seasonal pumpkin beer served in a cinnamon and sugar rimmed plastic cup. Classy! These are also especially handy to loosen up any uptight members in your group! Overall Impression
I would recommend King Richard’s Faire to adults and children. If you enjoy walking outdoors in the brisk fall air, then you’ll enjoy the Faire. Patrons are free to get involved as little or as much as they want without any pressure. Every New Englander should at least stop by the oldest and largest running Faire in the area at least once.