Rain and cold can’t keep Ohio Renaissance Festival visitors away

HARVEYSBURG, Ohio – Some people go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival for some turkey thighs or higher level combat or armored combat. Others, to get married.

On Saturday, intermittent drizzle and chill in the air did not prevent guests from heading south-east of Dayton on the last weekend of the 2021 festival, which kicked off on September 4.

Some came dressed in furs or woolen coats, while others braved bare bellies or fishnet stockings. Even those in fancy dresses conceded muddy paths and donned boots or tennis shoes to make the circuit around the 35-acre village, designed to replicate 16th-century Britain.

Edwin Schmidlapp, 7, of Cincinnati, was dressed up as a plague doctor and ready to eat candy.

It wasn’t his first time at the festival: he and his parents have season tickets.

They are not the only regulars at the show.

Duane Estes, 64, and his son Derek Estes, 33, both from the Dayton suburb of Miamisburg, have attended almost every year since the festival began in 1990.

“It’s a fun bonding experience,” Derek said. “This is the part of the year that I look forward to the most.

The stylish (and warm) outfits they wore weren’t the only ones.

“We built an entire room in our garage just for the costumes,” said Duane. “Normally we’re both pretty calm, but not here.”

Those who work at the festival are often just as loyal.

Karen Ribble, 59, has been commuting 5.5 hours from Tennessee every weekend to braid hair at the Festival since 1998, when her son was four months old. (He is now her assistant hairdresser.)

She spoke while nimbly building a “five-strand braid on top” for Robin Kiser, 29, of Lewistown, near Bellefontaine.

Others have even more active roles.

Dave Sprockett takes a break after participating in armored fighting on Saturday at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.

Dave Sprockett, 32, of Cincinnati, has been at the festival for eight weekends this year participating in up close and personal armor combat. A member of the Cincinnati Barbarians Armored Combat Sports team, he wears 45 pounds of titanium armor and chain mail before entering the ring.

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had legally,” he said. “You get all the adrenaline from fighting in a bar, without any hard feelings.”

A different kind of adrenaline is at work for those who choose to get married in the festival chapel, including Jacqueline Aisling, 38, and Fred Tabor, 46, of Mechanicsburg in Logan County, who have married. at the third ceremony of the day on Saturday.

To the sound of drums, bagpipes and cries of “Huzzah! There, they participated in a “handfasting” ceremony and promised that “I will laugh with you and I will cry with you” before uniting as Jacqueline and Fred Aisling.

“It’s one of our favorite places in the world,” Jacqueline said.

It is a sentiment shared by many.

John, 45, and Angela, 40, Greener, of Columbus have participated in the festival since 2000.

“I love the atmosphere here. You come here, and everyone gets disconnected from the technology, and all the tension in the outside world shuts down, ”John said.

“Coming here is the reason we have day jobs,” Angela said.

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Longtime Ohio Renaissance Festival attendee Duane Estes, 64, shows off his braided, jeweled beard.  The Miamisburg resident says he converted part of his garage into storage space to house all of his Renaissance clothing.
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