You know you’re a Renaissance Faire Vendor when….


1. In addition to your wallet and cell phone, you can generally easily find extra safety pins, zip ties, a #1 spring clamp and an “emergency” pair of pliers in your purse.

2. You own a dolly with all terrain tires.

3. Your car boot has a 2A:10BC fire extinguisher (recently serviced and tagged), at least 6 burlap wrapped Pepsi liter bottles full of rocks or cat sand, duct tape, a spool of heavy twine, extra burlap and a package of extra tent stakes in it at all times.

4. You can fix anything, and I do mean anything, with twine, a zip tie or a spring clamp. At least, long enough to hold up until Sunday at 5pm. If there isn’t a strong and gusty wind.

5. You know that just about anything can be used as a table riser, in a pinch.

6. You have at least two bins of extra lengths of muslin, assorted cotton print bedspreads and remnant bits of “pretty” fabric to drape over and hide a multitude of sins. Like, that piece of “anything” you just used as a table riser because it was a pinch.

6. Heavy twine = “Elizabethan Duct Tape.”

7. You’ve spent at least $100 this season on those heavy canvas painter’s tarps from Lowe’s. So versatile…

8. You have two different costume collections.  A set of costumes that you have to wear for those Faires that have strict costuming guidelines. These are probably earth-toned, involve steel boning, and about 35 lbs of fabric.  Then there are the costumes that you’re actually happy to wear, when you are doing the Faires that let you get away with anything you want. Yay purple! Turquoise! Wings! Glitter!

Because you are a pretty, pretty princess.

9. Fairies are real. You see them at work every day!


10. Yes, you did spend $250 on an in period belt to hold your Square and cell phone, and after an hour spent arguing with your accountant about it, you can still see no good reason why the IRS won’t let you deduct it. It’s for work.

11. Costume pieces – machine washable vs. artisan made hand dyed silk? The conflict is real.

12. But, why won’t the IRS let me deduct a pair of $700 custom made 7 button faire boots? They’re for work!

13. You can tuck, knot and roll any configuration of any costume and  use a port-a-potty without incident after drinking mead all day. You can’t make change without a calculator after all that mead, but you can pee without incident.

14. Your “emergency first aid kit” includes a jar of dill pickles.

15. You are always really happy when you see that one guy who brings the crepes and gyro booth down from Portland. He makes the good coffee. All day. On site. You can live on his gyros for 2 days without a problem, unlike the teriyaki chicken two booths down.

16. If you never eat another $5 stick full of teriyaki chicken again…

17. You have a bin devoted to “seasonal” plastic flower garlands and ribbon arrangements so that your booth decor matches spring fertility festivals OR harvest festivals.

18. You see nothing at all unusual about bowing to the Queen as she swans by, waving at some fairies, and then calling out, “Hey Captain America! Nice boots!” within the same 5 minute span.

19. Beagle in a pirate suit? Bearded dragon with tiny resin wings? Kitty in a fairy costume? You’ve seen it all. In fact, their owners routinely bring them by to say hello.


20. This seems pretty normal. Yeah? What about it? Minotaur.

21. Yes, The Doctor did drop by your booth that one time at that one faire… hello, sweetie!
Meeting the Doctor

Got more? I’d love to hear ’em!


About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
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54 Responses to You know you’re a Renaissance Faire Vendor when….

  1. Paul Wilson says:

    Your proficiency with blue tarps is the stuff of legend and your fellows consideryou a master of Tarp-fu or Tarp-jitsu

    • Rainy says:

      Tarp-jitsu! I love that. Is that what it is when you can fold a 9×12 tarp neatly all by yourself without bashing into your neighbor’s tent at 8am, before your second coffee? Because I haven’t quite got tarp-jitsu yet if that’s the case.

  2. RebaSays says:

    You are asked for detailed descriptions of how you make your craft and/or the patterns and tools it took to do it. The person asking is offended when you politely decline to give them your trade secrets.

    • Rainy says:

      *LOL* So so so true. I usually just smile and say, “YouTube and Google are such wonderful resources for learners of any age,”

  3. John Thuman says:

    When they say “Well I could do that.” but never will.

  4. Tiger Torre says:

    You’ve heard some variation on the phrase: “These are *just* like that [product] from that movie/other shop/walmart…” at least three times a weekend. (I personally get “These are just like the masks from that movie!” because I am a mask maker.)

    You consider having costuming bingo cards in your shop for all the Jack Sparrows, Doctors, Star Trek and Star Wars characters wandering through your Faire.

    You know that vinegar and/or pickle brine are suitable beverages on hot days.

    You have created new and inventive ways to hide your non-period hair/tattoos/piercings for the shows that require it.

    You laugh out loud when someone invites you to some non-Faire event on a Faire weekend.

    You’ve learned to sew/craft/build things so that you can save money, but every so often, it’s totally worth it to support your fellow vendors and spread the love. And sometimes, you know they’ve just done it better than you ever could.

    You know a LOT of people, but not always their names. “Yes, I work Faire; No, I don’t remember your name!”

    You have the best, extended, chosen family, even if you only see some of them once a year. And you get to be amazed at how fast kids grow when you see them so seldom.

    There is no such thing as too many skirts, but this one pair of ren shoes/boots better last me a lifetime.

  5. You know exactly how to disguise duct tape and have it not look like duct tape. Also, you know how to fix anything with duct tape, and then make it not look like duct tape.

  6. Everyone knows to come to you at mundane shows because anything they need is somewhere in the van. Or alternatively you are incognito at a show that’s not quite the right period as you usually do and you still end up having a profitable day because people stop you and you end up selling them things out of the back of your van 🙂

  7. Christine says:

    The wee one with the fairy is my son!! How small he was then…

  8. ladyroheis says:

    You have slept in a chair, in your booth, in the snow, wearing all of your garb, two cloaks and a spare blanket or four … because there were no hotel rooms or crash space left. You have more tables than a casino. You can pack a van with one hand and hold a baby in the other. You can cook a full meal over one can of Sterno and a folding solar stove… and make other Rennies drool at the scent. (Always make extra!) You have ever baked a lasagna over a campfire. (See last quote.)

  9. You always keep extra toilet paper for your night time trips to the port-o-potty because having none after a busy day at the faire when staff has forgotten to refill them sucks.

  10. David Prather says:

    I’m not a vendor, but a member of the street cast at the Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival – but I recognize pretty much everything on your list as applying to most of our vendors 🙂

    I would add, “You know the schtick of every person on the cast of every faire you go to, whether you’re working or not.”

    Thanks for sharing this – it was fun…

    • Rainy says:

      Yes! And probably have a few bits of your own schtick that you’ve worked up just for them, so that you can patter at them and improv a little bit as they walk by… I was a cast member for 20+ years off and on. I LOVED it when our vendors wanted to play and I always try to play now that I am one.

  11. Kirin Heller says:

    You are the reigning master of “automobile Tetris”. You have a stake puller that rivals a horror show murder weapon. You understand the true miracle that is under armor. You have enough ropes and spare wood to build a trebuchet in your spare time. Having a black and decker rechargeable power station has saved your ass at night shows when all your tech is about to die. You’ve spent more on your tent than your first car. You know precisely what army duck canvas is with sunbrella waterproofing. Clear plastic sheeting is your rainy day survival strategy. You have a bag somewhere of chemical hand warmers and end up passing them out in October to miserable people shoving numb blue hands under their armpits

    • Rainy says:

      Ok this made me jump up and down because I totally know what army duck canvas with sunbrella waterproofing is and have some in my garage. 😀

    • Nicholette Corvis says:

      I know I am! Which has its drawbacks… Like I pack most of the vehicles for our booth. But I am ninja and make the guys do the fetching for me. Tetris was my game as a girl, so now whenever a lot of things need to fit into the trunk of a small convertible, I get called in. =D

      • Rainy says:

        We just outgrew my Honda Fit this season. So now I have a Trailblazer and things seem to have grown exponentially.

  12. This is why you do your own taxes. Those are work deductions that fall under “uniform expenses” or the “necessary equipment” status. 🙂

  13. Tiger Torre says:

    You can’t help but say “Good Day”, “Good Morrow”, “Lords and Ladies”, etc. even when you’re at non-Faire shows.

  14. Ami (wife of Tobias the Adequate) says:

    Marcus Bowyer beat me to it. But I’ll add that you need a different accountant! & I so miss Daybreak Crepes!

  15. Becca Feiner says:

    You have been pleased with your tan, only to discover it was all dust.

    • Susan Snook says:

      You find that you take acres of faire-site home with you, …in your clothes, your tent, your PORES. (I know at least one “Peasant” who likes to take the Tahoe site home in buckets, because that mud sticks best to his skin for his gig!)

  16. Cathy Clarke says:

    You know the cheapest places to get gas in 20 states. Learn how to make sure the money lasts through the “un”season. Learn how to read the clouds and get scared when the wind blows during tornado season. Have a sledge hammer ready to go and are able to find it in the dark. Always have those one or two boxes at tear down time with “stuff”, broken bits, random must have things you swear will get back in the proper place and never does. (these multiply) Keep old costumes because someone will need them or you can repurpose. Go shopping mundanely in costume and do not even notice people looking anymore. Feel more comfortable in costume than street clothes.

  17. Tim Robinson says:

    I make chainmaile, platemaile, and scalemaile at one Ren Faire and at least three times a day I will hear some version of “My friends sister’s second cousin on her mother’s side twice removed knows how to make that. I’ll just have him make it for me.” I just smile and say “Good Luck with that.” Most of the time they will come back the next year and buy the item cause there “crafter” wants a lot more than I charge.

  18. Ruchika says:

    This is such a fun piece. I always dreaded shows that required special decor, costumes and booths. I thought it’s too much work. But you made it sound sooo fun and interesting.
    Alas! One day I’ll do a ren faire… In some other life cos for now I’m concentrating on a very important business.😊
    Good luck to you now and forever.😊

  19. Rain, so well written and funny.

  20. Ben Orsack says:

    Your day begins with cannon fire and ends with fireworks.

  21. Tammy "The Tax Lady" Mahaffey says:

    Actually honey you need a new accountant! Unless you belong to a reenactment society for fun those boots are deductible and so is the money belt!


    A damn good tax accountant

  22. Owlfeathers Designs says:

    By Sunday morning you are putting Baileys in your coffee.

  23. Owlfeathers Designs says:

    You had someone come by your booth and ask if you could make Dragon Wings for their Bearded Dragon Lizard who was on their shoulder. Of Course you said yes!

  24. Arachne says:

    Tim Robinson, I’ve heard that line so many times in my life that I finally started telling them that when they get tired of waiting for their person to make them the chainmail item that they’re looking for, to come back and see me and hand them a business card. I don’t mind that people could make what I was selling, but do you have to tell me to my face? My selling at renfairs is over as I have a 40 hour a week job that leaves me free on the weekends, and I’m looking forward to retiring one of these days, but I do miss it sometimes. Not the 100+ degree heat in numerous layers of clothing, or the dust and the hassle of setting up or tearing down in the dark. But I miss the other vendors, and the customers (at least most of the time) and fun we used to have. Maybe after we retire and have time to do those handcrafted items and go and sell at a few fairs just to keep our hands in again. But the back and the hips and the ankles are groaning at the thought. So I’ll go and play at fairs and say hi to all the vendors and remember when I was on the other side of the table.

  25. Carol says:

    OMG! This was HILARIOUS!

  26. Cybele says:

    The items in your shopping cart include Gatorade, sandwich supplies, talcum powder, Coleman fuel, bungee cord, a sturdy knife, glitter, a package of hand needles, baby wipes, a bag of pea gravel, cold cream, rubber cement, satin ribbon, shoe inserts and a basket of fruit.

  27. Due to the outward boundary of where for the third year the Vending coordinator placed you. The Head of Security hands you a Radio just in case a patron/playtron falls out due to a lack of proper hydration.

  28. jessica says:

    When they put bag pipers on the stage just a cross from you. Love the music, but after 7 weeks of not being able to hear customers for 30 minute chunks it gets old.

    Trying to figure out just how many layers of clothes you can fit on under your costume so you dont freeze first thing in the morning. These layers must also be able to taken off easily as it warms up. It is like being a clothing ninja.

    Being able to schedual eating and going to the bath room around when the joust gets out and parade time.

    Making sure to always have someone else on site has keys to your booth in case your boss gets up late.

    Sun screen is in your first aid kit along with that maybe needed can of Off.

  29. You carry toilet paper in your car, and store some in your booth, because you never know what the porta-potty is going to be like at close of faire!

    • Rainy says:

      And if you’re really lucky, you can hold it till you’re off site and sitting in a Denny’s somewhere… because end of faire portalettes… ew.

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