I went to the Sherwood Forest Renaissance Faire a few weeks ago. It was my first time there and only my second time to a renaissance fair. I enjoyed it and found it really fascinating people watching. From an experience perspective, it runs much like an amusement park but without rides. The midways are generally about the same – food and shops. And there’s more entertainment than there is at your typical amusement park these days. One of the more noticeable differences is that the people who attend dress up in the theme. Or, in many cases, just dress up as anything (spiderman and iron man where there).
At least half the shops sell things you would wear if you went to the festival – armor, swords, corsets, hats, etc. Others sell things for your home but in ren-fair style (eg, stuff with dragons or signs with the word “ye” in them).
I’m an outsider to the whole ren-fair culture but the experience made me wonder: why aren’t there other themed fairs like this? Why is it just the Renaissance that gets this treatment? (And why is it just the swords and corsets and not more Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli, etc?)
I offer a few more worlds for your consideration
Certainly there is enough fodder in the canon of space and alien books, shows, and movies to make a fair to rival the renaissance crowd.
There are even old west towns around Austin but I’ve never heard of a western-themed faire. When they do have events only the people working the town dress up typically. This is Texas. Why is this not more of a thing?
Yes, there are comic cons. But they happen in sterile convention centers. If western towns could be described as “the town dresses up but the people don’t” then comic cons can be described as “the people dress up but the town doesn’t”.
Though I’ve never been to a comic con, it seems like it would translate relatively well to a rennaisance fair type of setting: vendors, entertainment, food, costumes, fans. If you were holding a comic con wouldn’t an immersive world reflecting your interests be more interesting than the Hilton ballroom?
It Could Still Be Inside
You could make the argument that ren fairs can be dusty and subject to weather which adds to the atmosphere but that raining on comic books is not a good thing. But there’s no reason that these other fairs need to be outside. There are huge indoor water parks now. Anything can be inside.
A Multi-Purpose Hybrid
Perhaps a bespoke anime-world is not financially advisable. Instead make it a sort of hybrid between the convention center and the outdoor fair. There are buildings that can be easily done up in whatever theme is happening at the fair. There are facades that can be moved and backdrops that can rolled up and down. Lighting and projections and sounds can be changed as well.
With a generic fair infrastructure (indoor or outdoor) that could be changed out, you could support more niche fan worlds. They could be band-based or company-based or brand-based or movie-based. They could even be person-based. You could even come up with entirely new worlds and concepts for people to learn about and explore and possibly contribute to.