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9 Terms (And Then Some) Rennies Use With Other Rennies

August 31, 2012

Now that I’ve covered the basics, here’s a few terms you might hear Rennies use with each other, but not necessarily within the hearing of the patrons.  Some of these terms can be derogatory, but not necessarily insulting.  We’ll get to the insulting stuff later.


A Mundane is generally any person who is not a Rennie.  Normal people who live normal lives with normal families and who think that going out to a ren faire is a good time for a single weekend but they can’t image actually working there.  Mundanes are easily identified by their uniform of blue jeans, sunglasses, and ball caps.  Mundanes may be out at faire for the shopping, the drinking, or just to watch people in funny clothes beat each other with fake swords.  The term Mundane can be used disparagingly to refer to all of the people who stare at the Rennies who have to hit Wal-mart at midnight because they need duct tape to repair some vital piece of camping equipment or garb.  Deliberately going out to public location in garb in order to prompt those stares is called “Freaking the Mundanes.”  This term is fairly common within Live Action Role Playing and reenactment groups.  In some circles, the term “Muggles” may be used interchangeably with Mundane.  Mundanes can also be used to refer to “normal” clothes e.g., “I can’t wait to get out of this corset and into some mundanes.”


Garb is the clothes that a Rennie wears while working at or attending a faire.  Garb is never, never, never to be referred to as a costume.  A costume is something you put on for a single night which will probably only hold up for a few hours at best.  Garb is what you wear when you have to get up every Saturday and Sunday morning for up to eight weeks at a time and go pretend to be someone else.  One of the hallmarks of a true Rennie is that they may have a special section of their closet devoted to organizing their garb.  While this behavior may be very similar to the habits of persons with various Identity Disorders, it should be emphasized that Rennies know that they are not actually the person they are portraying.  Most of the time.  Garb may be purchased from a booth at the faire, sewn by the wearer (or a friend of the wearer), or purchased from a professional garber.  Boothies usually know the best place to get inexpensive and durable garb, although it’s rare to get both in one item.  Most garb is chosen to be comfortable, able to stand up to regular washings, and easy to wrangle in the confines of a privy.  People wandering around the faire who are typically in garb but for some reason are wearing mundanes are referred to as “going naked” or just “naked.”  Depending on who you ask, the assortment of things hanging from someone’s belt may be their “tool belt,” “belt gear,” or just “the heavy crap I carry on my belt.”  Someone wearing an especially cluttered tool belt is wearing “accoutra-crap.”

Path Show

A Path Show is typically a mostly scripted performance done out in the pedestrian areas (the paths) intended to entertain the people passing by.  I say “mostly scripted” because a path show generally involves dragging in a Patron or three, which can lead to some pretty hilarious shenanigans.  Participants who do path shows have to be very good at improv because a clever Patron can run a show off the rails rather quickly.  The main cast of a faire usually has a schedule of path shows they do through out the day, plus a selection of bit shows which they can put on when the opportunity seems right.  Most path shows are meant to entertain and get the Patrons into the spirit of the festival.  Some groups do have a special show that they put on when a Patron is being especially resistant to joining in on the fun and may only be entertaining to the friends of the poor bastard in the spotlight.  People being especially obnoxious, rude, or just plain assholish are “path show bait.”


Playtrons are regular attendees who don’t actually work at the faire, but look and act like they do.  They will dress up in garb just as detailed and complex as any participant and will even sometimes put on their own path shows.  Playtrons have to be careful about any appearance that they might be soliciting  tips for their performance, as most faires gets a bit cranky about  unauthorized acts.  Playtron is one of those terms which can be used as an insult when referring to a certain subset of behavior.  Some Playtrons are overly fanatical about their performance and may insinuate (or flat out state) that they are part of the cast.  Depending on exactly how fanatical the Playtron gets the behavior may only be somewhat annoying, kind of sad, or downright creepy.

Character Crush

Character Crush occurs when someone is very attracted to a participant, right up to the moment they see that participant in mundanes.  This sort of behavior can effect both men and women, though in my personal experience it tends to happen more to male participants.  A sexy woman in a bodice is typically still a sexy woman when in blue jeans, but a guy in a doublet and tights looks a lot less like a knight in shining armor when sporting a t-shirt.  Also, certain behaviors seem roguish and daring while doing a rather fine Johnny Depp impression.  They’re considerably more assholish when you’re channeling Charlie Sheen.

Faire Affair

When a man and a woman love each other very much… Or two men or two women… Or just like each other a whole lot…  Anyways.  When two consenting adults who are also Participants engage in a mutually agreeable relationship that occurs only during the run of the faire or only while both are on the festival grounds, they are having a faire affair.  Although the name implies “extra-marital,” the two people in question probably aren’t cheating on anyone with their faire affair (probably).  Sometimes these relationships will only occur for a single season, or will run the course of several seasons.  Sometimes a faire affair will turn into a more serious relationship, though usually it’s kept casual.  Faire affairs are occasionally kept completely platonic, with the two participants doing nothing more than flirt and send each other flowers.  A patron who does this with a participant may be called a “Pet Patron.”  A person who does this to someone who has repeatedly told them to stop is called a “Stalker.”

Faire Kid

Faire Kids are the children of Participants who have worked at the faire for so long that they know their parents’ coworkers better than they know some of their own family.  Faire kids will frequently be hired on by nearby or trusted Boothies for small jobs such as fetching lunch for the booth when it’s busy.  It gives the kid something to do while their parent is working and if you’re really lucky the booth will pay the kid for the privilege of babysitting them for the day.  Faire Kids grow up knowing that they can play dress-up right on into old age if they really want to and that it is perfectly okay to be outside of the mainstream.  Faire Kids also grow up knowing that family has nothing to do with blood, that people will know when they fuck up, and that the adults around them know all the best places to stash an unconscious  Patron who won’t take “I’m 11” for an answer.  A Faire Kid whose family tends to camp with the same people every year may be called a “camp pet” (though some camps have a different meaning for this term).  After quiet hours, Faire Kids who are old enough to be allowed out on their own but aren’t old enough to drink will congregate at any lit building like moths.  Usually, this is the Participants privy and these little flocks are called “Privy Rats” or “Privy Monsters.”

Death March

Most faires require that every booth send out a single hostage to carry a banner around the faire for half an hour while smiling and waving.  The program lists this as The Parade.  Participants call it The Death March.  This term is especially true on unexpectedly hot days, when Participants dressed for cold weather that morning and haven’t had time to shuck off their flannel underwear.  The daily parade is exactly as much fun as you make it and most Participants will do something to entertain themselves and the Patrons as they walk along.  This may include dancing, singing, playing with toys, or just shouting jokes at the crowd.  The best part about this is that since you’re walking along at a fairly brisk pace, you can shout the same three things and get a laugh every time.  There are hazards to the Death March, though.  The parade route is rarely paved, so wet weather can turn the march into a slog.  Rocky ground can make dancing treacherous (as I am personally very familiar with).  And if you are walking anywhere behind the horses, you run the risk of stepping in something you’d rather not have on your boots all day.  Participants who are not assholes will alert the people behind them to the presence of these little gifts by shouting “Green mud!”

Faire Boogers

Working out at any unpaved, well trafficked site will lead to some pretty interesting colors in your Kleenex when you sneeze, but combine that with the primordial swamp of two month long Con Crud and you get the particular affliction known as Faire Boogers.  I’m going to leave this particular gem to the reader’s imagination.  Mostly because despite not having inherited my grandmother’s aversion to four letter works like “snot” and “fart,” I’m still too much of a lady to describe excess mucus in graphic fucking detail.

Next Time: 9 Patrons Every Rennie Hates

4 Comments leave one →
  1. knightimecreations permalink
    September 1, 2012 7:43 am

    At Four Winds, I’ve heard a lot of participants refer to “green mud” during a parade as “ambiance”; “Beware the ambiance!”

  2. BtA permalink
    April 8, 2014 3:58 pm

    Oh, the Death March. Thank heavens no animals in ours locally, but it went over burning sands, sticky mud, wood chips, stone chips, juniper roots, poking straw… no shoe seemed to be effective at handling all of it so I eventually gave up and went barefoot, which worked as a peasant and was surprisingly effective, and my feet were hard as wood by the end of the run. The Death March came regardless of wind or shower. We did scatter the year that buckets of rain and hail hit in torrents within a matter of two minutes after a sunny sky. Patrons huddled in shops, us huddled in the Scottish Clan’s doorway, rivers down every lane and the Sheriff alone striding down the center of the Faire bellowing “Be-waaaaaaaaaaaaaaare Sun Stroooooooooooooo-oke!”


  1. 9 Patrons That Every Rennie Hates « Crossed Wires
  2. 9 Terms Rennies Use That You Should Know « Crossed Wires

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