Leave your snazzy 21st-century vocabulary at home. Modern slang like brodown, sideboob, faceboink, brickberry and Palinized will do you no good at the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
Leave your snazzy 21st-century vocabulary at home.
Modern slang like brodown, sideboob, faceboink, brickberry and Palinized will do you no good at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, where each spring, a creosote- and cactus-studded swath of desert in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains becomes a 16th-century European shire.
The festival opens 10 a.m. Saturday. The 30-acre event boasts three daily jousting tournaments, falconry shows, elephant and camel rides, and thrilling feats like fire-eating, axe- and knife-throwing, archery, catapulting and fiery whip-cracking. You can even get married at the Festival Wedding Chapel.
But you’d better dust off your college Shakespeare texts if you want to understand even half of what the hundreds of lords, ladies, knaves, nobles, peasants and minstrels working the festival grounds have to say. The costumed villagers are indoctrinated in Renaissance-era lingo, lending a sometimes befuddling feel to the fair — or faire, to be properly Elizabethan about it.
For some help, we take a page from the Arizona Renaissance Festival’s official Renaissance Language and Vocabulary guides, made available to all tight-wearing jesters, cleavage-bearing wenches and armor-sporting knights at the festival.
After all, if you want to buy one of those toddler-sized turkey legs and a chalice of mead, you’d better be able to ask the food vendor — er, peddler — for change.
Yes = aye, yea
No = nay
Maybe, perhaps = mayhap, haply, perchance, belike
Please = prithee, pray, I pray thee
Thank you = gramercy, God grant thee mercy, God yield thee
Excuse me = by your leave, I cry thy mercy
Bathroom = privvy
How are you? = How fare thee?
What time is it? = How stands the hour?
Come here = come hither, come forward
Go away = be gone
Hurrah! = Huzzah!
Wow! = Marry!, I’faith!
No kidding = Forsooth, Insooth, Go to
Honestly, really, seriously = forsooth, in sooth, by my troth, in troth
Good day, good morrow, how now?, well met, hail
God speed, farewell, fare thee well, safe journey, anon
How to address people you meet
The King (they hold court each day at 11 a.m.) = Your Majesty, Your Highness, My Liege, Sire
The Queen (she holds court each day at 11 a.m.) = Your Majesty, Your Highness
Nobility = Your Grace, My Lord or My Lady, Good my Lord or Good my Lady
Someone whose profession you know = Master Blacksmith; Mistress Lavender (a washer woman)
Someone whose last name you know = Master Doe, Mistress Doe
Someone whose first name you know = Master John; Mistress Jane
Someone whose name or profession you don’t know = Master, Mistress, good fellow, good woman, good sir, good wife, friend, cousin, neighbor
Children = lad, lass, young master, little maid
Commonly confused words
Thee/thou = both mean “you” and should only be used when addressing one’s social equals or inferiors. Royalty is never addressed “thee” or “thou” but “you.” When used with “thou,” the words “will” and “shall” become “wilt” and “shalt.”
Hither = here
Thither = there
Whither = where
Hence = away from here
Thence = away from there
Whence = from where
Yon = over there
Yonder = way over there
How to craft a Shakespearean insult
No one could deliver a sting of the tongue like the famous Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon. To do it like he did, chose one word from each column, and preface the phrase with “thou.”
Column 1, Column 2, Column 3
artless, base-court, apple-john
bawdy, bat-fowling, baggage
beslubbering, beef-witted, barnacle
bootless, beetle-headed, bladder
churlish, boil-brained, boar-pig
cockered, clapper-clawed, bugbear
clouted, clay-brained, bum-bailey
craven, common-kissing, canker-blossom
currish, crook-pated, clack-dish
dankish, dismal-dreaming, clotpole
droning, doghearted, codpiece
fobbing, elf-skinned, flap-dragon
forward, fat-kidneyed, flax-wench
frothy, fen-sucked, flirt-gill
gleeking, flap-mouthed, foot-licker
goatish, fly-bitten, fustilarian
gorbellied, folly-fallen, giglet
impertinent, fool-born, gudgeon
jarring, guts-griping, harpy
loggerheaded, half-faced, hedge-pig
lumpish, hasty-witted, horn-beast
mammering, hedge-born, hugger-mugger
mangled, hell-hated, joithead
mewling, ill-nurtured, maggot-pie
puking, knotty-pated, malt-worm
puny, milk-livered, mammet
qualling, motley-minded, measle
rank, onion-eyed, minnow
reeky, plume-plucked, miscreant
ruttish, pox-marked, moldwarp
surly, shard-borne, pumpion
unmuzzled, sheep-biting, ratsbane
vain, spur-galled, scut
venomed, swag-bellied, skainsmate
villainous, tardy-gaited, strumpet
warped, tickle-brained, varlet
wayward, toad-spotted, whey-face
yeasty, weather-bitten, wagtail
What: The ultimate 16th-century European fantasy village, complete with a royal court, jousting knights, an artisan marketplace, singing minstrels, gypsies and farm animals.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 29, and Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 16.
Where: 7 miles east of Apache Junction on U.S. 60. You can’t miss the signs or the festival traffic.
Cost: Tickets, when purchased in advance at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores, are $18 for adults and $8 for children ages 5-12. Tickets purchased at the gate or online cost $2 more. Tickets for seniors (age 60 and older) are $17 and may only be purchased at the gate.
Tickets include entertainment — such as Tournament Jousting and Birds of Prey shows — and parking, but bring extra cash for food, drink, arts, crafts, rides and games.
The popular twice-daily Pleasure Feast, a two-hour, six-course meal with risque adult entertainment, is $79.95 per person. The cost includes festival admission and souvenirs, but reservations must be made in advance, as tickets are limited.
Information: (520) 463-2700 or http://royalfaires.com/arizona
Special event weekends
Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 16
During opening weekend, you can get into the festival for a cut rate of two tickets for $20 — if you have a special coupon. The deal also works on Presidents Day, Feb. 16. Coupons are available, in limited quantities, at Arriba Mexican Grill restaurants, Shell gas stations, Wendy’s fast-food locations and Phoenix Flower Shops in the Valley. You must show the coupon at the festival gate to get the deal; it’s not good on tickets purchased at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores or online.
Married couples are invited to renew their vows at a free ceremony 12:30 p.m. at the Festival Wedding Chapel. Festival admission rates apply.
During the Renaissance, the nobility of Venice had a long-standing tradition of wearing masks when they engaged in activities like gambling, drinking and romantic conquests. Venetian Carnevale, a lavish celebration of masked revelry, makes a comeback these two days, when children and adults are encouraged to bring homemade masks. They’ll be judged in contests at noon Saturday (for kids) and Sunday (for adults). There are also wine lectures and tastings each day at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 at the Feast Hall Green.
Feb. 28 and March 1
British, French and Dutch pirates roamed the Caribbean during the 1500s and 1600s, and pirates will invade the festival with a treasure hunt for kids 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and a kids costume contest at noon. A contest for adults in pirate garb is noon Sunday.
An enchanted village with talking trees, wizards, elves and fairies is the draw during a weekend steeped in magic and fantasy. Children are invited to dress as elves or fairies for a contest at noon on Saturday. Adults can enjoy wine lectures and tastings each day at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 at the Feast Hall Green, and the adult Renaissance costume contest is noon Sunday.
Celebrate the Celtic nations of Scotland and Ireland with the Sexiest Knees in a Kilt Contest at noon Saturday. Contestants will be judged on personality, presence and — most important — the sex appeal of their knees. Contestants are required to wear proper undergarments beneath their kilts.
Girls ages 5-12 are invited to dress up for the Fairest Princess Contest at noon.