October, 2019

About an hour away from the District, people can time travel. It happens every year. They don armor and guzzle mead, and kindly refrain from brandishing their weapons. They clomp in many-buckled boots through a small medieval town, splitting turkey legs with friends and trying their hands at games of chance and skill. Knives and axes clang unceremoniously and unsuccessfully off of wooden targets. Cries of “huzzah,” “m’lord,” and “m’lady” mingle in the air.

Welcome to the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

In a sea of impressive costumes—knights, queens, rapscallions, scoundrels, wenches, and jesters—one person stands out. For one thing, he is green. He wears a viridescent bodysuit and sports a green mask that covers half his face and extends over his head. Hoop earrings dangle from its false ears. He has painted his exposed skin green as well, and has all manner of fur, leather, and bone accessories. He has embraced the event with fervor, and it hugs him back. 

He’s also one of the few channeling something monstrous instead of heroic. He looks like an ogre, and he’s waiting in the line at a crêpe and coffee stand. 

It’s one of the last days of the festival, and a sunny, clear afternoon. Curious first-timers are taking advantage of a last chance to see what Revel Grove is all about, and longtime fans are soaking in the last moments of this year’s recreation of that bygone era.

The ogre’s food is ready now. The cashier greets him by his all-too-human name and gives him his order.

Will Warren writes Scene and Heard. If you know of a location worthy of  being seen or heard, email him at wwarren@washingtoncitypaper.com.