DRESS-UP DAYS: The reasons for loving a renaissance festival are plentiful -- the potential to walk around wielding a turkey leg is likely at number #3 or #4 are many people's lists -- but we're rather sweet on the fact that it is one of the few places where one can dress-up, grandly, fantastically, and lavishly, outside of, say, Halloween or a costume party. Let us also note that while we're welcome to watch many an entertainment that includes costume wear, few of those entertainments encourage the watchers to don equally elaborate outfits. But ren faires are special. They are indeed an event where both entertainers and attendees can dress up in tights and Elizabethan gowns and velvet caps and pointy-toed leather shoes. It's all part of summoning the spirit of Ye Olden Times -- with a dash or two of modern-era interpretation -- and doing it with a sense of fun. That sense of fun is well on display, alongside all of the other tried-and-true ren faire staples, at Casa de Fruta every fall, when the Northern California Renaissance Faire opens for a multi-weekend run.
THEME WEEKENDS AND MORE: The NorCal fest is on from Saturday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 13. It's a weekend-only thing, please note, so should you show up at the Hollister-close Casa de Fruta on a Wednesday in your full jousting outfit, well. You may just be buying apples and clank-clank-clanking back to your car. Theme weekends are part of the merriment, indeed, so plan for an Oktoberfest, a Masquerade, and the opening weekend, which is 2-for-1. Chain mail will be for sale at the marketplace, in addition to wreaths, jewelry, wearables, and art, and the entertainment? Yeah, you'll see some knights knighting and ribald bards doing that ribald storytelling thing (and non-ribald, too; this is an all-ages fest). Speaking of which, young medievalers ages 12 and under get in free, while general admission tickets are $25. We don't know what that would translate into in 1452 prices, or the currency of 1505, but we hope someone will be sporting an abacus on the grounds.