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Get Away to the 16th Century with the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Take a step into a different world of entertainment, food and costume during English village life in the 16th century.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Step into life in an English village during the 16th century. 

The Maryland Renaissance Festival is the second largest, as far as attendance, in the country. Running nine weeks from August through October, the Festival President, Jules Smith, says it's a show of all seasons.

"It's high-touch entertainment, not high-tech entertainment: It's something you can experience with other people. It's a shared thing, you're not sitting home watching television. I think because so many people today are into role-playing, computer games and whatnot, here's an opportunity to get out and really do something," said Smith.

And speaking of role-playing, one couple sure dresses the part. Sharon and Jimmy Kraftchak of Virginia say costume let's people step into a different world, and for them, it all started with a hat.

"He wanted to buy a hat, and of course, if you give a man a hat, he's going to want a jacket to go with it. Then we started dressing and becoming what they call 'playtrons,' which are patrons that dress," said Sharon Kraftchak, Virginia Renaissance Faire "playtrons."

They're casted as royal characters in Queen Elizabeth's court for the Virginia Renaissance Faire. Here in Maryland, the Festival plays the part of King Henry's court.

The Festival is for all ages, with over 250 performers, vendors and shows, from Shakespearean plays to a sword-swallowing Guinness World Record-holder. Then, even though it's entertainment, Smith says the Festival can give families a way to cope.

"After September 11, which was a tragedy for everybody, we were open that next weekend and I would venture to say about 40 percent of our people came in costume. We had our biggest weekend of the year that year, because people wanted some escapism; and that's what we offer," said Smith.

Escaping to the Renaissance with a fun twist. 
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