Time Travelers’ Weekend in Review!

DSCF5132 (2)This weekend saw the first official Time Travelers’ weekend unfold at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, and the steampunks, fandoms, and cosplayers turned out in force. Although there were very few official changes to the venue/shows/etc. for the theme, there was a very clear and happy nod to the assortment of time travelers who descended upon the Elizabethan village of Willy Nilly on the Wash.

DSCF5139 (2)The most obvious demonstration of the weekend’s theme was the small fleet of DeLoreans which appeared outside the main gate. However, Dr. Brown’s time machine and its clones were hardly the only sign of the fluctuating time/space continuum. The MC for the joust made jokes about the sudden availability of antibiotics, roving entertainers discussed slipping back and forth in time, and non-contemporary accessories and attire were welcomed with leading questions and appropriate confusion.

DSCF5133 (2)Some shops featured specialty items for the weekend, including Standing Stone Herbs, which created a special “Time Traveler’s” blend of tea. Even those who didn’t necessarily alter their wares often modified their costumes with goggles and other timey-wimey gear.

Steampunks, Doctors (of various fandoms), superheroes, Enterprise crewmembers on shore leave, and Mandalorians roved the streets. There was also, at one point, a raging Tyrannosaurus Rex on the loose, just inside the main gate. Whether this was an official stunt or an aggressive patron, I do not know, and I’m not sure I need to. All characters were well and truly welcomed, just as expected, and it was great to see a tiny Hulk tottering down the street amid equally tiny princesses. Although fandom-related gear is a common sight at the Festival, I noted even more Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc. t-shirts, accessories, and even casual cosplays than I have in the past.

DSCF5135 (2)By using time travel as a gateway to openly invite cosplayers of all types and fandoms, the Ohio Renaissance Festival created a sort of two-day convention. It had some of the best elements of such an event, with all levels of cosplay enthusiastically welcomed, in-character role players, local airships, and – of course – the best setting a fantasy nerd could ask for.

Other themed weekends have unique contests, shows, and – occasionally – menu items. While the costumed hordes who appeared this weekend won much attention from the locals of Willy Nilly, they had no special plans. Since this was the first official year for time travelers (even though years are inconsequential to such folk), it makes sense that the organizers kept changes on a small scale. This is even more understandable considering the updates and changes to the Festival in general thanks to the new owners.

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Hopefully this year’s turnout, a 45% increase at the gate, will inspire a contest or two for next year’s guests, or perhaps a temporary show . . . The Pandora Society is proposing to host such a program for the 2016 Time Traveler’s Weekend, but more about that later. Regardless, this first attempt to gather nerds from all corners of time and space was delightfully fun, and I hope to see the theme on next year’s schedule.

Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.


 

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