Renaissance faires/festivals are generally not great places to try and connect with the history of England or any other country. This is why we were genuinely pleased and surprised last Saturday when, strolling past the booths selling fairy wings, celtic knotwork doublets, S&M gear, and Conan swords we came upon this pleasant domestic vignette (above L). I have been to few reenactments that looked this good, and only rarely viewed such a nice "moment" at any Ren Faire. Yeah, the "scholar"'s robes are cotton...but he's actually playing chess with a lady who looks like a LADY and not a gutter snipe. They get the gold star for a nice impression.
At the other end, literally, of the faire, was a "camp" of "gypsies". Belly dancing has been at Ren Faires since the 70s at least, for some inexplicable reason. It's right up there with Scotsmen in kilts and Meiji period Japanese impersonators, as far as I'm concerned. However, as a belly dancer myself, I enjoy watching a good show. Hahbi 'Ru, who perform at the big N Cal Faire every year, are alone worth the price of admission, IMO. Especially since they project a very folk/native/historical atmosphere. This gang was ok, but really seemed to give more of a 60s/70s nature child Grateful Dead kind of impression. There's nothing wrong with that, but what it's doing at a Ren Faire I really can't fathom. Still, they seemed to be having a good time. I was particularly impressed with the "fire dance".