July 16, 2023


As you might have realized by now, we are fond of Renfests. We’ve talked in the past about some memorable visits to the Renfest in Robert, LA. (LARF!)

When we first moved to Northern Virginia we attended the Renfest in Crownsville, MD. We actually went twice. Let’s just suffice it to say it was not our thing. Whole ‘lotta reasons.

A couple of years later, we discovered the Virginia Renfest (VARF) in the booming metropolis of Spotsylvania, VA. We had a nice time at the fest in 2009, and then truth be told it slipped off our radar….

Fast forward to 2023, the year of the great retirement, and I was looking through the photo archives and came across the shots from our visit in 2009. H’mmm, I thought, is VARF still a thing? Doing a quick check on the innerwebs, it is, and lo and behold it was ongoing at that very time. Woo hoo!

Melanie decided she didn’t want to come, so I loaded up Scarlett with a backpack and after some soul searching, grabbed the X-Pro2 with the legendary XF35mm f1.4. If I’m honest, the X-Pro2 had become something of a read headed stepchild of late. Typically when I grabbed a camera, it was the X100f or the X-T2 with the newly acquired XF16-80 zoom. It was a conscious effort to grab the X-Pro2, and I’m glad I did. The images were amazing.

Getting on the road, I arrived at the venue around 10:30. Parking was easy, I paid my admission fee and entered the facility. Unlike the LARF, this is not a permanent facility, so it’s not quite as impressive, but the organizers do a good job with the layout and the presentation.

Entering the facility, I checked the camera settings and decided to shoot aperture priority. This lens gives amazing bokeh at large openings and it just seemed sacrilegious to shoot “program” like I normally do.

It’s the first time, in a long time, that I’ve done this, and to be fair, it was a bit of a challenge getting my head around this. The main takeaway is, I need to use this camera and lens more frequently to “become one” with it.

Anyway, enough yammering and on to the photos. This will be the standard drill, a couple of really nice shots here, with the remainder posted in their glory here. One thing that is painfully obvious when viewing the imagery is I need to work with focusing on this camera. Many of the large aperture shots are not in focus.

This venue was near the entrance and I stopped to listen for a few moments. She was very quiet and a bit difficult to hear, and many of the songs were old English folksongs with many words not commonly used today. Combine this with my 65+ year old concert damaged ears, and I got little out her music….

Continuing on I decided to do a complete circumnavigation of the facility and then come back later for more detail. Next on my tour was weaving tent, as I’m certain you can see.

The bakers tent. Unfortunately nothing was in the oven. Honestly don’t know if it is actually used at the fest. It certainly wasn’t during my visit.

The armory exhibit. This gentlemen gave a detailed expose on armory of the time, it use, and usefulness.

These folks were just hangin’ around and I grabbed a shot…

One of the entertainers. He made a comment that he has been doing this for some 25 years. He did say that he has a nice big RV to travel (and sleep) in which was in stark contrast to the tents used by the other entertainers for the fest. Doing some research, many of the acts we saw at the LARF are still active. Definitely an alternative lifestyle.

This was the archery field, although no one was shooting as I walked by. More to come later.

I love this shot. So much personality in that face.

The Queen’s court had taken up residence and I grabbed a few shots of her and her entourage.

These entertainers were quite good, and very energetic. I listened to them for virtually the entire set.

Some of the blacksmith’s wares.

Just one of the crowd

This woman was standing there looking rather forlorn. Obviously would rather be somewhere else.

A parade was making the rounds of the facility. One of the Princesses.

A Knight and his consort.

Another Knight and Consort.

Well, not quite sure how this fits in, but I’ll give him credit for creativity.

And back to the archery exhibit.

This woman presented an extensive discussion on archery of the time, and most specifically arrows and how they evolved. She was extremely knowledgeable and provided samples of many of the items to the crowd for handling. Looking back from the pictures from 2009, she is there, albeit some 14 years younger and with smaller gauges. Interesting lifestyle.

That’s all for today.

Next time, we’ll take a ride on the Allegheny Special!

Don’t miss it.