Renaissance fairs exist in many states, bringing a taste of the 16th century to the locals with shows, games, rides, food and overall atmosphere. Many fair jobs require you to dress up in period costumes and speak in Elizabethan English, which is part of their appeal. It is mostly seasonal work, and you should apply for jobs through each state's website or local job fair.
Not everyone working at a Renaissance fair is there to put on a show. Many enjoy the atmosphere and weekend work, but not all want to dress up. Some behind-the-scenes positions such as cooks and sanitation workers wear regular clothes and don't have much, if any, interaction with fair guests. Safety and parking service workers typically wear festival shirts, but not period gear, making them easy for patrons to recognize. Food and beverage servers dress in period costumes and play their parts as 16th-century servers.
Some of the most visible Renaissance festival jobs are the ones that entertain the fair guests. Some workers put on shows, such as juggling, eating fire, gymnastics, magic or playing instruments. Others roam the grounds and interact with patrons, flirting with them or working to enhance the patrons' festival experience. These positions sometimes require elaborate costumes and the ability to be witty and friendly.
Renaissance festivals usually include vendor space. Vendors sell crafts, perform tarot card readings or run games, and they don't receive money from the fair in most cases. The fair charges them for booth space, and they keep the money earned from their sales. Because the fairs are open only on weekends, it's a way for artisans to make extra money outside of regular work hours.
Renaissance fairs typically run for several weekends in a row during the spring and summer months, so they don't provide full-time work options. However, being open only on weekends allows you to work a weekday job and enjoy weekends working at the festival. The jobs typically don't pay very well; some don't pay at all, but they give budding actors experience and a new social experience. Service personnel usually make a low hourly wage, but entertainers and servers might work strictly for tips, depending on the fair's policies. Many fairs offer nearby campgrounds so out-of-town employees have a place to stay during the week while waiting on the next weekend of work. Some people like to apply with several Renaissance fairs and travel from one to the next throughout the festival season.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.