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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Renaissance fair and the Gutenberg Press

Ren Fest 2004

Well this was the first time that I went to the Ren Fest. I have heard how much fun it was, so I was looking forward to it.

It took about three hours to get there from Nac. It was a clear sunny day, not hot but not cold either.

So I walked around and saw a few shows. At the end, the performers asked for donations. Donations? Didn’t I pay 18 bucks to get in? Don’t they pay the performers with this money? I guess not.

So I realized it was not so much a Ren Fair, but rather a Ferengi Fair. Everywhere, people were hocking items! Food, clothes, wood swords, all at a high prices. I soon realized that I paid 18 bucks to walk around a flea market.

I did get to see a lot folks dressed up in various costumes. Some in Renaissance garb, but most in other garb. Dragons, Strom Toopers, Fairies, Barbarians etc. So instead of a Renaissance Fair, it was more like a Halloween for grown ups. A Fantasy Fair if you will, not a Renaissance fair.

I took my guitar and recorder (not the electric tape recorder but the flute) hoping that I would find musicians to jam with. I didn’t, so I played myself. I walked around playing Renaissance dance music on both the recorder and guitar. I had a few folks tell me that I should get some Renaissance garb and I could make some money.

At the end of the day, I was ready to go, but then I saw a replica of a Gutenberg Press. That’s right, a Gutenberg Press! First made in 1436, Gutenberg invented movable type in Europe. It changed the world! This is the most important event in the last thousand years. Without the movable type press, books would still be handwritten my Monks.
It took Gutenberg about two and half years to print the famous Gutenberg Bible. He made either 158 or 180 copies depending if count the some of the incomplete Bibles.

Before Gutenberg’s press, books were chained down. Within hundred years, books were cheap enough that anyone could have a book. It reminds me of computers. For years they were changed down, now they are so cheap, that anyone can get one.

The workers at Ren Fair were so amazed that I was so stoked about seeing a Gutenberg press, they invited me to put on the garb and print a sheet of page on the press. Man, what an honor!!!!

This made my day and the Ren Fair!!!!

Here is a link if you want to learn more about Gutenberg:

Me printing on the Gutenberg Press.

Me playing when everyone had left the Ren Fair.

Me at the Ren Fair. You can see my guitar and recorder

Some of my students would like to see me in stocks after most test I give.

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