Ron Patterson, the man jointly responsible for creating the first Renaissance Fair(e), died a few weeks ago. From a small backyard event, the idea grew into a multi-billion dollar industry, demonstrating the appeal of tights, doublets, ruffs, chain mail, and jousting for millions of Americans.
Haven't been to a Renaissance Fair? Then you're probably in the minority--there are hundreds of them held throughout the country every year. A pal of mine, Ethan Gilsdorf, wrote an excellent book about neo-medievalism (LARPing, Ren Faires, the CSA, MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, and the Tolkien films) that makes the point that these activities are the mainstream. My guess is that Renaissance Fairs are one of the most easily accessible of this kind of entertainment/hobby for most people, as they're ubiquitous, fun, and family-friendly (I insisted that my mother take me to the Maryland Renaissance Festival when I was a teenager).
Can't get to a Ren Faire anytime soon? You could always go to Medieval Times, although that could easily go awry:
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