An interest in the middle ages/ community?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Firethorn, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    I have a strong affection for the renaissance times. We both have thought of what it would be like to set up a homesteading community that focused of crafts for the festivals. Maybe even set aside land to have a festival that we ran. Renting to vendors, selling our crafts, our food, hosting weddings, and other functions. It would be a wonderful way to live fairly remote but bring money to the community. Even have an RV site. One of the members could run their own BB. WE would dress in period, during events. We could use this to market the "natural life" products as well for internet sales of different products.
    Well what do you Pro community types think?
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    LOL! I'm in the SCA here (Anglo-Saxon era), and have thought about this several times! I would love to build an authentic Anglo-Saxon farmstead!

    Kathleen
     

  3. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    Only if I get to push the "bring out your dead " cart..
     
  4. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    LOL.
    This is something like the third thread since we were all talking about making a community.

    Where's Boleyz when you need him? :p

    But seriously folks.....
    Something like that would take a while to get launched - being a homesteading community, how would people be motivated to come there for that? You would have to be located near a high-traffic area or something like that, where people would have access.
    And being an annual event, that's only a one-time-a-year thing....

    Seems like if you're wanting money and to have fun, it would be better to travel to the existing Renaissance festivals and peddle your wares and bring the money back....then there is that tiny problem of setting up a community first.

    We're still working on that. :hobbyhors
     
  5. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    Why only a yearly event??
    Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts is a wonderful place and people flock to it year round (or they did when I was a child)..and that is for people interested in Colonial America..

    What's wrong with having a Middle Ages year-round community open to tourists?
    Finally someone has come up with something that has caught my attention..
    I think it's a fantastic idea..
    English thatch-roofed cottage with a little garden..a few goats and chickens..my spinning wheel next to the fire..oh yes I can really get into THIS idea.. :)
    where's that old pipe of mine???
     
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    :)

    The biggest problem I see is that I would get tired of living full-time in public view. I think it would have to be just a couple of days a week, perhaps. But I know there is a market for this type of thing -- just look at how many people are in the SCA? Attend Renfairs? Visit living history museums?

    Kathleen
     
  7. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    I'd not get tired of it at all..love tourists, love history..
     
  8. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Ditto as long as I had large private area behind the hut to escape to when the tourists got to thick. problem is this community is being planned for Montana or thereabouts.
     
  9. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    Mystic Seaport has been around for a very long time and it is pretty much that same idea. I was there as a kid. Have been past it many times since and it is horrendous to get thru that area on the weekends. Very well attended.
     
  10. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    jnap, are you staying up late again? :)

    Kathleen
     
  11. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    Well, to lay out my thought of the whole thing......

    There is a festival here that runs 4 weeks out of the year. It has the biggest turnout of the whole country (according to renaissance mag). I have spoken with many of the "carnies" and some travel others work all year just for this event and what they earn there is what they live on.
    I think it should be a seasonal thing. I want my life to be mine the rest of the time. It would take a ton of behind the scenes people to keep things going if it were an all year thing.
    And yes Jp it would be in the north. At least for us. Which is one more reason for it to be seasonal.
    AS for where........ People flock to these events! The one here is an hour out and the gas prices are not deterring them from making the drive. It is a passion for many. They sell lots of season passes. The crofters rent their shops and they are the ones that built them in most cases. The guy who owns the land holds the rights to all the shops on his land. In the off season they hold weddings and other events. This is a smaller staff that runs these events. Because of the castle built there they have a haunted house the three weeks surrounding halloween.
    My point is that it can be established out of main stream a bit, just need good access. It can earn a modest income most of the year and still have the event be only a few weeks a year. Those who are inclined to travel the circuit can do so knowing someone will be home to tend their stead. ( community) And their payoff would be that the ones traveling will also be selling their crafted goods for them.
    Then of course you have the internet. People who are at the fairs buy something. Someone sees that item wants one, they can call up and place the order. Word of mouth. Or the ones who don't have the money at the fair can make the purchase later. WE could hold summer craft classes. Another way to make money.
    The RV site can be working all year round.
    And yes of course this all takes time. I have no delusions about that. As I have said before, our eta is two years. And it all takes money, and work, and research.
    The only real problem I can see is, who gets to live in the castle? :rolleyes:
    (before someone gets crazy, I was just kidding. We all know that the castle is just for show. :D )
     
  12. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    check out Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, TX
     
  13. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I have no dought it will be successfull if a few motivated people put their minds and work together but as I said I am only willing to relocate to a few states/area's that are realitively warm and with no zoning such as parts of AR, MO, OK, TN, AL so I guess we will not be a part of it. I have never visited a place like you propose I guess the closest thing to it would have been the mountain man rondevous I participated in as part of the royal ranger program in the assembly of God church.
     
  14. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that is the one I was referring to.

    The gate price is showing to be $14 but I am almost positive that it has changed to $16 or 18 now. In 1997 their attendance was over 175,000. They have 175 booths that are filled every year.
    There is one in Montana that is put on by the local university and in 1997 it was $4, 40 booths only 2 days long and had 2,000 in attendance. Idaho has one that runs weekends from the end of June to the beginning of Sept. and has an admission price of $18-$26 and 32,000 in attendance. ( it is a Shakespeare festival)
     
  15. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    http://www.shrewfaire.com/

    This is our local renaissance festival. It is just a yearly thing, I haven't gone for a few years and I think they moved from the fairgrounds where they use to be. I'll be going this fall though.

    I think it's a good idea personally. I would love to travel to someplace to see period type stuff and I know a lot of people would go. Not just once a year but you could always just be open even just once a week or just seasonally, ect. There are lots of ways I would think to work it so that you don't have to have the public there all the time. Don't forget all the homeschoolers that would really love it (we homeschool). It gives a source of income to your community which is of course important.

    Every year we go to http://www.oregoncountryfair.org/ and they are huge. This is also just a once a year fair. They own all their own land (200 and some acres I think) and nobody lives out there year round but they have an operating budget of I think around 1 million dollars. Of course they've been doing it for 37 years so they are very well established. It's big hippie fest by the way.
     
  16. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    This sounds like a very cool idea to me. I too was a big fan of Sturbridge Village as a child. Had my first experiences there carding, spinning and weaving, and it stuck with me for life. I have often envisioned this type of thing. There are a large number of complications that would have to be worked out, for instance:

    The land would have to be commonly owned or restricted so no one could simply sell their part to a developer. There would have to be some sort of board responsible for recruiting inhabitants, to check for appropriate skills and interests, and to screen for disqualifying traits. If somebody got tired of the deal, they would have to have a way to leave without losing everything they've worked for, otherwise, you'd get surly, resentful people inhabiting the place, which would be very bad for business. People with the necessary skills and interests tend to be an independent lot, and getting them to agree to do this as a lifestyle, with the necessary set schedules and other strong commitments, would be a bit of a challenge.

    This is just scratching the surface. It would be neat if someone could get inside information on how this has been done in other areas. Or if it has never been done, details on the closest thing to it would be very helpful. I think if you would work out the internal politics and economics, it could be a very fun and lucrative enterprise.
     
  17. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I just got a copy of the book that someone recommended, Creating a Life Together . Has anyone else gotten a copy yet? Mine just came, and I've barely started reading it, but I suspect it would be helpful in answering a lot of the questions raised above.

    Kathleen
     
  18. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    How much was the book? I was planning on reading it from the library when i get home.
     
  19. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    "Only if I get to push the "bring out your dead " cart.. "

    bostonlesley;
    What happens when they make you jump on....whether you're ready or not! Any Python fans out there?

    "The biggest problem I see is that I would get tired of living full-time in public view"
    So make the part the public has access to a Ptempken Village...with another private homestead for the residents. Y'll could switch out every few days. Most homesteaders look alike to the unitiated anyway.

    It sounds like fun to me....but I couldn't live there....I need to be solataire a lot.
     
  20. Bitsy-Bet

    Bitsy-Bet Well-Known Member

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    I use to belong to a Homesteaders group but the folks that hosted it decided to turn it into a renaissance times group instead which ended the homesteader group. They started out with craft sales that had to be of all natural fibers or non modern machine made products. After renting the hall, they used their profits to fund a festival.

    http://www.renaissancemagazine.com/fairelist.html

    The joined up with a college group and have made it into a weekend event.