Wicked Faire, for those who don’t know, is a winter Renaissance Faire for adults (and older teens). It’s one part Ren fair, one part concert festival, and one part kink. Over the years, Wicked Faire has had some awesome themes like Wonderland, Halloween, fairy tales, and Wonka. The con has celebrated subcultures from goth to steampunk and everything in between. Wicked Faire is special. It’s the kind of place where anyone can be themselves. Sadly, this past weekend was the last Wicked Faire.
Daily Geekette has only been represented at Wicked Faire for the last two years. However, I have been to five, and some of our staff have attended more. Wicked Faire holds a special place in plenty of hearts, and some con regulars, including several Geekettes, have shared why this is and some favorite memories.
The panels at Wicked Faire have always been interesting. Ranging from humorous to educational, WF has something for everyone. Geekettes Julia and Carly O’Connell, along with a few other William & Mary alumni, teach ballroom dance as Whisky Tango Foxtrot, which is always a blast! Mark Donnelly teaches everything from lectures on Victorian inventions to how to fight like Sherlock Holmes. And of course, there’s always gaming as well. Always.
No article on Wicked Faire is complete without at least a paragraph on the music. For me, it was the different bands that drew me in and kept me. Matt DeBlass and Luna Skye are two performers I stalked enough that we’re now friends (that’s a joke). Bands like Frenchy and the Punk, This Way to the Egress, Platform One, and Ego Likeness all have their own followings, and for good reason! This diverse collection of performers draw in everyone. And, of course, no WF would be complete without Voltaire. There are people who come every year just to see Voltaire sing on the Saturday night of the con.
Among many memories shared, relationships were at the core. Wicked Faire saw hundreds of friendships made and strengthened. At one of my first WF’s, I was dressed as Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd. I ran into another Mrs. Lovett, and six years later, she’s one of the people I cannot wait to see every year. One woman I spoke to didn’t refer to the people she met at WF as friends, but as an extended family. WF formed other types of relationships as well. When asked what their fondest WF memories are, several friends wrote to me about kisses they’d shared. Other friends responded with, “a gentleman never tells.” WF was not without its drama, but I think most will look back fondly.
This year felt a bit lackluster to everyone I spoke with. Many events people attend annually were all at the same time as each other. For me, the biggest disappointment was that Frenchy and the Punk were on at the same time as This Way to the Egress on Friday, and Matt DeBlass was on at the same time as The Wandering Cellist on Sunday. The two on Friday and the two on Sunday appeal to the same crowd, so overlapping gave both smaller audiences. While I’m on the topic, The Wandering Cellist’s set on Sunday was phenomenal. None of the panels looked particularly interesting to me, and I only spoke to a handful of people who attended panels at all. The schedule wasn’t very helpful even if people had wanted to attend panels. It was really unprofessionally put together.
All of the performers I saw this weekend were on point. From The Liars to The White Elephant Burlesque Society, everyone was bringing out their A game. Bands and performers thanked con-goers for their years of loyalty. Fan favorite songs were performed everywhere. Voltaire had an outstanding turnout.
I was really surprised that although the weekend pretty much sold out pass-wise, most events were not full. Maybe it’s because this hotel is much larger than the Double Tree of previous years, but this Wicked Faire never felt full. I remember years where hallways were so crowded, looking at them was anxiety-inducing. Costumes were also not impressive this year, with a few exceptions, such as a koi fish dress and Renaissance Deadpool.
Wicked Faire is a safe, accepting place for those of us who don’t fit in. I am not sure what’s next for Jeff Mach Events, but I definitely don’t think it will be as special as WF has been. I will miss the Wicked Faire that was, and hope that what does come next becomes a home away from home for the next generation of Ren Faire-loving, sexually accepting, cosplaying, hula hooping nerds.