On Saturday, I did something I never thought I’d do: I attended the Jane Austen Festival.
Why never? Obviously, I love Jane–this blog’s name is derived from Pride and Prejudice, after all. But I’m not into regency dress or fanfiction or Austen-derived drama, and that’s what the festival is about. Or so I thought.
But since I do love Austen, and the festival is in my town, it felt silly to pass it by (again–the event is in its 6th year). So on Saturday morning, my daughters and I drove over to Locust Grove to check it out.
I was shocked at the number of people in Regency dress, especially the number of young people.
We wandered the crowds, we strolled through the gardens, we visited the Shoppes of Meryton.
An advertisement for Bingley’s Teas, an exhibitor at the festival, which sold Austen-inspired blends. My favorite was Elizabeth Bennet’s: “a strong black tea with sassy, smart cranberry rounded with sweet flavoring and flowers of opinion.”
We watched a Pride and Prejudice inspired-drama:
Darcy and Bingley waiting to make their entrance
it’s not everyday you see an audience like this one
We watched a bare-knuckled boxing demo:
But mostly, we just took it all in. The people-watching was excellent.
This still could have come out of an Austen film adaptation. Well, minus the tote bag.
We didn’t get the full experience. We missed the Regency style show, the gentlemen’s duel, and the Regency promenade, in which the crowd was attempting to set a new world record for the most people in Regency dress in one place and time. (358 people turned out in Regency dress, which sadly fell short of the record of 409.)
I was most sad to miss the Regency Ball, because I would have loved an opportunity to gawk. Sadly, I found out about it this week and tickets sold out months ago. Maybe next year?
And maybe–just maybe–I’ll find myself an Empire-waisted dress by then. With a bonnet to match.
Have you ever fangirled it up at an event like this? Tell us about it in comments.