There is something to be said about smaller faires.
2003 saw an addition to the places we've visited in our travels to other shires. The Pittsburgh Renaissance Faire is a very small faire, but with the lack of space comes certain benefits inherent to its size. The performers take great delight in socializing with patrons, especially those who are visiting their faire for the first time. The boothies were neither pushy nor lacking in salesmanship and they were all very knowledgeable about their wares, something I've seen far too infrequently at larger faires. Many were even willing to bargain (I got a terrific deal on a new pendant at Versailles Jewelry)! The wonderful people at Pittsburgh seem to be doing the show more as a hobby than for monetary gain. More than one person who worked the show remarked that everyone had so much fun and that was why they came back every year.
Half of the faire is set along a wide field while the other half curves gracefully through a forest on heavily wooded paths. A small garden area called the "Faerie's Garden" provides a peaceful place to sit and take in the soft sounds around you. I half expected to see the tiny sprites circling overhead because of the serenity of the area. The only thing that was lacking in my eyes was that many of the booths had a "rush to get them up and we'll worry about finishing later" feel. This, I personally think, will take care of itself as time progresses and the booths are redone and built up. Permanent structures add a feel of…permanence to any site. Because it's a relatively new site (6 years) for the faire, I expected it to have the feel of a new faire. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how much they had done in that short a period of time. The booths that are built up, of which there are many, are extremely well done.
If you prefer the hustle and bustle of the faire crowds, stay away from this faire. If you're expecting to see twenty booths offering pretty much the same thing, ditto. If you're a period- and/or garb-nazi, avoid it. If you just want to talk a moment and breathe in the natural settings, talk one-on-one with boothies and cast-members alike, or relax and peruse a faire where everyone is treated as a friend, then by all means, step inside the gates and trust in that you won't be disappointed.
A grand huzzah goes out to all of the cast members, boothies and barmaids at Pittsburgh for a job extremely well done. I'm sure we'll see you all next year when we visit your beautiful shire.