Tina Maruffi Reid may not limp on a peg leg, wear a black eyepatch or sport a parrot on her shoulder, but she’s no less a pirate than Cap’n Hook or Long John Silver.

In fact, Reid’s been at the piracy game longer than most, terrorizing the high seas for the past six years. Well, the high seas in the tiny village of Harveysburg, anyhow.

The 28-year-old is a veteran of the Ohio Renaissance Festival, one of a contingent of buccaneers that wanders the festival grounds and participates in the daily mast-and-schooner craziness billed as the Pirate Comedy Stunt Show.

If you haven’t seen the attraction — the showpiece of the annual fest, now in its 20th year — it takes place aboard a 65-foot-long galleon that event organizers bill as an authentic replica of a ship that would have sailed in the 16th century. Pirates swing from the riggings, tumble from the crow’s nest, engage in swordplay and outrageous verbal warfare, and generally make nautical nuisances of themselves. Shiver me timbers — duck, before you become cannon fodder!

So how did a native West Sider — Reid lived 26 of her 28 years in Western Hills before moving north — wind up in such a state of insanity, plundering her way through the cornfields of Clinton County?

“I started working here in 2003,” the pirate lass recalls. “I had gone to the Renaissance Festival for several years with my family and whenever I saw the stunt show, I thought it was the most amazing thing.”

In addition to her galleon antics, Reid also participates in the Human Combat Chess Match. “It’s a giant chess board (with cast members as the pawns), and when someone takes a piece, then I fight.”

But Reid is quick to point out that all of this dueling and daring swordplay is carefully staged. “We have certified fight directors come in. They’re experts (from the Society of American Fight Directors) who also train a lot of actors for movie work and theater.” So don’t try this at home, people.

A passionate equestrian who is also a nursing student at Southern State
College, Reid always tries to make time for the two-month fest (which is held on weekends each autumn). “The cast is a really close-knit group of people. I really love doing this.”

But Reid concedes that she did have to take last year off to plan her wedding, which as it happens was all in the faire family. She ended up marrying Wayland Reid, another festival cast member — a medieval sheriff — whom she met her second year on the job. Call it a mixed marriage: villain and victor.

So do people living in this century ever recognize Reid on her off days? “Every once in a while, at Kenwood Mall or somewhere,” she bashfully acknowledges.

For those who haven’t been, RenFest offers both youngsters and the young-at-heart a trip back to a time that was nowhere near as cheerful as it’s portrayed today in Harveysburg. The 30-acre complex, a permanently located re-creation of an English medieval town, comes complete with roving storytellers, magicians, singers, fire-eaters, jugglers and even Queen Elizabeth I. Look for daring displays of dueling knights adorned in full armor, jousting atop their trusty steeds. Among the 100 shows each day: “The Mudde Show: Theatre in the Ground,” “The Swordsmen” (comedy with a point) and “Knights of Valour.”

So grab your cutlass, haul up the Jolly Roger and head for a peek at Reid at RenFest. Or you might find yourself destined for Davy Jones’ locker.
 

Ahoy, matie!