Yup, we decided to look at a beautiful celebration of nerdiness and went to the Elfia Fantasy Fair! For those who don’t know, Elfia was known as the Elf Fantasy Fair up until 2013 and has been around for about 15 years now. This yearly event is generally held at de Haar castle in Haarzuilens, Utrecht, though it has seen different venues over the years.
The whole festival is a wonderful celebration of anything fantasy-related where you can meet other people, attend lectures and take part in dozens of fun events and games. This year Elfia’s theme was Game of Thrones and, which was very lucky for us as we managed to get free press tickets since Chris is currently working as an HBO intern. Thank you, HBO!
This will probably be a fairly picture heavy article, as there were a lot of people in really great costumes. We thought Comiccon was cosplay heaven, but this might have it beat.
Let’s talk about the basics de Haar castle is obviously a great location for an event like this. You already have a great setting and a massive terrain to work with and the whole thing is very pretty even when you’re not looking at all the stands and cosplayers.
The program we got was also quite handy and easy to use, as was the map on the back, but even on after 10 laps of the fair we still spent most of our time lost and confused. There were multiple spots on the map all named things like ‘Fantasy road’ or ‘Steampunk corner’, but it might have helped if they had put up signs to tell you where you were. It seems like it would be clear enough, but everything has a bit of a medieval or early industrial feel to it and that ensure that a lot of it looks very similar.
There was more than enough to see and do, too. The events and games were all very fun, though seemingly not always very well-arranged. We’d arrive at the listed location of an event at the right time and there would be nothing going on there. We weren’t the only ones either, we heard quite a few people having the same confused conversations we were.
The food is also very nice and there’s plenty of nice stalls to get some old-timey lunch. Apparently some people come to this event mainly for the food and, while that seems like a pricey day, we can certainly understand why.
One piece of advice, though, you may want to bring a bottle of water. There were actually more alcoholic drinks available than non-alcoholic ones.
Still, the vendors had taken to the GoT theme rather well and were selling fun things like Arbor gold, which was quite nice and Wildfire. We were a little disappointed that the Wildfire was basically just warm mead and, most importantly, not green. Selling the kind of liquor that actually burns going down probably would have required a different license, though.
Of course there’s also stalls all over the place, selling everything from clothing to replica swords and just general toys and gadgets. Things like the swords are pretty expensive and there was only one ATM, so that is the kind of purchase you have to consider carefully. Even if you are dead set on getting one, it might be a good idea to check out a few different vendors first. There were clear differences in the quality of the blades and very little difference in the prices. Anyone can put a bit of sheet metal onto a hilt. You want to find the guy who actually took the time to make it look good as well.
Elfia also tends to get authors and experts on certain aspects of fantasy to sign things and give lectures. This time they’d even gotten Josef Altin who played Pypar in Game of Thrones to come sign things and tell us about his experience on the show.
We considered using the press tickets to score an interview, but most of the authors were totally unknown to us and Josef…Well…We just didn’t have much to ask him since he played a minor character who’s already dead.
We arrived fairly early and stayed for most of the day, so when we left we were exhausted but we’d had loads of fun. A day at Elfia isn’t very cheap, but it’s well worth it.
Did any of you happen to go to Elfia? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below! If you want to see more pictures we took there, swing by our Facebook page!
Don’t forget to follow the Fanbot, so you’ll be the first to know when we upload new content! If you want more from the Fanbot, be sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube pages!