Eric Tetreault and Brian Harvard have heard all the jokes - and, no, they don't go to the office each day dressed as Ivanhoe and they don't greet each other by bellowing, "Forsooth!" or "Hail fellow well met!"
On the other hand, as co-owners of the annual Connecticut Renaissance Faire events, running their kingdom is definitely a full-time, year-round gig.
The Faire, with a new home in the lot at Norwich's Dodd Stadium, kicks off its 15th season Saturday and will be open weekends through Oct. 20, as well as Columbus Day, Oct. 14.
"We're really excited to be in Norwich," Tetreault says. "The city has been wonderful to us, and Dodd Stadium is a great facility and a really big site, which is very helpful because we're really expanding the faire."
Unless you perished in the Black Plague, you're probably familiar with the renaissance faire concept. Recreating a historical period - in the case of the Connecticut presentation, the era of Henry VIII - costumed actors and professional entertainers interact with customers and engage in all manners of frivolity, including dramatic and comic set pieces, jousting, magic, falconry and archery exhibitions, living history enactments, themed weekends, and indigenous music. Naturally, handicrafts, food and beverage are all part of the fun - and customers are encouraged to attend in costume.
Emphasizing the lighthearted approach, Tetreault explains, "We portray the years in Henry VIII's reign when he and Catherine (Parr) were happily married. He's not beheading any of his wives or Thomas More."
Harvard and Tetreault, both now 44, met in fourth grade and were still kids when Harvard's aunt took them to their first renaissance faire.
"Immediately, we loved it," Tetreault remembers. "We just went, 'Wow, this is crazy.' We walked through a gate and we were suddenly in another world."
Years later, both married with children and living in the Quiet Corner, the pals were reminiscing about that long ago faire when it occurred to them that Connecticut didn't such an event.
"It seemed like something that would be fun to do. A little research showed that there are renaissance faires all over American and Canada. It seemed like something that could work. So we just jumped in," Tetreault says.
The pair traveled to renaissance faires and similar events all over the country, learned about the marketing aspects and made all important contacts with vendors and renaissance acts who travel from event to event.
"There's a lot to learn that we basically hadn't thought about," Tetreault says. "For example, we had to learn about event layout; stuff like pedestrian traffic flow for the merchants as well as the customers, to make sure there's maximum exposure."
Harvard and Tetreault were successful from the start. The first event was in Putnam and they quickly learned two things.
"Immediately, we thought, 'Wow, this is actually popular," Tetreault says. "And we also said, 'We need a bigger place.' All these years later, with Dodd Stadium, I think we're home."
Connecticut Renaissance Faire, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 20, and Columbus Day, Oct. 14, Dodd Stadium, 14 Stott Ave., Norwich;
$17, $10 ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under; parking free; (860) 478-5954, ctfaire.com.