The Renaissance Fair. That glorious conglomeration of old world charm, antique costumes, and antiquated speech patterns intermingled with modern day cameras, clothing styles, and people made yet another year of fantastic moments and memories for our crazy little family.
This year’s trip was met with great anticipation. The day of the fair arrived and we dove into this crazy, brilliant, and chaotic world with zeal, and it did not disappoint. All the classic characters were there: the town crier, the cardinal in scarlet robes awaiting your confession, the jester, the roaming gypsies with their brightly hued musical coin skirts dancing, and a myriad of mythical creatures adorned in glitter greeted us as we meandered through the dusty streets and perused the shops housed in castles and taverns.
We had only made our way through the gates a few steps when we chanced an encounter with a pair of highly skilled hammered dulcimer players setting up shop on a small stage. We had met them the year before and sat down to enjoy another rendition of their beautiful melodies. This year, along with their enchanting tunes, they supplied the children with a small wooden puppet who danced a jig to the beat while the children giggled from their seats. Their years of practice together were evident as they expertly executed their individual parts with skilled timing. They were wonderful, and it was the perfect beginning to our day.
After the small concert we made our way through the crowds toward the food. If there is one thing about my family you should know it is that we all love food. My love of food comes in a close second to my love for people watching (no storm troopers this year, dang it). That’s probably why I adore the renaissance fair. It is the best of both worlds.
The food at the fair so darn delicious. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere, the constant aromas wafting through the streets, or the vast displays of people thoroughly enjoying their goodies that provokes us to dash to the nearest establishment and dig in. Whatever the reason, that’s exactly what we did.
Turkey legs as big as your arm, giant crisp pickles, gooey caramel apples, home made nut bars with a creamy center, frozen lemonade, bread bowls brimming with creamy broccoli and cheddar soup, the list goes on and on my dear friends. Needless to say, we were a group of well/overly fed people by the day’s end. We basically rolled out the castle doors when the time to go home arrived.
After our first batch of goodies (trust me when I say we ate the ENTIRE time) we heard the call for the beginning of a fire whip show. Did we want to witness someone crack ridiculously long whips that were set on fire? Absolutley yes we did!
The show itself was brilliant. Our resident whip master was funny, engaging, and quite impressive with his ability to manipulate his whips into a frenzy of cracks that whirled about his head at dizzying rates. He cracked soda bottles in half, cracked rhythms to songs (ok one song, but still impressive), whipped a small cap off the top of his own head, and popped a balloon between a volunteers legs (which was met with bouts of laughter from the crowd as our whip master teased the poor enlisted man about a free vasectomy). The finale of his show had us all wide eyed as he doused a whip in lighter fluid, lit it on fire, and began thrashing the whip around causing intense orange flames to shoot off the whip each time a crack sounded. This was my favorite performance of the day, hands down.
After a quick snack (caramel apples this time) a face painting station caught my eye. I hustled the girls over to the little booth and had them choose a pattern. We waited in line for 15 minutes or so until it was our turn. The artist was quick and skilled and in minutes the girls were covered in bright paint and glitter. They looked adorable and loved their new accessories.
As we stepped down from the face painting platform Joe (my husband) emerged with our son who was now donning a brand new wooden sword and bright red tunic with a golden lion emblem emblazoned on the front. Ethan stood in the middle of the a shaded area, unsheathed his sword from his belt, held it high, and stood 10 feet tall beaming with pride as we all exclaimed our joy over his new outfit. He was the happiest little boy at the entire fair! His confidence and joy only grew as renaissance patrons addressed him as “young sir knight” whenever he crossed their paths. Honestly, it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
Not to be left out of the festivities myself, I made my way over to the Henna Tattoo tent. The last few times we’ve come I missed getting a design and was determined to get one this year. I perused the design book, chose my favorite and waited for an artist to free up. When my name was called I met with my artist, showed her my design pick, then gave her free reign to embellish however she’d like. I loved the end result. Beautiful swirls, cascading dots, and an elegant flower adorned my hand, fingers, and wrist for about a week. I only wish it had lasted longer, but that’s my fault for putting a beautiful temporary piece on a place that is constantly in water and soap. If you’ve never gotten a henna tattoo, I completely recommend you try one.
We wandered the dusty streets of the renaissance fair perusing the local wares, admiring jewelry and hand crafted mugs, musing about the uses the “fairy dust”, applaud a few intricate costumes, and simply savored our time together. The children thoroughly enjoyed the chance to go on a few rides (all are mechanized with man power), eat more treats (of course), and openly play. The end of the day was nearing. A few last rides, a quick to stop to purchase my daughters a coin skirt like mine, and one last treat had us tuckered out. By the way, if you ever want to witness the most adorable thing ever simply wrap a brightly colored coin skirt around a 5 and 3 year old and watch them wiggle their hips in an attempt to make their skirts jingle. You will be met with cascades of giggles and little faces beaming with amusement. Exhausted but thoroughly entertained we exited our time portal to the past and trudged our way to our mini van with arms full of renaissance wares, ready for a bath and a warm bed.