Monday, August 31, 2009
Last Sunday Brad and I went to the Renaissance Festival for the first time, in what we think is over twelve years. We used to go on a regular basis throughout college, but after moving away our visits home rarely seemed to coincide with it. This particular festival is a pretty big operation, it's not like the kind that get put up and down, with transient carnival rides. It's got a permanent location with wood buildings that house the shops and food stands. There are parts with cobblestones and paved walkways, and even a few fountains. It was quite a different visit with our three year old along, less shopping for mama that's for sure. Don't think Brad was too sad about that! Not that I need any more souvenirs, I actually have a very pretty mirror etched with a lily, a necklace with a tiny grain of rice with Brad ♥'s Katie 4ever written on it in a little vial, and a metal rose that Brad bought for me on previous trips there. Grandma Norma and Ray also joined us; it was nice group to have along and handy to have extra eyes to keep a watch on ER as it was very crowded. There is a lot to see, even beyond the fun to be had people watching, and do. A good portion of the attendees dress up in full on head to toe medieval era garb and there are usually a few pirates, swordsman, knights, and of all things belly dancers/gypsies to be seen too. Our weekend was also the highland games, so lots of kilts were on show as well. I enjoy seeing the very elaborate costumes, often worn by reinactors working the fair ground as cast members. ER was thrilled to get her picture with this well done up noble lady above. The cast members do all sorts of things from playing a flute on a bridge, to taking you to jail, walking around using renaissance era verbige, and add real bit of flare to the whole thing. There are also plenty of opportunities for more organized entertainment of all types, ER is too young for most of the games like archery but she really liked a lot of the little street acts put on. We sat and watched a band playing Celtic and gypsy inspired music. ER was very interested in the singer's belly dance inspired moves and twirls and kept telling me about the bells she played on her fingers. We also saw some highland dancers but the biggest one we watched was the joust. Here is our noble knight, who just happened to win and become Queen Elizabeth's champion. He is quite a personality, giving the three other knights some good natured ribbing and cracking jokes the whole time. He and the other knights each ride rescue horses and all must work hard to train their mounts. They were so calm and didn't startle, even with all the cheering and booing going on. The show was very fun and watching all that riding made ER want to...Ride herself, because after all what kind of family outing would it be without a pony ride? We ate after walking about some more, but not even the allure of a big juicy turkey drumstick could make Brad wait in the extremely long line for it. Once again, I wasn't brave enough to get a scotch egg, mainly because I'm not exactly sure what's in it. Rumor has it that it's a egg wrapped in bacon and surrounded by bread. I had soup in a breadbowl and Brad had sausage, so boring I know! They do have a nice wooden play structure for kids to run around on and several fun looking rides. Most seem to involve swinging, and we tried putting ER on one fanciful looking that's right by the entrance. It looked pretty tame, when we were watching it. ER was all excited, but only lasted the first few swings. Once it got going she wanted off, NOW. After we ate, Queen Elizabeth came along with her court to the children's area. ER officially became a Dame; we even have a paper to prove it! So now I guess she'll really be putting airs!Right before we left we finally found the stand selling flower garlands. ER headed right for the blue one, because right now everything has to be just like Cinderella. She looked so cute walking around with all the long ribbons trailing after her. Thank you to Grandma Norma, for making sure ER was the belle of the fair! She loves the garland and the sparkily blue ladybug face painting you treated her too.