Sunday, November 06, 2005

Let's do the time warp again...

Reader of this blog may have noticed two reoccurring themes to my adventures: poking things with sticks and eating. Well, this weekend we combined these two favorite pasttimes with a grand adventure back to the 16th century.

Ah, the 1500's. The Dark Ages had ended, swords could still be worn in public, the idea of "bathing" was just catching on, and being smart no longer resulted in a bonfire death at the hands of superstitous peasants. Better yet, all the food of that period was offered on sticks! Ah, the hedonistic, 16th century pleasures of poking and eating. It just doesn't get any better than that. Chicken on a stick! Corn on a stick! Pickles on a pole! Pineapples on a pike! Bratwurst on a branch! Ice cream on a bar! Steak on a stake!

At least, that's how the 16th century is portrayed at The Texas Renaissance Festival. This is one of my most favorite things to do every year. I've been a Faire-goer for twenty years now, starting back with the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

We drove up to the Faire campgrounds on Friday night and set up the tent in the dark. The night was cool and the moon set early to reveal a sky filled with undiminished stars. It was a bit of a struggle to get Miniwether to sleep as she loves tents and was really excited. She eventually fell asleep, followed quickly by Misseswether. Unfortunately I did not follow them into that peaceful good-night. The family-friendly camping area is rather near a very busy set of train tracks and just when I'd start to drift off a train whistle peirced my head. Oh well.

Morning came foggy and smelling of bacon, campfires, and pine. An excellent way to start a day! We packed up the tent, got dressed (which, in retrospect, perhaps these two things should have been done in the opposite order), and munched on fruit and muffins. Five minutes later we were standing by the front gate waiting for it to open.

Oh what a beautiful place! Ribbons! Musicians! Dancing! Statues! Swords! Chainmail bikinis! A whole fantasy world tucked just one hour and five hundred years away from Houston. We wandered the shops, listened to the musicians, watched the performers and the joust, oogled the costumes, admired the shiney-pointy things, and generally had the usual wonderful time. This was Miniwether's third Ren Fest and she was all over it. From flirting with Spanish knights to riding the elephant, she wanted to do everything, see everything, and taste everything (which caused some problems in the petting zoo).

The day ended all to soon. By four-thirty Miniwether had fallen asleep in my arms, though she was wide awake a little after five to partake in a wonderful ice cream treat while mutely staring at a flame juggler. The dark rose up quickly after that and the royal fireworks signaled the end of the day. After that it was a short walk back to the Honda (benefit of getting there early!) followed by a long, long wait as 30,000+ people tried to exit down the single country road leading back to Houston. We learned after our first year to avoid this gridlock by partying in the parking lot. This year we tossed "Cinderella" into the portable DVD player and watched Miniwether continue to glow with delight as she was entertained by the antics of that fairhaired lady and her mouse friends.

The movie ended as the last taillights disappeared down the road. With a wave to the other smart tailgating partiers, we headed off for home. It was a very, very good day.

And now the pictures:

camp
Miniwether on patrol!

bighat
At the gate. Yes, it is a very big hat.

Dancing
Starting it of with dancing gypsies.

QueenAndKing
Their Highnesses.

Merripolo
A very, very big hat.

elephant
Miniwether and Misseswether loved riding the elephant!

Centuar
Riding the Centuar wasn't quite as wonderful...

goaround
Ah, riding a frog. much better!

SpanishKnight
Miniwether wins the heart of a Spanish knight, but there was still a horse-issue...

3-2-1
Apparently in the 16th century launching oneself into the air with a bunch of rubber bands was commonplace.

launch
Holy crap this hurts the crotch.

family
The traditional family shot.

gaming
Did we mention that Miniwether is very, very smart? Misseswether still beat her two out of three games though... :-)

sleepy
asleep
Must..have..more..chocolate...covered...zzzzzzzz.

Adventure! Excitement! Food poked with sticks!

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