Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just get me back in time...

Party like it's 1499!

I'm a little late with this post. We were at the faire two weekends ago. I love the Texas Renaissance Festival. There's something about it that just fills me with joy. It has a special smell to it, like sandalwood, potpourri, and leather. That scent hits me as soon as I walk through the gate and I am transported to my idea of a perfect world...

A place where amazing street performers fill the air with beautiful music.

Flame-juggling, sword-swallowing tightrope walkers ride unicycles.

Beauty abounds (and occasionally is somewhat unbound!)

Magical beings flitter...

And royalty takes your hand...

And invites you to a tea party.

The beautiful Istanpitta.

Bet you didn't know you could do this with a didgeridoo!

This is a French battlehorse. It's HUGE!

Belly dancers!

Okay, here's close-up of them.

Mambowether loved the dancers but isn't wild of me constantly taking her picture.

I promised the girls they could each do three rides. Unlike the performances, rides are not free but range in cost from $3 to $6.

Miniwether loves the spinning box thing ($3).

Mambowether loves her frog. She rode it twice ($3).

The big swing ($3). Miniwether also loves this. Mambo decided she wanted to ride it, too. The first few minutes of the ride Mambo was screaming in terror but Miniwether and I were able to calm her down and eventually she decided that it was like being in my canoe. Then she liked it.
Sidenote: if you go to RenFest in garb on a slow, rainy day the ride operators will just let you keep going until someone else shows up for a ride. We were in the big swing for almost ten minutes before I finally called out to have it stopped.

Miniwether had been eying this thing since last year and I decided she was finally old enough to try it. ($6)

Fly angel! Fly!

Best. Ride. Ever. (unless you are a 200lb, 40-yr old guy)

My friend Tom.


Fairy sand painting.

Night falls.

Long day #1.

Long day #2. I love this picture of Misseswether, she looks so beautiful in it.

Miniwether was still going strong. Here she is showing of all the treasures she collected.

I want to spend a bit of time on how to have fun at the faire. A number of first-time goers have said that they didn't like RenFest. The most common complaint is that you have to pay a high admission fee and all there is inside are shops. This tells me they somehow completely missed all the free performances. There are eleven stages with on the grounds with acts showing on all of them continuously. Added to that are ten floating music acts wandering the grounds, assorted battles, free tea parties for kids, and just people watching (keep an eye out for Darth Vader and his kilted stormtroopers!). There's a lot more to do than just shopping. Sidenote: I love all the shops, too! The knives, the leather, the jewelry, the clothes, etc...

Some of my favorite acts:
Sound and Fury This is what happens when you mix Shakespeare with a short attention span. (warning, PG-13!)

The Ded Bob Sho The best stand-up comedy by the skeletal remains of a plague victim ever!(PG) If I had to describe their act in one word I would pick "beautifully dangerous!". (G)

The Other Brothers What happens when to jugglers don't get along. (PG)

Birds of Prey Shock and awe from Mother Nature! Sidenote: don't bring food to this show! (G) Sidenote #2: the girls loved this show in part because we just finished reading My Side of the Mountain at bedtime.

Shunyata Bellydance Drums, hips, and shiny things! (PG) Sidenote: I have a special fondness for this troupe after spending a night by their campfire at another faire several years ago.

Must-Hear Music:
Cast in Bronze One man playing a four-ton musical instrument.

Tartanic Pounding out Scottish rock on drums and bagpipes!

Gypsy Guerrilla Band They get Misseswether dancing the dance that first woo-ed me many years ago.

Istanpitta Love songs from way, way back. Watch out for the brunette, she's feisty!

Wine and Alchemy Greek, gypsy, Celtic, Sephardic and Led Zepplin taken for a ride on the Silk Road.

The Bard O'Neill Singings songs of adventure.

As You Like It if angels had hammers and dulcimers they'd make music like this.

Crannog This is what Celtics listen to before war...and after.

All these acts are free but they do pass a hat for tips after their acts. The get paid a pittance by the guy in charge of RenFest. Tossing a dollar per actor/musician into the hat is good karma. Tossing more in is GREAT karma. Many also sell CD's and DVD's of their acts. Over the years I've amassed a big collection of "Ren Music" by buying these CDs. It's pretty much the only sort of music I listen to anymore.

A few tips on food: Food is reasonably-priced with most things costing $3-$5 but drinks are high at $2.50 per bottle of soda. If you are cheap keep your soda bottle and refill it from the drinking fountains. Oh, and just give in and get the big bag of popcorn. If you get a little bag you'll finish it off after a few hours and want more. Get more to begin with.

We are heading back to RenFest one last time before the 2009 season ends Thanksgiving weekend. Look for the guy in the big hat with the beautiful family!

Adventure! Excitement! Time Travel!


Mike_H said...

Excellent post. Ren is the absolute best!

I also highly recommend anyone going to dress in the appropriate garb. Makes that trip into another world just that much more fun.

Izzy G. said...

Fun stuff. The kids are getting big.