We're back from the Renaissance Festival and we had a fantastic time.
We left on Saturday afternoon and arrived in KC with no hiccups around five thirty or so. We got checked in to our lovely hotel and spent the first couple hours in the hotel pool enjoying a swim and a soak in the hot tub. It was nice. We also discovered there was a Dave and Buster's next to our hotel, and we spent the evening there. It was a good time. I'd never been to one before. For those of you who haven't been, its a giant restaurant with a huge video arcade in it. It was so much fun. We really loved it. We spent the rest of the evening doing what we always do on vacation when we have time to pass- watching the Food Network on our television.
We were up bright and early on Sunday, and we were so cold! The temperature at eight am was only thirty degrees. We agreed we were going to wait to wear our costumes on Monday when the weather was warmer. I'm glad we did. We took the hotel shuttle to the festival and arrived a few minutes after the gates opened.
There was so much to see! There were shops everywhere with all sorts of things to look at, and so many things I wanted to buy I took to getting the cards of all the artisans so I can hit up their websites at my leisure. I found someone who makes hand made straw besoms! I can't find those anywhere. They were beautiful and I even found a broom with a spider carved on the handle. I am probably going to order one of those pretty soon.
We watched the early morning joust, which wasn't so much a joust as a game of skill. We loved it though. The baddie, Judas the Unforgiven, totally whipped the butt of the emcee, a Lady Victoria, while the challenger Lord Daniel looked on. Afterwards, there was an invitation to go see the afternoon joust, where there would be actual jousting and swordplay in armor. We caught part of it as we were walking by later, and it looked really nice. I must admit though, I'm going to have to sit on the baddie's side next time. He was seriously funny, and I wanted to be cheering for him. He was great.
We also chanced upon a group of Fairies and Fauns dancing around a maypole in the center of town. It was awesome. No, no this wasn't one of those seriously historically accurate fairs. I loved it though. And truly, the fairies and the fauns were fantastic. I was in love with one of the fauns, he was a little bigger than all of the rest, and he was so cute and cuddly and his hooves were huge! We got to see him the next day, and I was so bitter, because when he came to talk and play with us, fairies in tow, I was so tongue tied and shy I couldn't say a thing! I loved the maypole though, and told Kitten I wanted one of those for our house next spring. She snickered and said "Yeah, right."
We went up front to get tickets to the pub crawl, and laughed our butts off (not for the last time over the weekend) when the sweet little lady told us she was worried they would not let Oscelot into the pub crawl with us, wanting to know if we had someone to watch him while we drank. When we explained that SHE was 25, the lady was so mortified. We told her it was okay. The ticket girl talked mead with us, and was even kind enough to tell us where some hidden port-a-priveys were just outside the gate. I used those almost exclusively after that. No line, and they were handicapped, so they were huge!
It seemed almost too soon that we had to head off to our first event, the Pirates Pub Crawl. When we got there I ran into my Aunt Dancer, and it was so nice to see her. She and her husband had to leave so they didn't get to join us. We ended up headed off to a pub called "The Groggy Starfish" and meeting The Amazing Ackbar and Sir Richard, our pub crawl guides. We learned some lovely drinking songs and got our commemorative Pub Crawl beer mugs (which were beautiful). We filled up our mugs at the first pub and had a grand time. We learned the Charlie Mopps song, which we ended up singing a lot of other places too during the weekend:
A long time ago, way back in histo- ry,
When all there was to drink was nothin' but cups of
A- long came a man by the name of Charlie Mopps,
And he invented the wonderful drink, and he
made it out of hops.
Hey! He must have been an admiral, a sultan or a king,
And to his praises we shall
Look at what he's done for us, he's filled us up with cheer,
Lord, bless Charlie
Mopps, the man who invented...
Beer, beer, beer, tiddley beer, beer, beer...
That's the first line anyway.
There was a moment of hilarity when one of the guy's in the pub crawl's phone went off and he answered it. Ackbar grabbed it and shouted into it "Hey- he's at a pub crawl! Call him back!" and handed back to the guy. "Sorry about your magic box sir," he said sincerely. I was laughing so hard.
We headed off next to the Canterbury Public House (a two story open air public house!) and filled up our mugs again. We walked the whole way at the back of the crawl with Richard, who was sweet as pie and full of all sorts of great information. He was even kind enough to offer us some of his blueberry bagel, which put us all in a good humor. When we got there the line was amazingly long, so we ended up chatting to some guys in period garb while we waited. One of them, Kilts, was generous enough to offer me some Scotch from his flask, and we became instant friends. It was a good time. Ackbar called me out from the crowd to do a magic trick with an adorable Blue Devil's fan named Nate. We drew two tarot cards (the Empress and the Chariot) and Ackbar told me I'm a bit bossy, even on the drive to get there- he's right. I'm the navigator. But the girls were in stitches while he mimicked me "No! Turn right," he cried in a fair imitation of my voice "Do it my way! Do you want to end up lost? We're running behind!" I laughed too, honestly. Then he did a neat trick where I chose two more cards (Judgement and Death) and he picked them out of a lineup of cards. It was impressive. Even more impressive when he told the group that I had recently chosen to let a friend go because they disagreed about their view of me as a person, and I am too strong minded to put up with that kind of thing. If it weren't for the fact that I'm already into divination, I would have been frightened. I was sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to him about his divination/magic trick. That was cool. We sang another rowdy pub song and giggled the whole time.
This time we did "Roll Your Leg Over" and its pretty well a snarky lyric, to which the group replies in chorus :"Roll your leg over, roll your leg over, roll your leg over and do it again!"
Some the verses included:
If all the young ladies were bells in a tower, I'd be the clapper and bang one each hour...
If all the young ladies were bricks in a pile, then I'd be a mason and lay them in style...
If all the young ladies were drops in the ocean, I'd be the waves and I'd show them the motion...
You get the idea. I've heard a rumor there's a wench version that's just as dirty and about men...
We finished our beers and headed on to the Pirates Pub and filled our mugs one more time. To be honest, I got distracted here, because between Kilts, a group of five at our table, and the noise of the pub I missed a lot of the singing this time around. I did have to take Kilts with me to escort to the privy up the road, and then he got out his pipe and smoked with Kitten and I. We shared beers and scotch and found that he was also headed to The Royal Smoker afterwards, like we were. We convinced the rest of our table to join us, and after about a half hour or so, the mass of us trooped off to the Royal Hall to join the Royal Smoker.
It was, without doubt, the best deal we had all weekend. We paid ten bucks each and when we got in we received tickets for a cigar each and two tickets for either beer or sodas. We waved to the rest of our group and we settle in, (I spotted Richard from the pub crawl!) and ordered our beers. They served us pretzels and some very nice cheeses and fruits and what proceeded was the naughtiest, filthiest, bawdiest show I've ever seen. There were dirty pirate songs, belly dancers and filthy wenches. The waitress wenches all had bosoms up to our eyes and you tipped into them! I was thankful I'd been to enough gentlemen's clubs not to stare. While were were there I had to run to the privy again (broke the seal!) and got kisses from Richard at the door. When I came back one of the guys behind me noticed one of my tattoos and asked me to translate the Arabic for him. I asked him what part of the Middle East he served in, and I ended up having a spectacular conversation with him. He was an interesting, honest, nice guy and was in the same division as my Grandfather! (101st airborne) He handed me his card I'm planning on getting in touch with him.
After, we switched numbers with Kilts and he promised to meet us up the next day. We went and enjoyed the fair a bit longer and then bought some turkey legs (three for the price of one!!!) and I called the hotel shuttle. They had neglected to tell us the shuttle went off at 4 and it was 7! We ended up getting a cab, and bless him, our cabbie was delightful.
More food in the hotel room, more turkey, more Food Network and we passed out early after drinking a LOT of water (Kitten and Oscelot were in at 7 beers each- I had the good sense to stop at three, plus two shots of scotch and a cheery cordial rum someone offered me) and we went to bed.
Up early again and Kilts met us for breakfast and then giggled while he watched me struggle into my dress. It takes three people to get me into it. We drove to the festival this time and Kilts was nice enough to show us the back gate where all the "Rennies" park. MUCH easier to get in and out of, and way shorter a walk too.
We spent most of day two shopping and looking at neat things. I found this puppet maker who does these things that sit on your shoulder and look like cat/dragons and they move their heads and arch their necks into caresses when the owner pulls their strings. Its pretty cool. Go look at the pictures. They're beautiful. I found the brooms. We looked at a lot of clothes. There was a lot more bowing and scraping that day. We were dressed as nobility, and as such, the actors were much friendlier. I was delighted when I had three women ask me where I bought my dress. I caught people taking covert pictures of us on several occasions. Even Queen Katherine herself stopped in the middle of the parade to compliment my family on their "beautiful obeisances and breathtaking garb." Considering her dress was without doubt one of the most magnificent things I saw all weekend, I was pleased.
We went to the Feast of Fools for lunch. It was a great show with all of the best performers from the festival. It was great to see the gypsies, the Jolly Rogers, some of the bands and singers, plus the actors doing some awesome work and telling some great jokes and limericks. Honestly, I think my response for the rest of my life when someone says "I have a joke" or "I have a limerick" is to shout back "A Toast!!!" and "A Limerick!!!"
We also took time to go see The Washer Well Wench Show. That was probably one of my favorite moments all weekend. If you go to YouTube and search them, you can find them all over the Ren Fair circuit. They're amazing. I've never seen a group draw such a big crowd or get people to scream the way they do. And they're funny! I really loved their show. I caught moments of it the day before and we were determined to see it again! It was such a nice time that I kept an eye on the show when we were back at the Groggy Starfish later in the afternoon.
We watched a lot more shows the second day and we wandered around a lot. I was so bitter, we were approached by another cast member at the end of the day, and he complimented us on our garb. He also invited us to tell our story. Our beautiful, well-researched story that we practiced for the entire trip down! Our names, our home, our family history! I researched the provinces and duchies in France! Oh, all of it! And I could barely remember how to properly introduce ourselves. I felt like a moron. And of course, it was the newly elevated Lord Castille, who was performing admirably in a dueling show earlier in the day. I had been entranced by him. And of course, I stutter like a fool and wanted to yell "Wait! Come back!" and talk some more. And ask him where he got his clothes, because they made me drool. Drat my own shyness!
I can't properly express all the fun stuff we got to do...not without boring you to death. That's some of the highlights, that's for sure.
I'll say this- I learned that it is very hard to go to the bathroom in a huge dress. Kitten had to follow me into all of the handicap privies and help me hold up my dress so I could go. This was made worse by the fact that the stalls were tiny. Even worse by the fact that there were wood chips all over the ground and they were in the train of my dress and eventually my tights and my underwear and whatever...it was awkward.
But we did have a nice time at the festival.
I think that's about it for now. I'm sure I'll think of more later.
Fare Thee Well