Sunday, October 17, 2010

Huzzah! Our Return To The Renaissance Fest

This weekend has been the perfect antidote to the emotional days and sleepless nights of the past week. My Dad has had some scary, rough days recently and I nearly headed back to my hometown but in the last moment, he has seemed to rally once again. Dad seems to be stable for the time being. Some of Keith's family were coming to stay at the Elms for the weekend, so I was going to make a concerted effort to have a good time...and indeed we did.

Keith's cousin Randy and his wife Anne as well as his cousin Jill, her husband Chris and their two darling daughters Caitlyn and Lindsay arrived Friday night and the next day we met them at Bonner Springs, Kansas for that annual celebration of all things medieval, the Renaissance Festival. The Ren Fest is an experience that one should try at least once. Depending on your level of interest, the Fest can range from a unique people-watching sport to flat-out full immersion in the medieval environment. The Fest is set up in an elaborate re-creation of a village straight out of the Middle winds through a forest-like setting and is filled with performance stages, shops and food outlets decked out in their finest Camelot chic. This particular visit was for the visiting family and in particular for young Caitlyn, herself dressed in pretty princess garb. I admit for K and I, having attended once prior, once was enough. We enjoyed it to be sure, but realized we probably would best enjoy it again accompanying others and that's what brought about this return visit. Like our Disney World Trip with Tanner and Sierra, revisiting and experiencing Ren Fest through the eyes of children brought about a whole new appreciation. Lindsay was a tad too young to truly absorb the spectacle, although she did rock her new pink, fuzzy tail. Caitlyn was properly entertained, though, and that was worth the trip, for sure.

I was once again fascinated by the depth of detail these folks attain when they create this Festival. The staff and performers work wonders in establishing an environment that allows the visitor to feel as if they are strolling through medieval times and they fully encourage guests to take part in the fun. That could involve something innocuous such as taking in a stage show or fully dressing in costume and truly getting into character. Upon entering festival grounds, you are welcomed by the King and Queen and then enter the village where characters roam the grounds greeting you and many are dressed in spectacular fashion. There was a scarier contingent to this crowd as this was also their Halloween celebration as well. Caitlyn was greeted by the Fairy Godmother first and from that moment on she was pretty much entranced throughout. A "leper" covered in boils made us all a little skittish but soon various comedic troupes of fops, wenches and jesters surrounded us with mirth and merriment. Caitlyn's adventures ranged from smoke-filled bubbles to wax hands to riding a majestic elephant.

Soon, as is my calling, we moved to the food and drink palaces for mead and sustenance. Here, we met up with Jeff, Ashley and Alex and their bud, Tracy. Yes, the Wonder Twins of Doom had returned and the evil Halloween spirit was complete. I and the family took a snack break (K and I split the cholesterol-cursing Philly Cheese Spuds-Philly Cheese toppings on waffle fries) and I then met up with Ashley and gang to catch the end of a juggler's show. Food and drink offerings were plentiful, including fare from the Wench's Wine Bar, Clare's Crepes, The Pirate's Pub and The King's Sausage. There was an overabundance of snickers between K and I over the location of the King's Sausage. Moi....miss a chance to way oversell a suggestive sausage joke? Not a chance. One of the most popular Ren Fest yummies is the massive Turkey Leg and Tracy made short work of hers. My favorite food moment came courtesy of the Garlic Festival booth. Selling garlic-laden dipping oils and mustards, they had me at hello...despite the garlic breath. I was, however, fully committed to a long-term relationship after my first taste of the Garlic Festival's pickled garlic with jalapenos.....I bought a jar and could have tackled them with a fork and been good and joyously garlicky for the rest of the day.

Our final Fest moment took place at the highlight-the Jousting Tournament. The King and Queen's parade leads all of the colorful characters into the Jousting Arena and then we are then introduced to our combatants. All encased in suits of shiny armor and divided into obvious reps of good and evil; they are mounted on horseback and wield a variety of armaments such as lances, shields and swords. The knights engage in several contests of strength and will and the victor is inevitable bit it's a kick getting there.

All in all, it was a good time revisiting the Renaissance Festival as well as old friends while seeing it anew through the wonder of Caitlyn's eyes. We had a ball and moved on to munch some more throughout the weekend. I'll pick that up in the next post...

For now, though, a hearty Huzzah to the Ren Fest!


Kristy said...

A real elephant!! HUZZAH!!!!

Confounded Cook said...

A real snake too....yikes,er, huzzah!

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