As I mentioned in my previous post, Leah came to visit this weekend to help me celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, we decided to go to the Sterling Renaissance Festival a little over an hour north of my house.
Here we go...
Based on our observations, there are several categories of people who attend the Sterling Renaissance Festival. We'll begin with the easiest category to describe--people who come wearing the same kind of modern clothing that they would wear to any other Saturday activity. Then, there are several categories of people who dress in costume.
There are, of course, the people who work there who have to wear costumes. While most of them appeared to be comprehensively decent, there were workers wearing peasant clothes and Tevas and I'm fairly certain that I saw a Highlander wearing Crocs with his kilt. The major goal of these costumes appears to be to highlight one's chestal area (for women) and one's knobby knees (for men).
As for the patrons who wear costumes, these come in several flavors:
1. The people who purchase a circlet of dried flowers with ribbons to wear in their hair or who get their hair braided or who get a temporary tattoo or face painting. These people might also purchase a hat or purse from one of the vendors, but they are also wearing shorts and t-shirts with their new "Renaissance" accessories.
2. The couples consisting of one person in fairly complete costume and the other in gym shorts and flip flops. These people tend to make out occasionally while waiting for shows to begin.
3. The couples who are both dressed in full "Renaissance" garb. These people are almost guaranteed to be all over each other in line for food, while waiting for a show to start, or at any other time--making out, grabbing each other, poking at each other's costumes, etc.
4. The middle aged, balding creeper dressed in complete costume. These men mistakenly believe that potential mates will see them in costume and jump on the chance to get together with them. I did not see any of them having much success, but you never know.
All of that said, it is a place where you get to eat and drink while people watching, which is an awesome combination. We began with a glass of wine and a cheese plate as we gathered our strength for the joust.
We were served by the woman below in the costume, who was extremely into her "character," although her coworker "Mandy" was not. "Mandy" refused to speak in a fake accent or use words like "pounds" or "trencher," much to this woman's chagrin. We felt sorry for her because she was so excited. It seems like the organizers could have at least paired her with similarly-minded coworkers.
An authentic-looking cordless drill and trash can.
Time for the joust. First, though, check out the little girl in the center of the photo below. That's what I'm talking about--a Viking helmet, sword, and shield. No princess crown for her!
One of Leah's favorite parts--the guys who looked like Captain Jack Sparrow who were selling pretzels.
The children who got to be part of the opening parade at the joust:
Our knight (or armor man, whichever you prefer), Oren:
Everyone beat up on the green knight and the joust was pretty weak. There were only a few passes, none of them well executed, and then a lot of on the ground sword fighting and punching.
The green knight again. He spent most of the joust rolling around in the dirt.
We were hungry again after the joust, so we perused the food offerings, which included the "fresh fruit and jerky cart."
Our food search was interrupted by the Queen's parade:
Leah got Steak on a Stake:
I had a beef gyro and we both had red wine slushies--delicious.
Next, we went to the pirate show, which we thought would have more action:
Mostly, it was a lot of talking and a few people fell in the water and we got bored and left to eat some more.
After some refreshment, we walked to the stage to see Commedia Dell'Arte, which was supposed to include a select group of professional actors. Apparently they were selected from the dregs of the summer job pool, because most of them were awful and we got up and left.
By that time, it was almost 4:30 and we had seen and done everything that we wanted to, eaten most of the food, and we were dirty and hot, so we decided to head home. We had fun, but I'm definitely glad it was buy one ticket get one free weekend because I feel like for the money they charge, they could do way more with this festival.
We spent our evening laying around and relaxing before Sunday's festivities--details to come soon...