Why the Renaissance Faire is Amazing

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I discovered in the last year or two that if not for Christmas, the Renaissance Festival would be my favourite time of the year.  The only one I’ve attended (and apparently one of the best ones, according to friends who’ve gone elsewhere) is at The Castle of Muskogee in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  Yes, this castle is a permanent structure!

Credit: The Castle of Muskogee
Credit: The Castle of Muskogee

I first attended the Renaissance Festival there in 2011.  I was immediately hooked!  If we’d realised that we would go every weekend, we would have bought season passes and saved loads of money on tickets, haha.  We also attended the masquerade ball, one of the separate events that happen Saturday evenings after the faire ends for the day.  (I’ve already talked about the masque ball, and my meeting the Doctor, here.)

Now don’t hate me for saying this, but to me it’s like a convention to the nth degree.  At cons, it’s getting together with people who have similar interests, meeting/seeing famous people (while it’s more their characters I want to meet), and buying lots of stuff you don’t need.  All that is super fun, and the conversations, parties, and making friends with fellow fans is the best part.

Credit: James Gibbard, Tulsa World
Credit: James Gibbard, Tulsa World

At a Ren faire, it’s getting together with people who have similar interests (or at least like to dress up and/or pretend to be someone else for a while), living in another world with characters from that world (and seriously, the volunteers at this one spend a full month beforehand getting into character), consuming at least somewhat period appropriate food and drink, and buying lots of stuff you don’t need.  Not to mention the shows: duels, acrobats, bards, magicians, knighting ceremonies, singing pirates!, and so much more!

Italian soda and a falafel plate for lunch.
Italian soda and a falafel plate for lunch.

I’ve gone as myself attending an event, myself dressed up and in another world, and even in character attending a yearly festival (who says there’s no such thing as a vegan pirate? 😋).  I’ve gone with one person, several people, and even by myself (honestly, that’s my favourite).  However I do it, it’s always some of the best fun I have all year.

 


 

If you plan on attending this particular Renaissance Festival, here is a list of my absolute favourite things.  This is neither a complete list, nor have seen everything there is to see.

Shows:

-Tribal Circus, Italian Piazza
-Jolly Rogers (my favourite singing pirates), Castleton Harbor
-Brothers Dimm (get there early, as this tends to be a popular show), Mud Stage
-Heroic Knights of Old Joust (most popular), Tournament Arena

Food & Drink:

-Jerusalem Café (labelled vegan options!), Village Center
-Cappuccino Inn (coffee shop!), Italian Piazza

There is one place in the Village Center that has sweet potato fries, my favourite food at the faire, but I keep forgetting to see what the place is called.

Shops (doesn’t include clothing) and Games:

-Lilystrations (watercolour paintings by Lily of Tribal Circus), Italian Piazza
-Badger Blades (really Hubby’s favourite), King’s Highway
-Majikah Perfumery, King’s Highway
-Aerie Books, Celtic Quarter
-St. Sadie Soaps & More, Celtic Quarter
-Tomato Jerk, Celtic Quarter
-Medival Mapmaker (historical AND nerdy maps), Castle Keepe


Bonus:

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Shia LaBeouf spotted at The Castle in 2015.  (Click pic for article.)  Sadly, it was another week before I attended.

#TBT – Non-Mummy’s Mother’s Day

This entry was originally posted on a blog I was writing back in early 2012.  I recently had reason to go back and look for something in that blog, and I thought I’d share this again here.  And yes, I wrote this post before I became vegan.


This was quite a busy and fun weekend.  Friday, all of us girls in the family here got our nails done together.  Saturday, I helped retrieve the Edible Arrangement for a baby shower my sister-in-law hosted.  –I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it’s amazing covered in chocolate 😉–  I then went with my mother-in-law to help in the nursery at a church.

Sunday.  Mother’s Day.  I took my “son” to the Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee.  He’s only nine years my junior, but he’s always looked at least 5 years older than his actual age.  (He’s not biologically mine.)

Because he looks like an adult, I’ve recently been carded to be sure I was over 16, and it was just the two of us, he got a lot of “girlfriend” comments.  I threw a couple of them for a loop by correcting them with “mother.”  It was hilarious!  One guy suddenly stopped walking, and with an über confused look on his face, was like, “What?”

Another guy selling flowers motioned the basket toward him and said, “Hint! Hint!”  I pointed at Son and said, “Son!”  The man’s first reaction was, “Well, hey, it’s Mother’s Day!  You gave him life; the least he can do is give you a flower.”  Then, our appearances clicked in his head and he said something to the extent of, “Wait, how are you his mom?”  I just laughed and told the truth: that he’s way younger than he looks and I’m way older than I look.  Then, he said, “Now I definitely believe that!”

Sadly, of course, my brain didn’t come up with a comeback to the other comments until it was too late.  One was “That girl in the blue is much better looking than the one you had with you last week!”  Wish I would have thought at the time to say, “I’m flattered that you think his mother is more beautiful than his girlfriend!”

Even in the Elder Scrolls and Fable games, I always stop to listen to the bards.
Anyway, the Ren Faire is always so much fun, even though most of the time we’re just walking around and looking at overpriced items in the shops.  However, there was a small shop we finally wandered into that had items for far less coin than others.  I walked away with a mid-length cloak for $38 (instead of about $180 for a full-length), and we both got awesome-looking hoods for $12 each.  The one thing I wanted to buy for my costume (a ruffled skirt to go over my dress) was $250.  I’d only brought $160 🙁.  At least now I’m more motivated to make it myself, haha.

After walking around in the rising temperatures and bright sunlight for 5 1/2 hours, we decided it was time to head home.  Since it was the last day of frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks, and still 30 minutes left in it, we headed there so I could get my fix.  I was expecting it to be packed, and we would have to be brave among the stares in our cosplay, but there were only about four people inside.  The only one who said anything about the costumes was the lady in front of us in line and we talked about the Ren Faire for a bit.

They can’t even spell my fake name right, haha.
When ordering my drink, I gave them my character name (Amaryllis) to put on the cup.  Just one last Renaissance Festival moment to enjoy before I called it a day.  I was spent… and I so want to go back!

When I Met the Doctor

The first time I finally went to the Renaissance Festival, it was magical!  We attended every weekend and most of the extra festivities that happened on Saturday evenings at an extra cost.  (If we’d known we’d go more than the first weekend, we’d have saved so much money by buying season passes.)  I bought a beautiful renaissance dress the second weekend.  (Which I later wish I had done a bit differently.  After last year’s purchase, I’m finally satisfied with that outfit.)

One of those nights was a masquerade ball.  The four of us who went had fun shopping for masks.  We were all Whovians, especially the two of us girls.  Before we entered the castle, still taking pictures outside, I saw a man walk by who was dressed as the Doctor.  David Tennant’s Doctor, to be specific.  I pointed it out to my friend, and we were both too excited.

The following poem is based on that night.  It’s the true story up to the asterisk (*), then my imagination took over.

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My Night With the Doctor

‘Twas two thousand eleven
at a Renaissance Faire.
The four of us dressed for the occasion
and did up our hair.

That night, there was a Masquerade Ball.
Everyone looked so neat.
We passed a man in a striped brown suit
and white Chucks on his feet.

My friend and I looked at each other in shock.
Could this be true?
Had we just seen the Doctor
with the TARDIS so blue?

As our men stopped to take pictures
of gargoyles and such,
she and I looked for the man
who saves the world with his touch.

“There he is! There he is!”
I excitedly whispered to her.
He was talking to another man
and we didn’t want to be a bother.

We finally headed back inside the castle.
We followed the Doctor closely behind.
When we caught up we said hello
and asked for a picture, if he didn’t mind.

She asked if he was with someone,
but he said he came alone.
It sounded like he’d just lost a friend
when he spoke with that tone.

We were too nervous and excited
to say more than “thank you” and “good-bye.”
But as the night went on,
we wanted to say another “hi.”

As he stood by himself,
on the other side of the room,
we decided we wanted to dance with him
and wanted to soon!

The men who were with us
were fine with it all.
So she finally got up the nerve
and walked across the hall. *

The Doctor accepted her invitation
and they began to waltz.
Not long after they start dancing
the music halts.

Another song began to play,
so they danced again.
I watched in anticipation for my turn;
the excitement hard to contain.

I walked over as the song came to an end.
The band waited for the conductor.
I couldn’t believe it was my turn
to dance with the Doctor.

At first, I was nervous
and stepped out of place,
but he reassured me
and encouraged my grace.

He swept me off my feet.
I utterly adore him.
Now I understand why
his companions fall for him.

I was having a fantastic time.
The music ended far too soon.
I planted a kiss on his cheek,
as it was very opportune.

Before he left, he asked our names.
We answered, “Sasha and Kuri.”
He said they were lovely and waved good-bye,
then a tear made my eyes grow blurry.

At the end of the Ball
there were fireworks outside.
We all chose the back of the crowd
at which to reside.

The show was brilliant,
and just before it ended
we noticed a blue box in the sky,
the man inside contented.

He waved us a farewell;
a new adventure to ensue.
This was my amazing night
with the wonderful Doctor Who.

Sadly, at the same time that Sasha (name changed, as usual) started toward the Doctor to ask him to dance, he left the building. We looked for him all night, but couldn’t find him :( . Him just being there still made our night, especially since that was the first time I’d seen Doctor Who cosplay in person. At the time, the show was barely entering main-stream-geek level in America.

I spoke with some other Whovian friends about it soon after, and they suggested that the Doctor seemed a bit off/sad because it was him right after he’d lost Rose :'( .  It’s so sad, but I’ve forever accepted that explanation.