Monday, September 24, 2007

Renaissance Festival 2007

Eryn, Pooteewheet, Kyle and myself went to the Renaissance Festival yesterday. It's the first time any of us have gone in about eight years, so it seemed like it might almost be new again. I'm going to start with the funniest bit first. This is the wind up guy at the fair. You give him a dollar, and he winds himself up. Pooteewheet gave Eryn a dollar and she cautiously approached him to drop it in his collection receptacle. When she did, he tossed his ball to her, causing her to immediately turn, a look of horror on her face, and sprint back to the safety of our group. She warmed up to him a little bit, tossing the ball back to him, but it was an uneasy truce.

That's not the funny part. The funny part was a few minutes later, as we were walking toward the kids' wand area, when Pooteewheet pretended to wind herself with a whirring noise. Eryn freaked out and told her to knock it off. The look on her face when the guy threw her the ball was great. The look on her face when confronted with wind-up mommy was hilarious.

Wound up:

Concerns about PETA were cast aside for the day. After all, if you're willing to pet the toads and snakes that are carried around in sacks, the bigger toads restrained by rubber band leashes, then riding the elephant isn't quite the existential moral issue it might otherwise be. This particular elephant had a friend and looked much happier than the Jose Cole elephant we wouldn't let Eryn ride. That's the justification. That, and Pooteewheet had to ride along, so it was funny.

Stop-motion animation of the ride brought to you by Ray Harryhausen:

The nice violin lady who played a duet with Eryn while she tapped the bow on this saxaboom-esque violin that played an electronic song regardless of your strumming technique. She gave Eryn a small Renaissance Festival coin for playing with her. Easily the nicest performer we met at the Fair. Of course, we didn't get this close to most of them. Puke and Snot could be princes, but they're way up on the stage most of the time. There was no reference to having played Mad Dog Vachon in The Baron.

Video of the concert:

Tortoises, demonstrating their medieval jousting technique. He's going to feel so stupid when he realizes he forgot his lance. Or did he? Kyle pointed out that someone asked the herpetologists if the tortoises were mating, and the response was "no" they were just a couple of boy tortoises wrestling.

Eryn really liked the snakes. She was accused of chasing one off by tickling its tail. There's a lady in the background somewhere (out of sight) with a handbag dog. I pondered whether she was just trying to prove a point by keeping it around a bunch of boa constrictors and alligators. The lady who said Eryn was tickling the snake's tail was half joking with her. The lady that gave her what for when she touched a carved (tobacco) pipe was not. You would have thought she was nailing up boards with a meerschaum instead of lightly touching a plaster of paris imitation. I was in the process of telling her not to touch, like the lady had asked, when she laid into me with the equivalent of "if you were a good parent, you'd put her in her place and tell her to quit it" quip. Yikes. She needed to smoke a bit more of the stock.

Giant hobby horse. It might be fun to have one of these in the back yard. Which leads directly to my conclusion - for the umpteenth time - that RenFest is sort of a rip off. At $12.95 per parent, minimum, plus $20+ in food, you generally drop $50+ while there, if you don't buy anything, touch anything, ride anything, tip anyone, etc. For $50 a couple, I figure I can just have everyone over to my house next year. I'll trick out the back yard in hay bales, buy a keg, find lots of food, install a king-of-the-log log and some beating pillows, and provide entertainment dressed in a foppish hat and apocalypse cloak. Pooteewheet can dress up as the wind up person.

In action:

Very nice pirate who pushed the kids on the two-headed swing. This was a pretty good deal, because they pretty much kept pushing until there were enough kids to replace the ones on the ride. Way longer than the butterfly ride where Eryn was told she was too big. She's four! Damn...that was cold. She looked crestfallen. But she liked this as an alternative. And she got a ring that she wanted, so she feels all grown up.

With arghing...

Yum. Fence. Reminded me of my niece, although she prefers Twizzlers.

Zilch the Torysteller. He basically tells tales where he reverses the letters/lettersets at the beginning of adjacent words. For example, Jomeo and Ruliet. There's a lot of nerd humor mixed in - Star Wars, Star Trek, et al - and the humor comes from joined words that he can't say together in front of a family audience, like Friar Tuck. He's one of our favorite acts, and we were surprised he was still around.

Eryn went to the Festival and washed dishes. She has now washed dishes at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and at the Now Then Threshing Show (2006). There's a theme in her festival attendance that she'd do well to avoid as a teenager.

Mean Mr. Mustard took a picture of the Dragon Boogers. I was more worried about Merlin missing his moons, and how the hell any fairy passed a stone this size. Ouch.

When it comes down to it - the Festival is a truly romantic place, where one can renew one's vows in the open air, in front of a medieval cardinal who was probably boffing everyone in the village on threat of damnation. And, as Kyle pointed out, nothing says romance like renewing your vows in your Netscape t-shirt.

For Ming, who was unaware that the Red Hat Society existed, or that if he attends events in Minnesota, they might be lurking outside the privie waiting to jump him.

The tragic side of the Renaissance Festival. Too much wenching, too much mead, too much time on King of the Log.

I think Kyle and camel have the same expression. What are that woman and her child doing on my friend the elephant?

I'm jealous of this guy's shirt. Very cool.


Meghan Lafferty said...

FWIW, they sell those shirts (I Bike MPLS) at the Alt.

LissyJo said...

Did you let my daughter eat twizzlers AND fences??

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog as I was looking for someone else who thought the Ren Fest was a rip off. Funny thing though, it looks like you guys really had a great time. Your daughter saw snakes and a tortouise, road on man-powered rides, was entertained by a violinist and a creepy wind-up guy, road an elephant and saw fun shows...all for $50.00 for the 3 of you. That's how much it would cost for the 3 of you to go to a movie and get popcorn and candy. Try not to think about the was a beautiful day and your family made some great memories! We drove 2 hours to look at shops and see 1 boring show and one that was barely entertaining and then drive 2 hours home. The Minnesota one looks better than the Ohio one we went to...I agree it's kind of a rip-off but like I said, great memories are priceless and it looks like your daughter made some for sure.