Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

One of the highlights of our trip to the Twin Cities was attending the Renaissance Festival. It was so hot that that it felt like we were on the surface of the sun--especially while baking in the sunlight--and we were on our feet all day long, but we still had a good time.

The Festival is held south of Minneapolis. The property where it is held reminds me of our State Fair--most everything is outdoors, but with some permanent structures. The biggest drawback to the Festival is the lack of indoor plumbing--there were only Port-a-Potties. (I don't do anything that isn't full, indoor, running water, modern bathroom facilities.)

The entire area is very pretty, with quite a bit of shade trees--which came in very handy that day. Even though we got there way before noon, the place was quite busy--and definitely got MUCH busier as the day wore on. If nothing else, the Festival is a great place to people-watch. You see all sorts--people in costume (performers and non-performers) as well as the 'normal' people just visiting for the day. Here are some pictures of the property--and if you look closely, you can see costumed performers:

One of the performances that we got to see, was a guy dressed as Pan. (He is standing on the bench in the middle of this picture.) He spent most of his time insulting people as they passed by.

There was a performer who would argue with anyone and another guy who told/answered riddles. We saw an 'undertaker' walking through the area, dragging a casket behind him. He stopped a man and proceeded to 'measure' him for a casket. When done, the undertaker looked at the man and said, "I'll see at 2:30." Then he looked at the cigarette the guy was smoking and asked, "How many of those have you had today? I might see you earlier!" The smoker was NOT amused. :)

Everywhere you looked, there was a performer--or someone just dressed in costume. There was a woman playing a harp and a man playing a lute. All of the vendors wore costumes and some of them took it a step further by playing their parts perfectly with their speech and mannerisms. We saw a woman 'walking' her snake--I believe she was one of the snake-dancers--and this woman walking her tortoise:

I LOVED the kilt the tortoise wore.

Here is a picture of the king's men/soldiers, as they walked through the area:

Camel and elephant rides were offered--at least to kids:

Once we paid our entrance fee, other than merchandise and food, all of the sights and shows were free. As an inexpensive outing, you really couldn't beat this--as long as you didn't go overboard on the food and 'trinkets.' (I believe some people brought their own food and went back to their vehicles to eat, instead of paying for food.) I would have LOVED to eat more, but I was suffering from my 'travel stomach' and stayed away from most food. Dang!

One thing I DIDN'T stay away from was the merchandise. There was something for everyone there and I could have spent a boatload of money. I bought myself a couple of hair 'accessories'--can't really explain them, as they are quite unique--and some homemade soap for myself and a jar of sugar scrub for a friend. I really wanted a few more things, but between being tired and restraining myself, I passed. There were some incredible pottery pieces I would have loved and hand blown glass ornaments and glasses to die for. The jewelry just blew me away and, of course, the period costumes--or some elements of--were gorgeous. (However, WHAT would I do with a Renaissance costume?) There were shirts, jackets, skirts, etc, that could be worn everyday, but I was too hot to worry about clothes shopping. ;) K came home with a mug made out of wood--and it is usable for either cold or hot beverages!

A highlight of the day was the joust. While the jousts are 'scripted,' there still is a big element of spontaneity. If we wouldn't have needed to stay in the shade, our seats would have been better and we would have had a better view. However, we were fine where we wound up. Here is a picture of the crowd on one side of the jousting arena:

The jousting arena seen from the end, where we were:

The 'MC' of the joust:

The three knights who participated:

The pre-joust activities:

Victor--one of the participants:

William--another participant--and his 'Lady':

I knew, even before we went to the Festival, that I would enjoy it. However, I wasn't too sure about K. (The Youngest and her husband go there every year.) When we left, he was the one that said we would go back again next year--he enjoyed every minute there. I guess we will begin making plans for next year's Festival.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great time! I've always meant to go to the one here, but never got around to it.

cmk said...

I can't say enough great things about the day!

Anonymous said...

ditto for me. PA has one now that has been going on for a month. When I read about it ealier this summer I was quite intrigued and meant to set a date to go but alas I never did. Thanks for the write-up

cmk said...

As I said, if nothing else, it is a great place to people-watch! You definitely see all kinds there--and that's putting it mildly. ;)

meleah rebeccah said...

How freaking AWESOME!! I love it. I want to go to one of these one day!!

cmk said...

You would have a great time, I promise!