Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our Vacation, Part 2

ON Sunday of the Labor Day weekend, we went to the annual Renaissance Festival just south of Minneapolis.  This was the 40th year it has been held--and it certainly was more of everything than we saw last year.  (I believe last year there was some problem with the contract negotiations over the land where the festival is held, so some vendors, etc, were scared off for the year.)  I believe that 25% of the people at the festival were in costume, there were many more vendors, and it was wall-to-wall people the entire day.  While I was able to get some pictures, with the amount of people walking around, I didn't get as many as I would have liked to get--OR as good quality pics as I wanted to.  (I actually got a picture of a guy's butt as he got in the way at the last minute.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a very good butt.  ;))  So, for some highlights and pictures that I actually managed to get:

--There were FOUR weddings held on the grounds that day.  We got to see a couple of the wedding parties, but the 'wedding' of the King and Queen was the big attraction.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the wedding, but managed to see the  wedding party walk through the grounds afterward.

--We watched several of the fantastic shows that are constantly offered throughout the day.  We LOVED the 'Washing Well Wenches' so much--a couple of women who were absolutely hysterical.  And their audience participation made me laugh until tears were streaming down my face.

--One of my favorite 'attractions' was the Irish Wolfhound that one woman brought with her for the day.  He was so gorgeous and was happy to see all of the people.  Every time someone went up to him to give him a pat, he actually smiled!  And at 165 pounds, he HAD to smile or people would have been terrified of him.  :)

--I didn't really eat any more this year than I did last year--mostly because of the long lines.  Everywhere you went, it looked like Christmas at Walmart--and you had to elbow your way through crowds constantly.  I did manage to drop a few bucks on several things that I wanted:  four rings, a hair comb, and two ceramic mugs.  K bought himself a ceramic piggy bank and that was all.  Again, with the amount of people, I only managed to get to the vendors that I remembered wanting to go to. 

--Several ATM machines were sprinkled throughout the grounds.  I so very much wanted to get a picture of the costumed people standing in line waiting to get to them--it just was funny to see them in 16th century clothing while waiting in line to use 21st century technology.  But, too many people got in my way.  >:(

--I took my life into my own hands and faced one of my biggest fears:  the port-a-potty!  Yes, I actually used one this year--but only ONCE!  It wasn't quite as bad as it could have been, but it isn't an experience I want to repeat any time soon.  Of course, the participants have fun with this as they do with every other aspect of life at the festival.  Standing at the entrance to the port-a-potties, two men--dressed in costume--stood handing out toilet paper.  They would give one or two squares, depending on what they figured the person's 'need' was.  There was usually a bit of a discussion about the activity one was about to engage in, also.  (If someone didn't want to engage in any of the shenanigans, the 'actors' were easily avoided.)  In reality, the square of paper was NOT the only paper one was expected to use--there were actual rolls in the port-a-potties.  ;)

--Again, I think we will go to the festival later in September, next year.  While the weather was perfect for me--well, it COULD have been a few degrees cooler--the amount of people kept me from having quite as much fun as last year.  I think with a few less people I would have seen more of what I wanted to.

And now, pictures:

There were two guys walking around the festival that DEFINITELY caught the attention of everyone there.  You barely can make them out in the first picture, but the next two show you WHY they were noticed!

I REALLY should have asked them to pose for me--as so many other people did--but I just didn't.

The entrances to the 'privies' were well-marked.  :)

Scenes from the festival.

One of the places where costumes were sold.  At another store, one elaborate dress/ensemble was being sold for $500+--and that really wasn't a bad price, considering the amount of work that went into the construction of it.

Some more of the participants.  I was in awe of their clothes.

These two women were going to the place where they performed.  I overheard one of them 'complaining' about the 40 pound weight of her harp and having to carry it around the grounds.

And finally, we have the grim reaper, who made his way around all day.

It was a fun, but tiring day.  And again, we are making plans to go back next year.

FYI:  Anyone interested in learning more about Renaissance Fairs can go here--an absolute wealth of information.


ordinaryjanet said...

I enjoyed this post, you're good at observing! and I liked the photos, it would be funny if you'd gotten one of the Grim Reaper standing in line at the privy!

Those buildings look like a lot of work went into them. It's a nice way to spend your weekends if you're into participating in these festivals.

meleah rebeccah said...

I went to a Renaissance Festival once and it was AWESOME. Im glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. I cant believe you used the dreaded port-a-potty! Ahahahhahahha.

These photos are great!

cmk said...

janet: Thank you! As I've said, this place is THE best for people-watching. Just so much going on all of the time. We laughed about the Grim Reaper and the way he would sneak up behind people and the looks on their faces when they turned around and saw him. For THAT I would have needed a video camera.

They have done a great job with the property and putting up the permanent structures. I don't know if the festival would be quite what it is if there weren't the buildings. I only wish they would put in REAL bathrooms. ;)

meleah: Now that I know the port-a-potty isn't QUITE the same as an outhouse, I'm not as afraid of them as I was. However, I will only use them in emergencies--definitely won't visit them on a regular basis. ;) (I was surprised and happy that it didn't smell terrible--one of the worst things about outhouses, for sure.)

Thank you both for liking the pics. With the amount that I took, I HAD to get SOME good ones! ;D