Mama and I celebrated our 17th anniversary this weekend--and in high style, by going to the NY Renaissance Festival. This was particularly meaningful because Mama and I had one of our earliest outings to the faire the summer we met 20 years ago (I've written about my love affair with fairs here.) With Goo in tow! And he was the age then that the kiddos are now. If you'd told me then that 20 years later, Mama and I would re-visit the fair with our twins, with a life in the CT suburbs and be LEGALLY married, I never would have believed it. It was a wonderful weekend (save one thing I'll get to.)
Costumes: We always like to dress up for the Ren fest. And this year the kids also got into the act. Sis wore a cloak, sword, and carried a bow (Bud's, from Texas), with a special LOTR leaf pendant we purchased for her and plastic attachable elf ears, for she is Legolas, the elf archer. Bud is Frodo, with his colonial vest, a cloak, the One Ring on a silver chain, and his little silver dagger that he was handed during the parade at the Ren Fest in Texas. He's used it in a lot of play these last 5 years. Mama and I were just general shire folk, me in a vest and skirt, Mama in a vest and jeans. We added to our costumes while we were there, half the fun of the festival. I got a flower garland, along with a belt and pouch. Mama got leather shoulder armor called a paldron. Bud got a belt and sword, plus real halfling ears. Sis added archer gauntlets. We were quite the well-dressed crew. It certainly makes the festival more fun. And we got things we can wear again for other faires, for Halloween, even for Comic Con. (Speaking of the latter, we saw several Doctors--three Tenth and one Fourth, all in costume! The first Ten was the best, English accent and all, and posed gamely for a picture with the kids.)
Food: Snacking always plays a huge part in the faire experience and we like to eat. We had the requisite huge turkey leg and funnel cakes, of course. We also really liked the fried macaroni and cheese in little triangles on a stick. Mama and I enjoyed the florentine quesadilla, with spinach, feta, mozzarella, and pesto; we also liked the little doughnuts glazed in orange juice and apple cider. Bud liked the cherry limeade, while I had a yummy orange float, like an Orange Julius only less chemically--just orange juice, ice, and vanilla ice cream.
Shows and Activities: Between snacks, we wandered the faire and enjoyed all the entertainment. My favorite, by far, was the archery. I'm not great at it, even as a Level 1 instructor, but I enjoy it; Mama and the kids do, too. We all even managed to hit near the center of the targets. We watched two chess games--somewhat like wizard chess, with human "pieces" fighting for the spots--something I keenly remember from 20 years ago. Sis really liked the sparring. She also liked the horses in the joust. We all laughed heartily at the Vixens En Garde-version of Hamlet, with a little Star Wars thrown in for fun. And of course, we saw the Birds of Prey show, with the Master Falconer showing off his Andean Condor, Black Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, and Harris Hawk. The show was extra-special after our own English falconry experience where we flew our own vultures and Gyr-falcon. On our own, we had a few sword fights with all of our weapons. We didn't stop for too many musicians (there actually weren't too many), though we danced to the drums of Wolgemut at the end of the first day.
Which brings me to the sad bit: Bud's special silver-colored dagger went missing at some point in the last hour of our two-day visit. We don't know where--and he and Mama searched high and low--and we don't hold out hope that it will be found. I was very sad, not only because he was very sad, but also because it was such a big part of his childhood these last five years. Sure, that probably means we shouldn't have taken it--I'm not sure I realized how attached I was to it until after the fact, though I knew he was--or at least tied it to him; lots of guilt to go with the sadness because I didn't notice that he'd set it down. Hindsight is 20-20. And up to that point, two whole days, he'd kept track of it. But then it was gone . . . as Ar-Ma recently said about Gong's shoes and expensive new orthotics stolen from a local temple while they were praying, somebody else needed them more than he did and it was time for them to move on (sorta like a less-evil version of the One Ring, I suppose.) That wasn't much comfort, though. But as FB often reminds us about Mr. Rogers's "look for the helpers," we were amazed at the kindness of strangers. The first let Mama and Bud back into the faire to search for the dagger, which we only found missing after we got to the car, even though they hadn't gotten their hands stamped. Several shop owners tried to help them, until the last, seeing how upset Bud was, walked them over to her boyfriend's stall where they gave him, without accepting payment, a special as yet unpainted Elvish blade. On the walk back to the car, he apparently planned how he would decorate it with runes and Celtic knots.
Shopping: Before the dagger incident, we'd picked up a few other things. The kids had a budget, but I'm the one who did most of the shopping. I always favor candles and lotions--and I actually got a candle that melts into lotion!! The other candle is one of those multi-dip/multi-colored ones that are then carved to reveal the layers--a staple of 70s living rooms, if I recall correctly; Sis chose a pink and purple one with little rainbow layers. We also really enjoyed experimenting at Nixi Stix, with professional grade juggling balls, pins, dancing wands, dancing sticks, and these Toroflex things that the kids like--think of it as a perpetual-motion Slinky. There wasn't as much great shopping as i'd expected so it took awhile to find something to send to Aunt Sis, who loved the Ren Fest and went every year; my Christmas present always came from the craftspeople.
So, all in all, we had a wonderful time, though the loss of the dagger overshadowed the end a bit. On the way home, we talked about going to faires in Pennsylvania and Maryland sometime; we laughed that later, Sis and Bud could even work them--on horseback, on violin, juggling, swordplay. It was the perfect anniversary weekend.