Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Earldom


It started on Big Frog's birthday.
One of his (many) nicknames is "Duke", as in this:

Which one of our friends, the er? from our church, sent Big Frog in celebration of the day.

And then...

So now we have SERFS! How cool is that?

And, having already done Shakespeare in the Park with these dudes, where does one bring their serfs to train them up right? Of course, the Ren Faire!
Now, my only live experience with Ren Faires is the PA Ren Faire. All the years I lived in MD, I have never yet made it to their Ren Fest1. But the PARF Big Frog and I have gone to basically every year we've been together. And PARF is awesome in that every year has a different scenario instead of a retelling of the same story every year. This year is piratical, with rebels and a pirate queen2. Lancaster Online ran an article today on creating the characters and backstories of the scenario. And within that, every single weekend has a theme. Between his schedule and mine, Big Frog and I usually go on Labor Day, the only Monday of the Faire, for Children's Fantasy Weekend. But this year we were able to go on Time Travelers' Weekend, which was billed as "a chronological convergence of time travelers, doctors, trekkers of the stars, the steam-punkified, slayers and many more of the fictions of science as they gather upon the Shire of Mount Hope.".

1 Even though my middle school friend's dad sings at MD Ren Fest every year. Even though Barely Balanced hasn't been to PA in three years but has been in MD.
2 I predicted Gilbert and Sullivan would make an appearance in song at least, possibly even as characters. It would make me happy, anyways. I got to say "Huzzah for the Pirate Queen" to her, but it didn't connect. She said back to me "Huzzah for you."

Some pics from today's excursion:

Had some unfortunate camera-sd card-processing issues here, but W got his verbal cue right. At the Renaissance Faire, you don't greet people with "Hello" or "Hey there"; you say "God save the Queen!" And he did.

W&E obviously get ongoing training in "don't touch" -- it took specific invites to get either of them to engage -- but then they were in. W particularly relished being a "bubble slayer"; E enjoyed the dragons, both fuzzy and "real, but babies". (W would have nothing to do with the fuzzy ones.)

Big Frog had fun playing with small frogs, too.

Possibly the highlight of the day for the littles was blue tongues after persistently pleading for a Slush Puppy.

Arrrrrrrrrrrr! Little boys and big boys all want to be pirates.

That shot of Big Frog and the banjoist is my favorite shot all day.

I told E I found an E-sized sword, but he very clearly communicated that he didn't want a small sword when a big one was available.

And even though characters like these were around everywhere...

... And these kinds of things were happening onstage...

...There were still times when W wanted to play Angry Birds Star Wars and E wanted to join other families (basically anyone with a camera) and they both wanted to climb on rocks.

But the joust was incredible as always3, the Queen overcame a treasonous plot and an assasination attempt, and the Finale in Song included a proper Irish wake, at least until it turned out to simply be a case of sleeping off the alcohol. The corpse is pictured playing harmonica.

3 Best pyrotechnics I've seen at any theatrical event, ever.

The hijinks of the Royal Performers, ranging from musicians (Rowan and the Rose) to jugglers (Paolo and ___ and Shelli Buttons) to illusionists (Sir Isaac Fawlkes) had the queen in absolute stitches.

Then, it being Time Travelers' Weekend, out popped from the trapdoor...Doc Brown! with an urgent message from the future that might save the Queen's life. Except for one thing. The attempted regicide happened an hour ago. Oh no! Doc Brown traveled back to a time pre-Daylight Savings.

Long live the Queen!

Rowan & the Rose: My Faire-vorite Things, which I use to explain the difference between the Renaissance and a Renaissance Faire

And some today quotes:
  • Little-known late verse of "Drunken Sailor" by roving minstrels: "Where's he going with my pizza?"
  • Shelli Buttons: You didn't "hup"!
  • medical testimonial: Doc Volz cured me! I used to suffer from insanity, now I enjoy being insane!"

Here also is the Faire's official Time Travelers Weekend FB photo album.

Here are some favorite bits from years past, too:
Rakish Rogues: The Mermaid

Rowan & the Rose: Arthur's Knights

Rowan surprising Rose in the middle of a Rakish Rogues song: 45 Years

Shelly Buttons of Circus Vagabonds doing some aerial hoop -- in the rain, no less!

and silks

And Cameron "Medium" Tomele of Barely Balanced slicing a carrot with a diablo made of circular saws. "This is what happens when Craftsman and ToysRUs have sales on the same day."

We'll be back! In fact, we have a date planned already -- Sun, Sept 8, Heroes of the Realm Weekend, and Barely Balanced will be back in town for the first time in years!

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