What else would a family of nerds do for their splurge day? Celebrate with hundreds of other fringe folks at the renaissance fair, of course. Yes, it’s true, I confess, I love ye olde faire. We hope to go every year, but it’s an expensive day, so we usually get there every other year or so. There’s something about the day of fantasy; the guys hawking huge pickles making bawdy jokes, the actors walking around, staying in character as they ad lib, and the costumes, oh the grand and glorious costumes.
First stop–always–Flower Child gets her hair braided.
For this fabulous crown, we waited an hour and a half. Ludicrous, sure. Just the type of thing where Mrs Fringe would keep a tight hold on the girl’s hand and say, “absolutely not.” But it’s RENFAIRE!!!! It’s also a lovely way for her to ease into the day, she can sit in the shade, watching the actors–and guests– walk past in their costumes. Because, of course, the braiding booths are just past the entrance. The women doing the braiding love Flower Child, she waits patiently and doesn’t fidget, swing her head around, or bop up and down while they’re braiding. Part of her disorder involves excessive fatigue, so this is an excellent “activity” for her. We only have the front half braided, whatever design she gets, and she does have beautiful hair that goes past her waist, she’s an excellent walking ad for them once we’re done.
For a large gathering of many people on often crowded pathways, with alcohol and weaponry being sold, it’s amazingly…friendly. Kinda like Disney World, only with peasants, elves, fairies, and wenches instead of Mickey, Cinderella, and Pooh. It feels safe, inside this dusty nerdland bubble. Heavyset women are applauded, as their generous boobage is the perfect accessory to the low cut costumes; any child or adult in a wheelchair is bowed down to, gawky teenaged boys are engaged in long conversations, often involving dungeons and dragons references, about swords and catapults, hilts and scallywags.
It is a great teaching opportunity for children, any and all rides and games are powered by hand, history and mythology lessons abound. However, purists need not bother. I had a friend who is a history buff attend with her kids one year, she was horrified. Renaissance costumes and wares are mixed with medieval, age of exploration, and Camelot. Turkey legs and mead are sold alongside lattes and quesadillas, pewter figurines and wooden staffs next to earrings made from Swarovsky crystals and belly dancing costumes.
We don’t stroll in and forget the budget, but we don’t go unless we are ready to pay for just enough to make it a stress free, special day. There are plenty of customers dropping hundreds, sometimes I think it must be thousands, on elaborate costumes, accessories, and general tomfoolery that when I say something is out of budget, we aren’t pressured by anyone, and are free to look at everything.
I’m not sure why I enjoy this so much, there’s no sand, no ocean, and if the day is hot it can be uncomfortably ripe. Actually, I’ve never been a fan of historical romance for this reason, I can’t suspend disbelief enough to stop thinking about how long it’s been since the hero bathed, the heroine had the nits removed from her hair, and the stench of manure on a forbidden moonlit ride. But it’s straight fun, pretending that one day we’ll all be outfitted in pantaloons, cloaks, and feathers, hearing the serving wenches’ voices ring out as they jump up and down to maximize and flash the aforementioned boobage, “Huzzah for the generous tipp-ah!!!”