The first thing I heard as we approached the gates of King Richard's Faire was a bagpiper, playing the theme to Star Wars. I had a vision of the piper's home life.
Piper's mom: honey, your father and I can't send you to D&D camp and Trekkie camp this year. You'll have to pick one.
Piper: (looks baleful and goes to basement)
Piper's mom, yelling: You are 23 years old and critically vitamin D deficient. Come out of the basement, now.
If you were feeling some sort of solidarity, some kind of like-minded kindredness to humanity, I suggest you take a trip to a renaissance festival. It will wobble your mind in wonderful ways. And I speak not only of the mead.
There are some PEOPLE out there, people.
The minute we walked in, Sugarplum and Studley's jaws went slack. They looked just like the kids in the Disney World commercial. Starry eyes and all.
They did not dig the jousting. I did. Not as much as a demolition derby, mind you, but as entertainment goes, jousting is quite passable. It made me think I was living in one of Sugarplum's puzzles. I wished, in fact, that all the people around me had been more conscienscious about dressing to period. As it was, about 70% of them were renaissance-compliant.
What we mostly did was walk around and oggle people. The costumes! Some people obviously worked at the fair, but most I'd say did not. They came, they costumed, they caroused. There were orks and Mongolian ninjas and merry maids a milking. There was one woman dressed (quite convincingly) as a fairy. She moved like a bird and made cooing, chirping noises. There was a man on stilts who had his legs camouflaged and instead had small, puppet arms and legs, to make himself look like a baby sitting in a very tall chair. A baby with a grossly large head and a nightmare-inducing smile. The kids loved him. I said "anyone need the loo?" and rushed them off.
There was a ladder thing that you could climb for $3. If you made it to the top, you won $10. As we walked by, the man running the ladder thing was saying to someone, "congratulations! you have the grace and agility of a falling rock!"
There were knife throwers! There were drummers! There were pasty-faced teenagers in black leather!
King Richard's Faire is set in a pine grove. Half-timber buildings house the candlemakers and cloakmakers and horseshoe clangers. It is very much like walking into a medieval market. Which, it occurs to me, is the point.
I have read enough historical fiction to know that I don't want to hang out in a medieval market. You get thieved and bullied and you never get a fair price for your wool. But I would like to be a fly on the wall long enough to see the juggling and piping and rabble-rousing. Also the dude with horns.
King Richard's Faire let's you do that. People are pleasant and say charming things to the kids. None of the orks threaten to eat them. This is because there are turkey legs and "pigge sandwiches" so the orks aren't hungry.
So now I just have to ask, do you hang out at renaissance festivals wearing a serving wench costume? Or are you more the king's court sort?
Either way, we had no idea how much we dig you.
(This post inadvertantly brought to you by the Cape Cod Chronicle. Thank you for a lovely day, Chronicle peeps.)