So it's only been about three years since we last went to faire, something we used to do with a big group every year since about 1981.
Once we moved here, however, opportunites to go dried up and were scarce in our area. That, coupled with us concentrating all of our spare time on the house & property along with other duties, meant that we were out of luck.
In that three years my kid, needless to say, outgrew her old costume and I had to make a new one from the ground up. Once we learned that there was going to be a two-weekend-only Faire, the Valhalla Renaissance Faire at Lake Tahoe, we decided to go.
So the last two weekends, off we went. The first time, the kid's costume wasn't ready yet (it was also about a billion degrees outside) so we decided to forgo dressing up, but by the following weekend it was ready and we did the whole costume thing...it's always more fun in costume since the other folk treat you differently when you are part of the scene, it makes for a much better time.
The Valhalla Faire is considerably smaller than the ones in southern and northern California that we'd gone to in the past, but the site is much prettier, cooler and there are fewer people! A lot of the same people travel about and go to these faires all over the country, so you often see people you've seen for years at these things.
There are loads of craft booths, this one sold jewelry.
Fowl Tales was there, neither Bob nor his parrot Gypsy have changed a single bit in the 25 years we've been seeing them at faire. Not one bit.
Bob has three parrots and a dog to pull the parrot cart around faire, although Gypsy is clearly the star of the show. Part of the finale is Bob swinging Gypsy around while he clings to a rope, flying him over everyone's heads. Of course he made the requisite jokes about, 'Don't watch with your mouth open!'
Afterwards he kindly allowed the kid to briefly pet Gypsy a bit.
She even found a tiny red feather to bring home as a keepsake. After the parrot show we wandered over to the queen's court where we watched the musicians, who had many gorgeous instruments...even if the tweetling got on your nerves after a bit--that kind of music has a definite time limit as far as being appealing.
The kids gathered around and got a lesson in courtly manners, including learning how to bow & curtsy. The kid picked it up quickly and after that was curtsying to everyone in sight.
The signs for the various stages were beautifully carved and painted.
One of the attractions was a set of three GIANT carved rocking horses to ride.
Still nervous, but having fun...
This demon girl at first was spotted and tagged as 'drunk girl with Sharpies comes to faire', but we later realized that it was makeup and that she had a whole persona going, including some 'Jack Sparrow' type body movements. She'd pop up everywhere, once we ran across her playing one of the giant Jenga games.
I loved her toad pouch. She was quite good at the Jenga game and every time she pulled a block would place a small stone where it had come out.
The game got ridiculous and every time we were SURE this would be it, one of the players would pull off another move.
But eventually demon girl won when this guy had the blocks fall onto him.
The following weekend was much cooler and our costumes were ready, so this time off we clanked in full costume. I assured the kid that once we were at faire, all of the bells and clanking bits of our costumes wouldn't stand out, it'd just be part of the scene.
I lucked out and was able to recut a green cord jacket I'd found at a thrift shop for her bodice, just added some trim, slashes under the arms and a boatload of grommets and lacings. No costume is complete without a shitton of geegaws and trinkets hanging off of it, though.
So off we clanked, the kid relaxing after a bit when she realized we were right and no one was staring at her. One of the most fun things at faire is people watching, especially when we play a game of 'Spot The Geek'. Spot the Geek is where you find the person dressed in the most ridiculous, wrong-headed thing you can. Whoever shouts 'Mine!' first has that person and everyone else's job is to top it--find someone MORE ridiculous and outlandish. You can change geeks, but once you choose a new one you've given up the old one. Part of the game is coming up with a name for the person you've chosen.
It's great fun at faire because there is NO shortage of people who decide that 'Come in costume' (by which they mean late 1600's era dress) must mean that they can bust out any old Halloween costume and wear it to faire, whether it's period-correct or not. Astronauts...witches...slutty pirates...slutty kittens...slutty St. Paulie Girl (I kid you not, there were THREE) you name it, you'll see it at faire.
The Game of Thrones crew was represented, although I did like her dragon puppet, it was cool.
Dude...DUDE. You've outgrown it. Dear God. Walking behind this guy you were risking an unwelcome eyeful at any moment.
Yeah...Link from Zelda, complete with stick-on ears and foil-covered shield.
Smokey the Bear meets the Green Man meets...I dunno. It looks like he ate a rooster for lunch.
This guy I was calling Half-Naked Buffalo Bill. I don't think even he knew what he was supposed to be. The guy in green skirting him on the right grinned and muttered as he passed me, 'Did you get it?' I laughed and said yes, but it's horrifying. He agreed.
There were people who got it marvelously right, though. These gypsy girls were gorgeous.
And I can't even imagine the dedication it took to sit down and make an honest-to-God leather straightjacket.
The faire had a jail area complete with a cell and several things like stocks to place non-costumed folk in, and a waterboarding rack. It seems that they had been collecting the run-off from the ice used to keep the food at the booths cold, unknown to the poor dumb shmuck that good-naturedly would go along with it and allow himself to be strapped to the board. Surprise, that's ICE water they are pouring over you!
They'd tie up and lead the people that were going to jail around, parading them about before throwing them in the cell. By far the cutest lil' criminal, no one was booing him. Instead he got laughs, applause and lots of 'Aww...'. The kid ate it up.
After this it was time to go home and wash all of the dirt off, my lord but you get filthy at faire!