I went to the KC Renaissance Festival (Warning: Link does not work correctly under Firefox/mozilla, bad ren faire webmaster) today. This is an event I've been attending since I was 8 or 9 years old. Besides the time I spent in California and Maine, I've gone every year but one, and actually been a participant several times. However, the last few years it had seemed as if it had lost its charm. Everything seemed overly commercial and tired. There was nothing really new and nothing to get excited about. I wonder how much of it was that the Faire had changed, and how much of it was me though? As a child the commercialism that was surely present probably wouldn't have been noticed. Everything was fresh and new because it was something I had never before experienced. As I grew older and my horizons expanded, my perspective couldn't help but change. People wandering around in funny costumes just isn't as impressive after years in the SCA. Likewise the mock combats of the knights and warriors don't look nearly impressive to someone that has fought in huge battles with fake weapons, and small scuffles with real ones. The airs of romance and frolicking maidens don't have the same impact on a fat middle aged married man that they did on a single guy in his prime.
Today, however, was different. I had a great time. I went with my wife, and we made no plans or had any specific goals in mind. We just wandered around and enjoyed ourselves. The crass commercialism was present of course, everything was terribly expensive. But so what? There were lots of great performers, lots of interesting costumes, and fun things to see and do. The high point, as usual, was the music. We listened to the Jolly Rogers, The Limey Birds, and Tartanic, all of which were great. The Jolly Rogers is an act we've been watching for many years, and they never fail to put on a great show. This was my first time seeing the Limey Birds, and they were also quite entertaining, not to mention cute. Tartanic was amazing, a very high energy Scottish Pipe and Drum group with a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. We also watched a show called the Washer Wenches. This wasn't a musical act, but rather pure comedy. The two women in the show had started in on me when I first came to the gate of the fair, calling me “Shiny” because of my shaved head. They made comments to me several other times throughout the day, and when we finally went to watch their show I got called up on stage to be part of it, a quire embarrassing part. It was fun though, I got to shake my hips in front of a group of total strangers and quite a kiss from a rather cute lady (would have been much cuter without half her teeth blacked out), with my wife watching and not getting mad at me for it.
At the end of the day we went to the Pub Sing where a bunch of the singing groups all got together and performed and told bad jokes. It was a riot, and the show was stolen by a lady that was doing sing language interpretations of the acts. When the Limey Birds started a rather ribald song the signing got very interesting to say the least.
At any rate, I'm glad I went. Been a lot of stress lately and this was truly a good day. I'm seriously thinking about trying to be in it next year. I've been taking things, myself included, a little too serious of late. Its been quite awhile since I put on some funny clothes and wandered about with a funny accent making a fool of myself. I usually accomplish that without the funny clothes or accent. At any rate, I'm glad that I recaptured a little of that magic of old today. The Festival is much the same as its always been, my attitude is what was different.