Last weekend $HOUSEMATE and myself attended the Siouxland Renaissance Festival yet again. We haven’t missed one yet. I was sort of mixed up in it from the start or before. When someone posted, “We’re thinking about starting a faire in the Sioux Falls area…” on a now defunct web board I replied and wound up chatting in-person with those who became the founders. The first actual lets-get-this-done meeting resulted in more organization in a few minutes than many places manage in ages. Yeah, though I am not a genuine participant (I do not get in such a pass, though I perhaps could due to one bit I help with) it is my ‘home’ faire. Yeah, it’s out of state and a good drive away, but… there is a feeling of “We’re having a party, come on.” that the Big Name faire in the state of residence lacks. That one? It’s like paying an expensive ticket fee to walk around a mall.
In years past I had hung out at the Mythical Garden when it was going on – a sort of sub-event that doesn’t fit the renaissance theme as such, but it’s something and it’s there and allows an even bigger break from alleged reality. The first few years it was around, I just hung out and provided some small support. A few years ago they were missing a character and I offered to step in and wound up as one of the Mythicals (anyone NOT see that coming?) for the next few years. This year the fellow running things found a full complement without me. I had said that I give an open offer for this, but I will not stand in anyone’s way if they would rather. And really, the younger (and thinner, more fit…) likely have an easier time of things. So I was asked if I could be do the crier bit to draw folks in. Someone more forward and more vocal did that, but I did hang around and provide support (handler/tender/lookout). There was a fellow already there for that, but he’s, shall we say, easily distracted. And I know from direct experience what it’s like to do that stuff. Overall, it went quite well. The heat was… potent. One fellow did feel the start of heat stroke coming on and bailed out to the ‘green’ tent – and, after a medical check, said he would do what he could about things but if he couldn’t manage it the next day, well, I might end up in his spot.
After that, and even though I was not performing, I made a point of getting hydration and electrolytes. And then some food. And only after that did I check out the beer and mead. One beer was of interest and it was alright. The gal serving the mead warned that the new one was too easy to drink and rather dangerous. She was not kidding. It was gone before I noticed. Decided not to repeat that one.
Chatting with some of the vendors was quite interesting. There are durable goods from last year (or earlier still) still in service. I probably added at least one sale not mine to a worker in ceramics. And a soap maker who knows me (and $HOUSEMATE) made a point of doubling up on the one scent we agree on in a positive way. Paid off for them, as I bought half of that supply.
Another vendor noticed that the display of walking sticks she had, from another party, was short one and there had not a been a sale of such. She was observant… or the taker was.. uh.. something, for he didn’t leave the area nor even bother to remove the price tag from the stick and was discovered fairly quickly. The walking stick was recovered. A lecture of sorts was given (and, I overheard some, given in more detail again later). I wound up taking a few photos, and showed one to the folks at the gate later. If he took one thing, he might have tried taking another.
And then, almost done for the day, I watched a bit of an act. In one part, one of the two performers pretended to fear the upcoming bit and did some “I’m audience, not performer” shtick and the bit called for her to claim she was not a cow. Now, if that wasn’t a cue to moo, what was? So I did. It seemed to take folks by surprise, but they went with it and did well. I later asked if that had been a problem and was assured that it was not, but was also thanked for asking about that.
After the faire, friends and family had a good meal at an Indian restaurant, and a rather potent nightcap back at the motel. Other than the cane incident the only issue was I hadn’t had any caffeine since breakfast. I wound up making coffee in the middle of the night to try to avoid a withdrawal headache.
I first stowed a few things in the Mythical’s ‘green’ tent, figuring I’d do the same thing I had on Saturday since the fellow who had had the heat issues assured me he was up to it again. But as time went by, someone else kept not appearing. I had a suspicion I might wind up more involved.
The performers whose act I’d mooed for/at were out and about and I talked with them a bit, asking if I should or should not repeat that. The answer wasn’t a solid yes, but not a solid no either. More on the order of, “We won’t hate you for it.”
Running into one of the folks running some of the festival, I showed the photo of ‘Stickie’ and was told I had to show that to $SOMEONE and could I wait a bit while the party was summoned? I could. And then showed a photo and explained things.. and wound up forwarding the image. I doubt ‘Stickie’ showed up again, but they knew who to watch for. “We appreciate your looking out for the faire.” Well, he was screwing up my faire. Doesn’t make me feel very charitable toward that party, no sir.
And back at the Mythical Garden they had just gotten word that the fellow they were waiting for couldn’t make it. So it was time for a quick costume change so I could step in – again. And yes, the handler was too easily distracted or caught up in his own world (make of that what you will) and had to be reminded a couple times to tend to the characters. Overall, however, it went well. As the fellow I replaced was obviously younger, when asked about his whereabouts I could give a simple let-them-fill-the-blanks-themselves reply that it seems he found a lady friend and… well, easily distracted youth. This worked out rather well: an absence explained without need of detail.
After that, more hydration and electrolytes (they sent the medical type to check on me this time. Evidently I looked worse than I felt) it was time for a proper meal. And then caffeine. And, after a while, mead not of the insta-gone variety though all of what I eventually tried over time seemed to be easy-drinking. More wandering until it was decided it was time to go, with a couple purchases on the way out. And I saw the act that got the moo was starting, so watched that.
And this time the moo seemed to be contagious as perhaps a fifth of the audience joined in! The performers then exchanged a few cattle puns before continuing. I found out later that when I was not there, one of them at least said ‘moo’ at that particular point. That had not happened, I am told, the day before. At the end of the act, after the tips were collected or mostly so, one rambunctious kid got a quiet little lecture about when the performers say to not run around (this was NOT just quietly leaving, but jumping up close when stuff was flying about) that jumping up close is a Bad Idea as it can cause all sorts of trouble. That over, a girl asked about the rats (part of a different act). “They’ll be here soon, but we are not the rat people.” I chipped in, “Rats don’t moo.” and got a laugh, a reply of, “Right! Rats don’t moo!” and a high-five.
And then was a trip home, that I do not recall as since I was not driving, I slept much of the way. It was quite a good weekend. I spent very little time online at the motel, and didn’t read anything on the Kindle app on the phone, as I expected I would do a bit before sleeping. It was quite a contrast to the last gathering I attended where the ebook of the time was generally more interesting than the event itself.