Entering A New Renaissance


First off, a sincere thanks to everybody for all the support over the past couple weeks.

Okay, enough of that.

   Back to the adventure!!

It may surprise people (as it did for many of my friends over the last twenty odd years) that I’ve never been to a Renaissance Faire.  In fact, I had one friend that said several times, “Remember X from the Ren Faire?” to which I responded, causing apparent befuddlement, “No.  I wasn’t there.” 

Apparently, my personality makes being a Faire attendee a prerequisite.   Or people just think, “Well, he has multiple pictures in Starfleet uniforms so obviously he’s gone the other extreme .  The fact that somewhere, although not in my possession, there is film of me as Edmund Black Adder from the Renaissance may add to that.  But, to borrow a phrase, I digress…

So, last week, my old friend Vince sends me a text message asking what Stacie, Brian and I are doing on Sunday.  I checked with my scheduling department to see if we could shuffle some of our ever increasing social obligations, to which they responded after about twenty minutes they could.  Vince tells me it’s the Celtic Fling over the weekend.

“Reeeeeeeeeally?” I say, suddenly intrigued.

It was decided that we would go.  Since there were to be seven people in our party, two cars were needed.  I gave Vince and Brian directions on how to get here since I’m an exit up the Pennsylvania Turnpike closer to Lancaster–

Ah, Lancaster.  Home of Amish and cows and according to Stace in the old days, me.   She’d told her family when we were working in Northeast Philadelphia that I lived in Lancaster.  Her stepfather, a somewhat knowledgable individual when it came to location, suggested that I couldn’t live in Lancaster, maybe Langhorne.  All she knew was it was something with an L.  The fact that I lived in Yardley made it even funnier.

Thus, I gave Brian(heretofore called Painter to avoid confusion with the Offspring)  and Vince schlepped themselves from Levittown, right where Stace and I used to live, to Huntingdon Valley following my directions.  Of course, I told them to turn left off Bustleton Pike onto County Line Road rather than right, and that leads to a parking lot.  We don’t live in a parking lot, needless to say, but I say it anyway.  After that bit of confusion, they get here and we pile into Painter’s car and we’re off.  Painter and I spend the hour plus ride discussing graphic novels and writing while Brian sleeps in the backseat. 

The tickets for the Faire, or in this case, the Fling, aren’t all that expensive, really, but there are discount tickets at a rest stop on the Turnpike.  It’s forty seven miles from the event.  Vince, in the lead, blew past the rest stop.  Painter and I looked at the rest stop as we went by and said, “Isn’t that–”  and kept driving. 

Amidst the cornfields and large houses, I saw an abandoned limousine on a hill with a spray painted hood.  That image is getting used in…something.  Probably a Traveler episode.

We get there fourteen and a half seconds after getting off the Turnpike.  Brian had a bit of a headache due to hunger.  Or being ten.

 

 Our merry band walked toward the entrance and we  come accross a woman selling discounted tickets, $14 rather than $27, that she’d gotten from her job or the mob or a slob or a corn cob or whatever.  All the adults had tickets. 

Before I forget, look at the picture.  Brian and I both were wearing our Venkman shirts.  First, it’d be easy to pick each other out and second, to borrow a phrase from a certain Gallifreyan, Venkman shirts are cool.  I mention this because, starting with the women inside that we got the kid tickets from and going all day, around 36,532 people told us how much they loved our shirts that day. 

So, we get in.  I’m drinking it all in.  From the smell of haggis and other delights cooking to the people in period dress to the whole atmosphere, I’m soaking it up.  Brian on the other hand, wants to eat.  We stop at a couple booths, including one specializing in the manufacture of chain and scale mail.  Then we get to the leather shop, where they have everything from leather iPad cover to dragon claw gloves and boots and these–

Up In The Air, Junior Bri Man!!

which Brian absolutely looked smashing in.  The shop also had bottle holders that you could loop on your belt to avoid the whining that comes from not having a suitable supply for wining.  Vince, Painter and I talked with the proprietors for a while.  I looked at the sporrans and thought about buying one.  There’s a practical piece of leatherwork for everyday life!

Not far from here was the first of several Irish Therapy Centers.  Irish therapy apparently involves hurling glass at the wall as hard as you can to suitably smash it.  It may help if you yourself are smashed.  Brian and did a few, and his mood vastly improved. 
The strains of bagpipe music came across.   During the regular Faire, there are live chess games, with people representing the pieces.  Not so today.   Today a pipe band had the board.  I told Brian how his grandfather had been in a pipe band years ago.  He seemed less than impressed. 
We walked on.  There was a stall for a group who rescued greyhounds from racing.  Brian petted several, being the animal guy that he is.  Adjacent was a stall selling all natural soap.  Vince inquired if it was all natural, could you eat it? 
 
And then we found it.  The Fight Your Friends Circle.  A place where you don heavy leather armor long coats, fencing masks, balloons where your epaulets would be and another on your helm, and you get to whack the crap out of your foe with faux epees trying to pop the ballons. 

Being No One Of Consequence

Alas, in this duel, I was not victorious.  However, it was fun.  Brian was almost convinced to do it, but wanted to wait.  We continued on.  Down the hill, we saw the Forge, where they were making all kinds of interesting sharp shiny pointy things.  I like sharp shiny pointy things.  Our whole party likes sharp shiny pointy things.  As we were examing the swords, axes, pikes, and other toys, an individual walked by in full black armor, topped by a full masked helm with curving horns, and a long sword on his back. 

Remind me not to make him mad. 

After leaving the Forge, we watched the caber toss.  For those unCeltic in the audience, the caber toss is simple.  You throw a telephone pole.  I’d always thought the goal was to get it to flip.  Naw.  The goal is to get it in a twelve o’clock orientation to where you stand.  They were using twelve foot cabers for this one.  Vince and I spoke of signing up for the later toss, where the caber is full,  extended to nineteen feet.  We never got around to it.  More’s the pity. 

After this, and more walking, we came to the children’s area.  Brian has been developing an interest in chess, so he was excited to see this.

Battle Chess

We played a couple games.  Brian is much better at looking at all the possibilities for his moves than I was at ten.  Than I am now.  Well, whatever. 

We ate, then sat for a concert.  I enjoyed it immensely, but it was a little loud for Brian.  We went through the Torture Dungeon, where they have displays of various torture devices.  Good family fun.

 

All We Need Is A Dragon

 

 Not far from the stage for the concert was a mock up of a pirate ship.  Brian, Tyler and I went in.  Inside they were selling swords.  Axes.  Shiruken.  All the things growing boys need.  In one case were sgain dubhs.  In case you don’t know what a sgain dubh is, here’s a picture.

My Souvenir

The prices seemed pretty reasonable on this pirate ship, so when I found that the one I’d been eyeing up was $15, I couldn’t pass it up.  Now I have my dad’s and my own.  Mine’s bigger.  Brian was convinced Stace was gonna stab me with it when I got home.  Had I come home with the broad, er, broad sword I’d liked, yeah, that woulda happened. 

We walked some more, we heard another concert, then Brian was finally ready to duel.  Again I suited up, my short opponent suited up, and my dear compatriots, my friends of eons, did nothing but encourage my son and tell me how lousy I was.  Ah, friendship.  Long story short, he won.  Well, I let him.  No, really!  I did!  And I’ll intro anyone that says different to the point of my sgain dubh!

There was a woman watching our duel who said to my friends they were being really harsh.  Vince explained the situation, but I still think she thought they were being rough on me. 

Not long after, it was time to leave.  Sad, sad.  Brian wants to go back.  I wanna go back to, and have more money for the pirate ship and the forge, but that’s another story…..

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~ by Sean on June 28, 2011.

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