Salty.  I am salty.  I heard this yesterday and it is truly fitting.  If saltiness offends you, please, for the love of puppies and kittens don’t read my blog.  If you are so sweet that all of your friends get cavities just by being around you, don’t read my blog, you won’t like it.  Or maybe there is a secret place inside of you that will love it.  🙂

A couple of weeks ago The Pastor and I were looking for something fun to do with the kids.  We were missing a few of them so going out would feel more like fun instead of feeling like the usual crowd control.  We decided to go to the Renaissance Festival, mostly because I love a good Ren Fest.  If you have never been to a Renaissance Festival, I would highly recommend you go at least once.  People who are bogged down by a religious attitude hate it.  This is awesome because those people don’t attend so you don’t have to deal with them there.  People who do attend are just about anything and everything else.  Except history buffs.  You don’t have to be at a Renaissance Festival very long to realize that there are exactly zero history buffs there.

First of all, let me explain what a Renaissance Festival is, for those of you who live under rocks.  Basically, a RF (I’m getting really tired of spelling Renaissance) is a chance for middle aged people to play dress up.  It’s a bit like Halloween for adults except they charge you a night’s stay at a decent hotel just to get in and you still will spend a couple of hundred dollars on food and stuff.  It’s even more like Halloween because there are no real rules for what to wear.  This is where you will notice the serious lack of history buffs.  Some people think they are at the Pioneer Festival, some think they are at the Victorian Festival, and others think they are at the Medieval Festival.  There will also be a handful of goths and that one guy who thinks he is at the Indiana Jones Convention.  This is good.  It seriously makes for some of the best people watching you will ever do.  People seem to feel a little more free at the RF.  They act in ways they wouldn’t normally act back at the office for fear of appearing silly or strange.  I like to think that this is because of the magical atmosphere; The Pastor thinks it is the combination of beer and sunshine.

While people watching is the number one reason to attend a RF, the food is for sure a close second.  Most of these festivals don’t allow the vendors to use electricity on the grounds so the turkey legs and corn on the cob are cooked over an actual fire.  The Pastor does not grill (well) so it is very rare that I eat food cooked over a fire.  It is like heaven.  It is also a good place to try some foods that you might not usually see.  There is frequently someone selling Greek food (my favorite of all the ethnic foods) and it is the only place I have ever seen a scotch egg.  If you have never tried a scotch egg you should.  They are way better than they look or sound and, I promise, they contain no actual scotch.

Almost as amazing and unusual as the food, is the entertainment.  You will see everything from strolling minstrels to highly trained acrobats to comedy shows.  The comedy can sometimes be a little crude but as one performer said “If your kids get our jokes, it’s not our fault”.  While the shows are free, you are expected to put a few dollars into the hat after they are done.  They are artists, this is how they make a living.  Don’t be stingy.  There are also almost always belly dancers at these things.  A belly dancer is a mildly obese woman in a bikini who dances around to middle eastern music.  This is not a bad thing.  These are big gals but they can almost always rock the bikini.  It’s all attitude. I actually think that watching these women dance is helpful in creating a healthy body image.  All bodies are beautiful.  I don’t worry if The Pastor appreciates belly dancers.  If he wanted one all he’d have to do is buy me a bikini and play some Sting music and no one would be able to tell the difference.

The most expensive part of the RF is the junk.  Now, most of this stuff is actually really well made by craftsmen who know their trade well, it’s just that by the time you get around to buying the stuff you feel like you are living in a fantasy novel and tend to make stupid choices.  You may also be a teeny bit drunk.  I can assure you that in the real world, you probably have very few social situations where a chain-mail corset is a good idea.  Also, as charming as a stoneware wine goblet or a leather beer mug is, you do not actually enjoy hand washing dishes and you will resort back to your red SOLO cup once you get back home.  Also, the fairy dust doesn’t actually make you fly;  I have the skinned knees to prove it.

There are two things that you will need to bring to the Renaissance Festival, should you chose to go.  The first is your wallet.  You will probably not be able to use your credit cards there, and no one takes checks anymore, so you will need a lot of the green stuff.  You will also need a good attitude.  If you bring your happy face you will enjoy hours of laughing at the pickle man and the village idiot as well as snickering at the girl who thinks that a skin tight mini dress and stiletto heels are  proper attire for an outdoor festival.  Have fun!


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