Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting Ready for the Renaissance Faire

June is when we start thinking about the Sterling Renaissance Festival. I got our tickets in May when they were on sale (I should have gotten them in December when they were even cheaper), and now we're waiting for the faire to begin in July. Yay!

Getting ready for the faire involves pulling out my kids' garb (that's the word rennies use for their period costumes), particularly so my daughter can try hers on. The boys don't worry about it too much, while my wife and I have had the same garb for years and it fits about the same as it ever did.

The next part of getting ready is that I pull out my CDs and we start listening to bands like Empty Hats. They've been my favorite Renaissance Faire band going back to the days of Double Indemnity in the 90s.

Next, I start browsing some Rennie websites again, mostly It's not a fruitful exercise, as this is the most active forum I've found and it's still pretty dead. There's also Family of Faire, but it gets even less traffic.If anybody knows of an active online community for the Sterling Renaissance Festival, I'd sure love to hear about it.

And lastly, this year I get to add one more preparation - I can play some of my favorite tunes on the guitar now. In addition to the lessons our guitar teacher has given us, my son and I are playing a selection of Renn Faire tunes each morning. If only I could master the F#m and Bm chords, I'd be able to play the heck out of the Renn Faire standard "Wylde Mountain Thyme." As it is, it sounds decent enough if you don't listen too closely at those parts.

Beyond all of that, it's just a countdown until the faire opens on July 4th weekend. I don't know for certain that we'll go the first weekend, of course. It's mostly up to the weather - you can have a LOT of fun at the faire in a light drizzle, but it's really no fun to be there when it's pouring or when it's scorching hot.

One thing I'm excited about is called Mock Faire Day. Apparently it's one of the best-kept "not really secrets" of the Sterling Faire. The Thursday before opening day is the cast's final dress rehearsal, and a full run-through of a day at the Faire. Since much of their acting is audience-participation, they welcome people to come in garb to help them rehearse. I took my daughter last year and it was an absolute blast. Walking the grounds that day took me back to when we first started going to the faire back in the early 1990s - it was a much more sylvan experience then, with more trees and fewer people. Last year there were a lot of new buildings and other changes to the grounds, and it was nice to get a chance to see them before the faire was open for business, too. I'm hoping that the weather and other factors (mostly the kids) cooperate such that we can go back again this year to help the cast and to enjoy a little alone-time with the place we love so much.

I like June and I'm not in any hurry to see it end, but when July gets here and the Renaissance Faire opens, we'll definitely be ready!

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