Sunday, May 6, 2012

And a good time was had by all...

Tomorrow Younger Daughter turns 14! (*sob* My baby...)

When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she replied "A new pair of ear buds and some fun tea." So we got her some ear buds, and let her choose some fun teas. (Note: the blueberry tea is terrific.)

Yesterday we made our annual excursion to the Moscow Renaissance Faire for a day of fun and as Younger Daughter's birthday excursion. Together with our friends (the children of Enola Gay and Sir Knight), the kids dressed in costumes of sorts, a kind of rakish combination of steampunk and Renaissance.

Here's the group from my car:

("Now do something goofy!")

Here's the entire group once the other party found a parking spot and joined us.

Having spent years doing Renaissance Faires (and becoming something of Ren Faire snobs as a result), by no stretch of the imagination could this festival be called a true Ren Faire. It's more like a hippy festival. But it's an absolute hoot and has become a favorite outing.

The first thing we saw on the main stage was a group playing eight xylophones hand-made in Zimbabwe out of gourds, PCV pipes, and other materials. Eight xylophones is something you don't hear very often and it was a really neat sound.

On the smaller stage was a group called the Potlatch Junior Jammers which was a terrific group of fiddlers.

This young lady had a smile the whole time.

As proof that this is nowhere near a "real" Renaissance Faire, consider this popular booth: Tie-Dye Everything.

This would never be found at a true Ren Faire, but boy was it colorful. And if you ever have a sudden urge for tie-dye boxer shorts, this is the place to go.

I liked this wooden Noah's Ark one vendor was selling.

Older Daughter watches a vendor display his wares.

Bungee bouncing was quite popular.

A couple of jugglers on cleverly-disguised stilts.

Every year the fair sets up a tent full of "recycled" (i.e. what would otherwise be garbage) materials for children.

Here children are invited to come in and make glittery crowns or cardboard swords or whatever else they like. Terrific idea.

Maypole dancing.

Since it was Younger Daughter's birthday celebration, Older Daughter wanted to find a gift that was the most obnoxiously immature she could find. This was the result of her search. Younger Daughter named it Squishy and won't admit that she's rather fond of it. (It grows on you...)

Every year a raptor rehabilitation facility has injured (and therefore unreleasable) birds on display for public education. This is a great gray owl, arguably the largest owl in the world (there are some species which are heavier, but none are bigger). I used to survey great gray owls when I worked as a field biologist in Oregon many years ago, but never had the privilege of seeing one up close. Gorgeous.

A popular aspect of this fair is the dragon, cleverly made of (mostly) netting so children can go under it. Here are Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin, hiding among the colorful ribbons.

Toward the end of the day, the dragon goes on a parade around the park and all children are invited to participate (which thrills the youngest kids, as you can imagine). Older children support the dragon's lightweight frame on umbrellas. Way cool.

Here's the dragon on parade...

...with a delighted Master Calvin participating (his older sister was holding an umbrella).

Other parade participants included a bagpipe band...

...with this interesting slogan on their drum ("Caveat auditor") -- which, if my Latin doesn't fail me, means "Let the listener beware." Funny.

We left the fair in the late afternoon, after which the littlest kids zonked out in the car. As a dear friend used to phrase it, "And a good time was had by all."


  1. Cool! We went to a Ren Faire yesterday too! It was the one in Waxahachie, TX.


  2. Hey my own 13 year old turns 14 on the 9th! This post is so fun, you really made me want to leave the house. lol Besides our few social outings at Enola's, and boring grocery shopping, we've really not gone anywhere since moving here. Hmm. Time to go look up local happenings.
    :) Aubrey

  3. It looks like you all had a good time. What a nice place for a birthday.

  4. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)May 6, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Happy Birthday to youngest daughter! What a great way to celebrate - going to a fair. Looks like everyone had a good time. Love the Maypole - (had one every year at school when I was a child) it's nice to see that some traditions are still with us. Thanks for sharing!

  5. what fun!!! and those kids look soooooo happy!

  6. Happy Birthday To Your Baby Girl, now grown up daughter!!! Looks like everyone had a blast at the Ren Fair. I love the wooden animals and the ark.
    I enjoyed viewing the pictures of the kids enjoying themselves.

  7. Everyone has a RenFaire ,it seems..what about a StimpyFaire? A for-no-good-reason-other-than-fun-faire. Some of the best get-togethers are ones that form for no other reason than to get out, meet other people and have some fun.

  8. Hi Patrice - Please tell Younger Daughter Sarah & Hannah wish her a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I so wished we would be back home before the Ren Faire. I'd been looking forward to it since reading your post on last years visit. Ahhh, there is always next year. Hoping to see you all soon! : ) j

    1. (waving) Hi back, Jessica! Give our love to the girls, we can't wait to see you guys when you head back this way.

      - Patrice

  9. Zounds! What be those oddly shaped metalic objects on poles, apparently held in place by ropes of an unknown substance.

    I spied them there upon the theatrical stage wherein the group of xylophone practicioners were providing an entertainment for the passers-by.

    I know not what they were, cluttering up that space.

    Microphones you say?

    Why pray tell would those of a musical bent employ small sounds? I see not how they produce any sound at all.

    I am all astonishment and confusion.

    (Okay, I could probably tell you the make and model of the majority of them, but at a Renaissance Faire?)

  10. I don't want to rain on the parade, but it doesn't appear to me that all were having a great time at the Faire. Oldest daughter has a beautiful smile, as do all the kids... with one exception. I'm assuming youngest daughter is the one with the eye-patch on her left eye? Is it me, or does she look a bit surly and unhappy? No smiles, and doing "something goofy" is bending forward slightly at the waist? We have 3 daughters, and they all went through some strange stages in their early teens. The middle daughter got over it nicely, but the oldest and youngest did not. We didn't notice the sometimes grumpy surliness until it was too late. Many of us parents often don't notice the forest for the trees. Maybe your youngest was uncomfortable for some reason, possibly physical. We just wish someone had pointed a few things out to us way back when. You might want to sit down and have a little talk with her, make sure all is well.

    1. LOL -- your concerns are well-noted but fortunately groundless. Younger Daughter is at the age where she adopts a deliberately grumpy look solely when asked to pose for photos (it doesn't help that I apparently have a camera surgically attached to my hand and am forever snapping pix of everything around me). Thankfully she's a sunny child 90% of the time and I'm confident that whatever surly moment she experiences will pass as she gets older.

      But I genuinely thank you for your concern -- it's a wise parent who heeds such hidden messages.

      - Patrice

  11. Oh drat! I missed an opportunity to wear my green Italian renaissance outfit that cost me $35 to make! I need to make a note and go to that one next year. Hopefully there will be another ren faire in Green Acres in October again this year. Y'all should come to that if you can make it!


  12. The infamous Moscow Ren Faire Dragon--also known in our family as the Mangler, ever since the year our son, who was at the front of the dragon, dropped his glasses--which were then trampled by every kid behind him. He actually kept them for years afterward, as proof that, yes, they really did get *that* badly demolished.