Saturday, October 6, 2012

Renaissaince Festival...of LOVE

One of my favorite things to do when I was growing up, was going to the Renaissance Festival.
We went every October. Rain or shine. The weather was always brilliant, even if it was rainy. I have seen some other festivals that seemed quite generic. The one I always went to, was in Bonner Springs, Ks.  Nothing compares to it. The grounds were MAGNIFICENT and I am not just indulging you. It is heavily wooded. Dotted with all the little shops and food areas. Beautiful trees, excellent scenery!

Where to begin?! Well let's start at the beginning. You park your car in a huge field. There is nothing in sight except a giant outdoor amphitheater right next door but it blends right in the parking lot. You begin to walk up to the entrance and you start to see all the trees in beautiful Autumn color. The outside entrance is very peasanty and rustic.

Once inside the wooden gates, you are immediately taken back to a different time. Each person was dressed in mediavel garb. From peasant clothing all the way to detailed royalty clothing in deep, rich colors. And back in the 80's, every single employee spoke in an English accent, even the food workers were dressed appropriate of the time and spoke in this accent.

As you walk around, you smell the woods, incents burning and nature all around you. Go in a little further and you will be greeted with the smell of turkey legs, hearty soups served in bread bowls or my all time favorite...Pizza on a stick! For dessert I always got to have an Orange Ice, which is an orange sliced in half with this orange flavored icee/sherbert type thing but it wasn't typical. I could not put my finger on the texture, it was like nothing else!

Most of the shops were nestled among the trees. Lined up in little nooks.  They were full of artisans who made their very own goods. Leather wear, giant walking sticks, windsocks, incents, candles. All kinds of things! My Dad always bought me a wreath made of ribbons to wear on my head.

Of course my favorite part was always the face painting, games and elephant rides! I loved getting my face painted and one year I saw the art teacher from my elementary school! I was so excited to see her there. It's always neat to see teachers in the real world. But since I saw her THERE, I thought she was cooler than ever! One of the games I always did was jousting. You got on this toy horse that was suspended by two ropes. Then they handed you your very own jousting stick. They would pull and pull and lift you into the air! They let go and you went flying down and you had to hit the target with your stick and get the ring off the little gadget. I never won!! There was also log rolling and one game where you sat on a giant log and tried to knock your opponent off with a burlap sack!

Toward the middle of the day, we always got to watch the real jousting. Time to take a load off in the stands and watch the giant horses race back and forth with the men in their suits of armour.

If you needed to use the restroom, even that was outdoors and whimsical. Not at all like any other outdoor event. Every area of this place was in character! The outhouses were wooden and were called Privies.

As the day would wind down, the air would get cooler. The smells were even deeper and your sense of peace was at an all time high. There was always a parade at the end of the day. You would wait over by the wooden exit gates. While waiting, children could wrap ribbons around a tall pole, it was very  beautiful. Once you heard the parade coming, you were silent! Eyes glued to every person walking by! There were the peasants, the court jesters, the children acrobats and finally the King and Queen. All were dressed of the time. They were singing, dancing and laughing loudly.

Walking to the car, you knew....the day was over. It would be a whole year before going back. Many times we were with my Dad's friends. I remember them so well and they too loved the experience. I went every year as a child. And even into my 20's! When I grew up and moved away, I missed it for the first time. As the years went by, I missed a few more. But then when I met my husband I insisted on taking him! He had  never been to one. And even if he had, it would not compare to this one.
He had a wonderful time, and so did I. But I don't think words can express just how good a time I actually had! It had been several years since I'd been to this magical place. This place so dear to my heart since childhood. Now, to experience it with a brand new love in my life was just.....
A festival of love.

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