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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Friday afternoon, on my way home from work, I heard a radio ad for the Arizona Renaissance Faire, and I decided that turkey legs, AKA non-stop feasting, was in my cards. I've never actually been to a Ren Faire, and since Todd hasn't been since he was in high school, we all decided it was time to get our joust on.

The first thing we did when we got there was get raspberry mead and some turkey legs, which is why my camera lens looks greasy; see, the thing is old and when it turns on, the lens only opens halfway and I have to use my finger to push it open completely. I did it with a turkey-leg-touching finger, as evidenced in the first two photos. Observe:

Here is Alexandra looking a little skeptical. (In her defense, there were an awful lot of ample-gutted gals running around with their shirts knotted at their ribcages thanks to the boost of confidence one receives from a dangerous combination of daytime drinking and belly dancing scarves for sale. The first ten minutes I kept going "Oh my God! Oh my GOD!")

Turkey Leggs! An extra G for extra medievalness!

This is after about an hour or so, and Alex, after having spotted a lucky scallywag with an ear of corn, kept shouting "Cohn! Cohhhhrn!!" so we got her one. And aside from a few stolen bites from mom and dad, she annihilated it, much like William the Conquerer annihilated his opponents in 1066.

How can a little Goblin Girl look so adorable devouring corn on the cob? Is it the warm embrace? The slight sneer behind the veggie? Who knows!

Ah, the Dancing Pig Pub where, ironically perhaps, there was a belly dancing show going on.

The biggest, most castley looking place was called Boss Wench. Todd originally though it said Bossy Wench and of course looked at me with a glint of mischief and triumph in his eye, until I corrected him (non-bossily) that it said BOSS Wench, and that I agreed with the sentiment. Then I made him give me five dollars for another goblet of grog.

Then, much to our delight, we saw they were giving elephant rides! Drinks were as expensive as elephant rides so naturally we just sat on the sidelines, but even cuter was Todd obviously not liking the idea of his 22 month old daughter riding a huge ferocious pachyderm. Admittedly, part of me wondered if they weren't mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, but truly they just looked sleepy and only mildly annoyed at the pirate looking guy with the hook-stick thing who was wearing far too much purple.

The elephants were at the far end of the Faire, so we doubled back and meandered about. The shop fronts were absolutely adorable, and coupling that with the extremely colorful people-watching made it non stop entertainment. The employees of course had great costumes but some of the patrons had amazingly intricate costumes. I wanted to be more vigilant in my photo taking, capturing some of the cool outfits on camera, but honestly, I was too in the moment with my family to do it.

We visited a petting zoo too, and while Alex was too young to reach most of the animals, she still got to see almost all of the illustrious creatures on her puzzles: horses, cows, sheep, geese, ducks and chickens, rabbits and a dog. There were musicians, performers, hecklers, and vagabonds, and a whimsical-looking girl dressed all in white, sitting in the middle of the fairway, playing a violin exquisitely.

I could have just wandered up and down all afternoon, gazing at the over-priced trinkets, eating a bread bowl and maybe another turkey legg and drinking my weight in Ace Pear Cider and/or wine, but thanks to sleeping late and a stupid detour in Florence, AZ, we only got there at 2pm and at 5pm there was a joust to the death.

On the left is the Master of Arms, and the right, our noble-hearted champion. I was really impressed with their horsemanship. The Master of Arms had a beautiful horse, very high spirited, and at one point I leaned over to Todd and I was like "That horse has the same expression as Bingley." and Todd said "You mean full of bursts and mischief?" and I said "Yes, exactly! Now give me that pretzel."

This little firebrand was the cheerleader, of sorts, for our section of the bleachers. She mimed swigging booze out of a bottle so you know she had our instant respect and admiration. Her outfit was extraordinary, too. Nothing over the top fancy-wise, but just absolutely charming and to my untrained eye, pretty believable.

There in the second level balcony are the king, queen and their royal party. Blah, blah, blah. Bring on the bloodshed!

Oh, ok, so the dude in purple is an ally to our champion, but since he's from France he is like the token black guy in a horror movie and we know he is going to die first. As I told Todd "Why is it ALWAYS France?!"

Ah, here's a better shot of the little lady's outfit and her bodice.

Alexandra was, needless to say, transfixed. Looking left...

Then right...

Suit up, hombres! It's time to biddy-battle! JOUST TO THE DEEEAAAAAATH. I especially like the punk-rock hair-do girl who I guess is the champion's page.

Show your fealty! Yarr! I am a medieval pirate! Me lady!

Hello, your highness.

Ready yet?

See, this is what my camera lens cover does, it only opens halfway. But in this shot, Todd and I agreed it looked it was taken from the perspective of one of the knights peering through their visors. So I kept it. If you can't tell, it's my little cheerleader girl raising her bottle in comaraderie.

Burst! By this point everyone's dead. Frenchie was first to go with a nasty throat-slicing, then the big burly guy in yellow and black, complete with a mace, was killed by the traiterous evil guy who is either from Slytherin or New Jersey, and then finally, our champion, our young, long-haired knight, saved the day at the last moment! Back on your horse, noble sir, and ride to victory!


We had such a blast. It was a long, long drive, almost two hours, but part of me would really, really like to go again, even if we did spend over $100.

P.S. Don't make fun of the travel tag; day trips are still trips.

I hope you all head out to your local (or two-hour-away) Ren Faires for the non-stop feasting, the bloodshed and all those bare bellies!

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