Tag Archives: Renaissance Faire

Fall means tradition

And tradition means Ren Faire, a Pumpkin Patch, and Halloween. I’ll be breaking these classic Fall posts into three installments so that I can put more pictures into each one! Muahahaha! So without too much more initial babbling I’ll get to it…The Renaissance Faire. Better than last year because the kids were older although not without some good life lessons learned (like winning the best prize ever one year, does not really mean it will happen again, and Miss Layna Dawn hates noise. Oh wait, I totally already knew those. Right.)

Homeschooling wins everything, but we added another triumph to the list. Yes “Student Days” are sheer craziness with a capital CRAY CRAY, but this year we learned. We got there later (missing the opening rush) and stayed to close since we didn’t have to be back before any bell rang. When we meandered out it was all but deserted. It was so awesome.

(I’m really tempted to let my husband buy me a newer iPhone just so I can upgrade my camera. Sorry about the meh pictures.) Little Miss doesn’t do heat or noise. There was much to be had of both, I’m afraid. So we happily watched the jousting with me blowing on the back of her neck while firmly covering her ears. It’s mom-fu at it’s finest.


I’m so glad I married a man who gets that you can cheer really loud and make a complete idiot of yourself and it’s ok. It means that I’m in good company at all the cheesy events I drag our family too. I love jousting, and this year it was so cool to listen to my big ones talk about the horses (wondering what breeds they were and comparing notes) and commenting on the saddles (our knight had an Australian saddle). Score one for riding lessons! They are now knowledgeable horse people (or something).


Remember that thing about people not being afraid to really get into the cheesiness of an event? Another reason I love Ren Faire. Normal adults playing pretend for 2 whole months! This guy was great. He even let me video him wishing my sister a happy birthday so I could send it to her in Taiwan. How’s that for best random birthday text ever!?

Traditions are great because they get better with time. We saw so many of the same people from last year, including the Raptor rescue show with the same host. Neil chose a great seat and I took the coolest slow-motion video of an owl flying over our heads. If my tech savvy husband were here to make my computer behave I’d attempt to upload it. But alas he is working. You’ll have to settle for the hawk.


My girls got to watch a show on historical heroines and then attend hero/heroine training. They took it very seriously.

Back to life lessons…Naomi waited 365 days to play the dragon egg hatching game to win a $80 puppet like Garyn did last year. Brought her own money and everything. She ended up with two kind of cool dragon eye necklaces and a whole lot of disappointment. But she soldiered on and took our advice to focus on experiences rather than things for her parent funded activity/treat/thing. And now she can say that she has ridden a camel.

Role models.


By the end of the day this one announced that he wanted to spend all his time working with molten metal of any kind. When can kids start welding classes? Of course, molten glass was pretty captivating, too. I got another blown glass ornament for our Christmas tree and I figure by the time the kids all move out, I’ll have a pretty respectable collection to fill in all the gaps left by the ornaments they take with them.


This one wanted her picture taken with every fancy statue there was (and I’m graciously sparing you the other 13 pictures of exactly that) but this one…I mean, how often do you get to grab a pirate by the dreadlocks? Best. Day. Ever.





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Renaissance Faires are some of my favorite places ever to visit. Mostly its just great to have a time outside of Halloween to wear a fun costume and go see a ton of other geeky adults getting together to celebrate geekiness. (Quick aside: When did Halloween become “National dress like a hooker day”? It really bothers me. Oi.) Plus, I can call it school for the day, so winning all over the place. The Renaissance Faire in Las Vegas is a fairly respectable affair with all the jousting, turkey legs, and  craftiness one would expect. The one here in Charlotte is even better as it has a permanent location. That means buildings and a glass blowing kiln (I bought the coolest hand blown ornament for our Christmas tree!), and a set jousting arena. Open every weekend in October and November it also has the advantage of crowds spread over more than just 3 days. However, we choose to go on one of their “Education Days.” We went on a set Tuesday specifically geared towards elementary and middle school aged kids. Oh. My. Field Trips. Any crowd advantage was lost and next year we might just go on a weekend and maybe avoid some of the madness. But who knows? Maybe weekends are worse. We shall see next year, and in the mean time, even with hordes of munchkins running amok, it was still awesome.

He didn’t dress up but he happily came with us and that, as you know, makes every aspect of the outing infinitely better. Daddy is the favorite, after all.

Friends were made and pictures taken!

img_2394Low key Costume, but fun none the less. I made this bodice when I was in high school for my very first Ren Faire and I’m happy I can still sport it on occasion.

Lunch on the bleachers while we waited for jousting was simple: apples, cheese and meat, homemade bread and cookies (maybe I should call it “Authentic”) and it started to fill up with people right as we finished eating. Yelling and cheering and booing, it was cool to see the armor and horses and the competition…all my kids were fans of the whole thing.

The Falconry show was one of our favorite things that we watched. The birds were loose to fly to various perches around the audience and they mostly came back when called. Owls, falcons and Kookaburras, oh my! Before the birds, though, there was a super cool juggling show that we caught the tail end of.

This is definitely going to be new a fall tradition for our family. Especially since Garyn had the great fortune to win a Merkel. The girls are all hoping for one next year.


That, my friend, is a Merkel. His name is Devin.




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Age of Chivalry

That’s the name of our local Renaissance Faire, which we recently attended. I’ve decided that for me, going to Ren Faire is the adult equivalent to “I want to run away and join the circus.” There is a part of me that wonders (with just a touch of wistfulness) what would it be like if that is what you did…traveled from one Ren Faire or historical reenactment to another doing cool stuff like  weaving trim on a inkle loom whilst wearing a gorgeous period costume and talking to everyone in a cool accent? Le Sigh. I wasn’t even planning on going, but when I finished the kids Halloween costumes ahead of schedule and a friend mentioned that they were going, I reconsidered. I’m all about a Halloween costume getting as much use as possible and going with a friend made the whole thing seem less overwhelming. Throw in a borrowed double stroller, free admission, the prospect of a meat pie and I couldn’t wait. [Warning: Ren Faires are highly photogenic events. Please excuse the ridiculous amounts of pictures in this post and just know that I pared down considerably.]

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Halloween costume preview. Also I’ve decided that the Faire was the most amazing place for my children. Not only are you encouraged to talk to anyone and everyone…most of the people who are dressed up, are at the Faire for the sole purpose of talking to inquisitive kids! It was such a nice change of pace…to be saying, “Go say hi! Ask the scary looking pirate where his ship is! Curtsy to the queen before launching into a 5 minute monologue about your fairy costume and how you are going to wear it on your upcoming trip to the Feywild!”

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Adventurers all. Plus a dragon.

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Ok. During the jousting, both of my little girls ’bout lost their minds. Corra was bouncing and giggling and pointing like mad at all the horses and she couldn’t get enough. Layna spent the whole time burying her head in my shoulder, screaming, and demanding that I keep my hands over her ears. That one doesn’t do loud noise. While we were standing well away from the arena a very nice Wild clan member with some very creative piercings tried to make her smile. Layna was distracted but didn’t quite know what to make of the wolf on the girls head or the white and black body paint. Huzzah for Ren Faire!

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It was so cool to bring the big kids as they are now old enough to care about the historical crafts and other stuff that people demonstrate. They came home and wanted me to print out more Celtic designs for them to paint. Now I just need to learn how to spin hair into yarn on an old fashioned spinning wheel! Oh, it will happen.

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Layna was digging the homemade crane and Naomi was in heaven being fussed over by a royal court.

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After a yummy (if not period accurate) lunch we were able to continue on. The meat pie was delicious.

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Friends were made everywhere (now I get to explain to Naomi why she can’t wear the green feather that her friend let her keep to church today). My little fairy and warrior monk (he’ll be a warrior monk mouse for Halloween) were very popular with everyone. I love the Renaissance Faire and it only is going to get easier to take the munchkins as the little girls get older. Who knows? Maybe someday Layna will be ok with “We Will Rock You” over a loud speaker? Maybe. Although next year I’m totally dressing up…better get on making a peasant shirt to go under the bodice I made in high school for my first Ren Faire.

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Ye Olde Pirate Shirt…

Luckily pirate shirts are easy to throw together. And since they are fairly gender neutral, they can be passed down from brother to sister. Why does all this matter? Because we got to go to a Renaissance Faire, put on by our homeschool group in honor of the older kids completing an intense Shakespeare course.  We needed to dress the part and Little man had out grown his shirt. I made him a new one and got to work on our booth. Every family was asked to choose a booth to be part of a market place and to design a coat of arms to go with it.

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This is the actual McGuire coat of arms. Well minus the cranky goat guy holding a tray of cheese and bread. It should be a knight on a white horse, but I like my goat guy better. I opted for cheese and bread, because I had a hard cheese in the fridge ready to be cut and, honestly, I like to show off. Trader Joe’s supplied a few crusty loaves of bread and some Swiss, gouda, and sharp cheddar to round out the booth. My ego is happy to report that my home-made goat milk cheese was a hit and one person even asked how he could buy some for real (on his fifth or sixth trip back to the booth).

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Have I ever mentioned what a good sport my husband guy is? Years ago I made him a pirate shirt for the Las Vegas Ren Faire, but never finished putting elastic in the sleeve cuffs. So they are a bit long. And baggy. But he loves me, so  happily (and sarcastically) he rolled them up, wore his belt over the shirt, and helped our kids enjoy the market place.

This is Layna’s pirate face and the closest thing I could find to Ren Faire wear. She enjoyed swiping cheese off the table (I think she ate half a wedge of gouda by herself).

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The way the market worked was everyone got a cup full of “ducats” (they were acorns of some sort, I’m guessing from someone’s park or yard.) You could then buy stuff at the booths with the ducats. I think little man’s favorite was the homemade ale (root beer) and sword fighting. Although he did come home with a nifty crown and a jester hat. His new shirt is my best attempt (third times the charm, what?) and he just wore some dark khaki cargo pants and a belt from the dress up bin. I was going to make him a vest or a tunic, but I ran out of time.

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This one came home with a belly full of cheese, root beer, and popcorn and…TWO PRINCESS HATS! It was a good night indeed. Daddy also helped her make a clothes pin doll. I tried to tell her that pirate girls have laces on their shirts and wear their shirts tucked in, but alas, she wouldn’t have it. I tried. The skirt was a mini-ish skirt from my sister that I plan on turning into a real shirt for this one eventually. For now two safety pins were enough.

There are no pictures of me. Which is a shame because I’m not sure when I’ll fit into my pretty Ren Faire corset again. As it was Neil couldn’t pin (I use safety pins up the back because it is another sewing project that I never finished) the bottom and I couldn’t really breathe, especially if I was sitting down. Oh well. I have big plans for a real Elizabethan outfit once I’m back down to a size I would be willing to sew for.

Overall it was awesome and this always strikes me about homeschool kids…no fights, no tears, no drama. Garyn had a conversation with a very tolerant 15 year old girl. Then he went back to running around with his friend who is a very advanced 5 year old, but almost 2 years younger than him. Everyone plays well with everyone and for the most part not one of the kids is socially awkward (including all the teenagers who came to buy bread and cheese). It will be great when that stereotype finally bites the dust. [climbs down from soap box]. I’m so grateful for the work that went into the evening and all the very cool families we get to be friends with.

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