Friday night before opening day, Tennessee was drenched with almost four inches of rain and even a tornado in the northern portion, so it was with great delight that we woke to the end of the rain and promise of a fair day ahead. A Faire day indeed it was! By the time of official opening gate, we were still under cloud cover, but that soon dissipated and we were treated to perfect Faire weather…Mid 70’s with blue skies and light breezes. Conditions were a wee bit muddy, but most of the seating areas were already dry by the time we gained access.
As at every Faire, one of the highlights is seeing old friends…Those of us from R/F.com attended, and it was great to catch up with them again…As always, first person I greeted was kirkrhughes, then RenFairePhotog wasn’t far behind. The venerable Syrilla, as Queen Elizabeth I, soon appeared to conduct the official Opening Gate Ceremonies. Inside the gates, we met up variously with bmgjarvis, Pickles, Avidd, and Gimli. I know there are new members as well that I didn’t get to meet yet. Pickles has again outdone herself in clothing for cast and friends; Lord Jason showed up as a nobleman; Pickle’s husband, Ernie, is handsome as a member of the Queen’s Guard; her daughter, Esther, is exquisite as a noblewoman; and Pickles herself is a most becoming Autumn Faery.
There are some changes in some lives and the Faire site itself. One of the improvements is the addition of a couple of “Stand and Snack” areas set up near the Red Hook Pub. Many of the privies are a step up from previous years, with some having a shelf inside (for your baskets or whatnot) and a mirror on the door. The wheelchair privies are large enough to accommodate hoop skirts, something the ladies can appreciate.
I started my day inside the grounds listening to the sounds of Empty Hats as they entertained one and all just after the front covered bridge entrance. I moved up the hill to listen to Joe Jewel and Featherstone (returning this year after an absence), presenting mostly lively tunes with hammered dulcimer as lead instrument. Working my way across the grounds, The Roses (no more hurdy-gurdy player, but they are just as strong as ever) treated us to traditional instrumental tunes. I settled down to a good hour at the Crosswinds Stage, enjoying the musical antics of Empty Hats followed by Craig of Farrington with his particular twist on tunes from beautiful ballads to bawdy songs and troubadour tales.
With a bit of time, I perused many familiar shops and some grand new additions; we have a fabulous bookseller with a coin/medallion minter next door and some new scents available round the corner from them. This first day I was unable to make it down to the jousting field, but managed to catch Paolo Garbanzo wow the crowds as always with his fire-eating and juggling act and Baraka Mundi, Middle Eastern musicians and dancers immediately after…
Onca and Dima, of Baraka Mundi, have returned to the Faire, much to my delight, as they are my favorites of the belly dancers. They will be at Tribal Fest out in California over the next two weekends but will return and be at all three days of Memorial Day weekend for everyone’s enjoyment. In their place, for the next two weekends, will be other dancers from their troupe and they assure me that they will be just as entertaining.
Sunday dawned even better than Saturday, and we were treated to another perfect day, a bit cooler, but with no clouds to be seen. I betook myself to the jousting field, taking advantage of the breezy morning and watched a rousing match…Handsome men in armour, beautiful horses strutting about the field and cheering crowds…What’s not to like? Moving on to the Highland Manor Stage, I enjoyed Porter and Stout’s fine musical piratical offerings, followed by Johnny Phoenix’ show this day. Johnny was hoarse (no doubt from his big 4-0 birthday celebrations of the previous day, or it could just be the pollen this year), but, being the pro that he is, he put on a grand entertainment for everyone. I also was able to fit in a sitting with Lady Ettie and her very educational show on Ettie-quette and Chivalry before enjoying Death Stands Up. Morty (as Death is known to his close friends) is looming larger than last year (i.e. he is at least twice the size), but I still find his views on life, death, and history just as engaging.
The sad ending of the day drew near and I decided to see what The Royal Improv Show was like this year, they of course quickly replaced my sadness with laughter…Once again, one of my favorite places to be, this show is not to be missed! Unfortunately, they ran a bit late and I wasn’t able to catch all of Pub Sing as is my wont, but I’m sure that all will tighten up in the schedule as the weeks progress. There are, once again, too many acts to see every one in a weekend, so my apologies to those I didn’t see yet, I try to see everyone at least once through the season. As always, Faire Season is too short, as are Faire days. As this weekend drew to a close, and I drove back into the sunset after Faire, I couldn’t help but smile, enjoying the fact that this is just the beginning, with the grand finale of Rendezvous III/Ménage Ette Trois on Memorial Day Weekend!Tweet This