One day of Spring Break was devoted to one of my favorite things: Renaissance festival. Huzzah!
My drive was a bit farther this year since I live in St. Pete now. But it was definitely worth the drive. As I approached the turn-off to the festival, I passed the traffic line to Busch Gardens. I couldn’t help but think how much more fun Renaissance festival is in comparison (and less of a line, at least when I arrived.)
I had a bit of a panic when I parked. I thought I’d left my wallet at the gas station where I bought coffee, close to St. Pete. Fortunately, I’d just dropped it near the car. Crisis averted, I entered the faire.
This year you received a small discount for buying your tickets in advance. I bought mine the night before, and I decided to do something I’d never done before at the faire: Pub Crawl with The Black Velvet Band.
I started with my Renaissance faire breakfast tradition: a Scotch egg. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage deliciousness. At faire, the yolks of the eggs are typically completely cooked (unlike the picture), though I imagine it would be delicious this way, if a bit messy.
While eating, a duel broke out right in front of me. Bull whips and sword play gathered a crowd of all ages. The children who helped the hero win the battle ultimately learned a lesson of mercy.
After breakfast, I took a walk around the faire to people watch, check out the shows, and see the wares of the vendors. I had a button malfunction on my bag, so I took a few minutes to fix that. I made it last year. It’s meant to be rustic, but I want to make some modifications to it.
Mostly I did a lot of walking and observing. It wasn’t in the cards for my friends to join me this year, so I was alone. There were faeries, mermaids, dragons. There were feats of strength, birds of prey, and treasures galore. A handsome shopkeeper complimented my haircut. Two older ladies and I had a conversation about the elephant. I happened upon one of my favorite bands, The Black Velvet Band, before their set was through. Kenny Toombs was contact juggling, in the same fashion as Jarith in The Labyrinth. Amazing…
I got my picture taken with my favorite herbaceous man. The Renaissance festival website lists his name as “The Plant Guy.” I can’t help but think of him as Greenman, god of the forest. He’s got a million and five great plant-y puns. He’s one of my favorites to visit at the faire.
One shop had 10+ lb rolls of leather for $45. Mine ended up being 11 lbs I wasn’t going to spend so much at the festival, so I walked and thought about it for awhile. But then I went back and got a roll. It was a damn fine price! I’ll be making projects out of that leather for a long time.
Soon enough it was time for the pub crawl. The Black Velvet Band did a fine job leading it. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. It cost $35, for which you get a mug, a leather “passport” that gets stamped at each pub, and a beer at each of three pubs. You’re definitely paying for the experience, since the mug and the cost of the beer even out the price. The leather passport is not really even worth doing, because the leather wasn’t wet enough for the person to stamp it properly. At each pub, there’s a wait though The Black Velvet Band did a great job filling the time with jokes, music, and games. Overall it was a good time, but I’d prefer if it were a better deal. (Or I’m Ok with it if a goodly portion of the proceeds go to the guys in the band.)
After the pub crawl I talked with some of the other participants. One woman said she really liked my outfit, and that my boobs looked fantastic. 🙂 Ah, the things that can start a friendship… She and her friend were interested in hanging out at some point, since her friend lives in St. Pete too. We exchanged numbers. I hope we do end up meeting up again.
We parted ways, and I did a last lap around the grounds. Shops were closing up, the faire was clearing out. I hadn’t meant to stay the entire day, but I was there from opening until very near closing. And I had a fantastic time.
Sometimes I feel awkward being at places by myself. In a crowd you can feel lonely. There were times throughout the day I wished I’d had company, but overall I enjoyed my day in the moment. Watching, experiencing, enjoying. I am glad I joined the pub crawl for a little bit of camaraderie, but overall I felt good in my own skin. I’m glad I didn’t let my friends’ schedule conflicts and whatnot keep me from going.