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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

After a hot, frustrating season, Scarborough finally ended.

I think I finally figured out exactly what to say to people and began to feel comfortable selling my wares at the very end of the faire. I learned how to be positive and flexible carrying on whatever strange conversations customers wanted to have. One guy asked to see my stomach to check for tattoos or piercings.  Two twins said that they weren’t surprised my name was Hannah because all the Hannahs they know are pretty. A family asked if they could take a picture of me with the “traveling monkey”, which, to my relief, ended up being a stuffed animal and not a real simian.

I learned to gauge whether a parent would give in to their child’s pleas to buy a costume, and to nip the interaction in the bud if the parent wouldn’t budge. One little boy cried when his mom told him he couldn’t have a costume, and I wanted so badly just to give it to him. But that wouldn’t teach anyone a lesson, and I was thankful they walked away quickly.

I learned that drunk college students buy a lot of things they don’t need, and thirteen-year-old boys don’t like anything. Oh, and if you are a kid and you want something expensive, ask your dad, not your mom.

Closing weekend was a much bigger success, both monetarily and emotionally, than all of the other weeks. I was glad to leave Scarborough on a high note.

Then we packed up and left Texas, because Travis’ next jousting stop is the Colorado Renaissance Festival. Unlike the other faires we’ve been at, we’re camping at this one, which means eight weeks of living in a tent. I don’t have a booth at this faire, so I found a job selling corsets on faire days, and I have the rest of the week to myself. It seems completely ideal, but I’m kind of like a border collie – I need to have something to do constantly or else I go a little crazy. I’m trying to fill my days at least somewhat productively with sewing, sketching, research, and exercise. My weekend job is easy and fun, but it barely pays anything. I’m beginning to realize how much I equate my self-worth with making money, and I’m trying to learn to let it go. I have made money before, and I will make money again, but right now is my time to focus on other things.

I definitely feel like I’m getting the authentic Ren faire experience here. The only running water is from a hose, and the showers are the kind where you see everybody naked. (Despite the many saggy booties and unfortunate tattoos I’ve seen so far, the facilities are at least nicer than the ones in my college dorm, where an unidentified culprit periodically smeared poo all over the stalls and mirrors.) There is a constant waft of… ahem… herbal remedy smoke coming from somewhere on site. There are also a lot more unshaven legs, missing teeth, and faded tie-dye here than I’m used to. And ugly beards! Can anyone explain to me the correlation between Ren faires and really, really bad beards?

I haven’t seen one yet, but I’ve been warned that bears live in the area and wander into camp every now and again, so we have to keep all food in a cooler in the car. I have seen a bunny that lives under a wooden platform one campsite over from ours, and I just hope that if the Adventure Dog kills it, he eats the whole thing so I don’t have to clean it up. There are lots of spiders, moths, wasps, and weird orange bugs I’ve never seen before, and they have no regard for your territory.

On the positive side, the Colorado Renaissance Festival is really pretty. It’s on the side of a mountain, and there are lots of trees and mountain flowers and outdoor things to do. You get plenty of exercise and fresh air walking around the grounds, and it’s amazing to watch giant clouds build up around the mountain. The nights are cool, the days are warm, and so far our tent has not been destroyed by hail. But I certainly wouldn’t complain if the rest of my life after this faire season is utterly luxurious. Or, if not utterly luxurious, then at least maybe it can have flushing toilets and fewer spiders in the bed.

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Tomorrow morning my husband, my dog and I are driving from San Mateo, CA (near San Francisco) to Manheim, PA (that’s Amish country) to work at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire for three months. He’s jousting with Noble Cause Productions and I’m making costumes to start an online store and put my Theatre Arts degree to good use. We’re going to live in an apartment above the barn. This will be pretty ritzy living conditions for a Ren Faire, by which I mean it has electricity and is not a tent.

Our car is packed full of costumes, armour, sewing machines, fencing gear, musical instruments, art supplies, audiobooks and laptops. It’ll take four days to get across the country.

I’m expecting to meet a bunch of interesting people on this trip, so this blog’s purpose is to share their stories (how did you decide to become a fire swallower?) as well as to chronicle my own adventures setting up a costume shop in a barn 3,000 miles from home. I want to share an inside view of the Ren Faire so that whoever reads this can follow this gypsy life with me instead of just thinking of it as that weird thing that Travis and Hannah do. And to dispel any notions that Renaissance Faires are just for hippies and weirdos. I happen to own a smartphone, use conditioner, and have a day job to come back to in the fall, thankyouverymuch. And I bet a lot of the folks in kilts, corsets, and fairy wings do, too. I’ll let you know.

So check back later for exciting tales and fabulous pictures.

~H

and shouting

Him

Her
Adventure Dog

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