From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2006

Life in The Upper South...



Note: Most of the links below lead to photos.

Yesterday, I went with Keely and her boyfriend, Taurus (T.J.), to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival (commonly known as "Tenn-Ren".)

Arrival

We arrived at the festival at about 11:00 a.m. Several hundred carloads of people arrived before us, so we parked about 1/8 mile from the front entrance. A large crowd of people was waiting in front of the admission booth, and it took about 20 minutes to move along in line, pay, and finally enter the festival.

While we were waiting, it was interesting to observe what others were wearing for the day. This little girl was a cutie.

The shade of the faire grounds was a pleasant relief after standing in the sun to buy our tickets. (I am giving "faire" the spelling used by the Tenn-Ren website.)

Crowds waiting

We spent at least three hours just browsing through the market. Around 60 shops (tents and carts) were open for business and hundreds of faire-goers were milling about. Merchants and artisans were busily hawking their wares to anyone interested. These young folks put on a nearly non-stop stick-juggling show to entice people to buy their Crystal Stix.

Some of the goods for sale were particularly related to the Renaissance, such as gowns, cloaks, vests, coats, and pants for the period. Goods of interest to faire-goers from the medieval era included drinking horns and leather armor. Other arts and crafts for sale included ceramics, hats, small musical instruments, walking sticks, art prints, handmade boots and moccasins, nice wooden boxes, and even psychic readings.

Various costumes

Some of the faire-goers were dressed in authentic Renaissance garb. Others were wearing historic garb from other periods of time (like Keely's friend, Camille who is wearing an medieval-style apron dress that I sewed a couple of years ago). Keely, Taurus, and I wore medieval garb too. Some people wore their fantasy costumes (such as this lovely faun) and some were dressed in the theme of the day (pirates.)

Many other people were dressed in their everyday casuals. A close look at those in street clothes revealed that some with mundane clothing were sporting pointed elf ears, small faun horns, and other myth-y bits. I suspect that many of the horns came from this vendor (who was also selling tails from a nearby rack.)

Crowds

Keely (who loves to wear her garb) noted that the folks in garb and costume and the folks in street clothes often observe each other with equal curiosity about why they dress the way they do.

Queen of the Faire

The Queen made regular rounds of the Faire grounds with her company and graciously posed for dozens of photos. (The Queen with her lady-in-waiting.)

Rag Lady

The Rag Lady also circulated through the crowds, posing for photos and engaging and charming those around her. (The Rag Lady with curious onlookers.)

We also watched parts of several shows that were in progress, including the bellydancing, and even one complete show from start to end. Keely and Taurus went to see the birds (a golden eagle and others) that a falconer was exhibiting. (I needed to eat something so I could take a pill so I missed seeing the birds, to my regret.)

As we sat on a wonderfully cool rock wall in the main hall, a knight in chain mail was posing for pictures with some children. A little girl was convulsed with delighted horror at the thought of her brother getting conked in the head with the knight's battle hammer.

We could have seen glass blowing, jousting, various shows, and much more. The schedule included several events every half-hour. We also could have taken a bus to visit a nearby castle, but the lines were long so we didn't try. The tour would have been free with our admission to the faire, but there comes a time when enough is enough.

It was a fun excursion. The faire still runs through Memorial Day weekend, so if you live in the area, you might consider a visit.


A few of the many, many interesting sights of the day:

A performer with a great talent for getting the audience to participate in his songs and humorous nonsense. I don't know what group he was with.

Maze for the kids

The Giant Stryker where men can prove their brawn. (Or women can prove their brawn too,if they want.)

Lady Genevieve in medieval garb

Feather adornments for sale

Renaissance merchant humor

Keely and Taurus visiting the flower vendor

Staffs and walking sticks for sale

Merchant's sign with neat cut-outs

Incontrovertible evidence that "We were There"-- fantasy flowers, sun medallion, snood for the hair, feather, Tenn-Ren program, and market basket.


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2 comments:

Tudorw said...

I really enjoyed the virtual trip through the "faire" with your many photo linkss. If I lived in your area I too would dress the part of a medieval knight. I would like to join a re-enactor's group but, alas, no such groups where I live.

RunAwayImagination said...

I just got around to reading about your day at the Rennaisance Faire this spring. I attended one of the early shows in the 1970s, outside of Baltimore, MD when my kids were young. It was very primitive and charming.

I noticed that you include a quote from Mari Sandoz on your blog. I noticed her mentioned on the Gordon website, and then did a bit more research. I've just ordered "Old Jules" from our public library. She writes about the Sandhill pioneers, of whom I am descended but about whom I know little.

Thank you.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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