Another memorable Tenn-Renn
It rained Friday night but the clouds seemed to be dissipating on Saturday morning. We rendezvoused at the Clarksville Books-A-Million and took two cars to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. Isaac drove the guys, and the girls rode with me. (At left: Taurus at Books-A-Million, wearing his kilt and his Indiana Jones hat.)
One glance at the Tenn-Renn grounds told us that an excess of rain had fallen recently. The grassy field that serves as parking lot was a maze of muddy tire tracks. "Park at your own risk," signs along the edge of the field warned. (The real meaning of the signs: Tenn-Renn will not get your car out of the mud for you.)
We drove into the field and parked as directed in a long double-row of cars, half-a-dozen rows from the bottom. Then we walked down the long hill to the ticket booths and fair gates, avoiding the mud as much as possible.
The fairgoers were enjoying the shows, food, shopping, and other attractions. It was Pirate Weekend and many people were wearing pirate garb (ranging from slightly to seriously piratical.) I didn't see as many people costumed as fantasy and mythical characters as I've seen previously.
All of the streets at Tenn Renn are graveled. Many of them were a little wet, and some of them were muddy. The heavy foot traffic around the tents in the market brought lots of saturated soil to the surface. The maintenance people had tossed wood chips and straw on the muddiest spots. Still, our shoes were soon splashed and speckled with mud, and we lifted our long skirts to try to keep them dry.
Some of the sights and wonders at this year's Renn Faire:
- Renaissance band near the entrance
- Matrons listen to the band and watch the crowd.
- A little boy cranes to see a performance.
- A fairy with a hairy tail
- The Bag Lady says she added a few trinkets to her dress this year.
- Craig of Farrington serenaded Keely, Annie, and me. (See how the sun is shining.)
- An herbal soap merchant performs a soap opera. (Note to the soap merchant: The web address you gave me doesn't work. Please send the correct one.)
- A lady dragon, I presume.
- These fairies disagreed about who would be in the photo.
- A ringtail is a zing-tail.
- Queen Elizabeth I greets a festival guest.
- The queen is gracious to even the smallest faire-goers. (Notice the mud. When she stood up, she quipped that she seemed to be listing to one side!)
- A troll lumbers by and glowers.
- A damsel with her market basket
- Loony Lucy poses with her pink parasol.
- A man and wife with nice, color-coordinated costumes (It is hard to know which people in the crowd are members of the troupe and which are playtrons, showing off their best garb.)
- Keely says this one-stocking look is very "Amy Brown".
- Master Falconer Kitty Tolson-Carroll (photo at right) represents Birds of the Gauntlet
- Belly-dancing jewelry in the market
- This merchant had beautiful wooden staffs and handmade brooms.
- A dazzle of crystals (One of my favorite photos from this year's festival.)
- An armored knight with his war hammer and his Gothic lady
- This knight clanked as he walked.
- Just before the rain
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of either my garb or Keely's. I made and wore a silvery linen dress that is long and medievalish. Keely made and wore a black skirt with a beautiful copper-colored bodice.
The weather goes bad
After wandering through the market for a while, we decided to go to a couple of the shows. Afterward, we walked to the area beside the jousting field, and as we left the cover of the trees, I noticed a very large, dark cloud that was nearly overhead. I decided to head for the car and Annie decided to go with me.
As we headed for the front gate, it began to sprinkle. We heard a policeman urging people to leave immediately. A little boy, clutching his umbrella, started to cry. His dad called him back to the shelter of the trees. His grandma said the trees weren't safe and they should head for the car. I don't know what they decided to do.
By the time we got to the car, it was raining steadily. Within a few minutes, it was raining much harder. Very soon, the rest of our group, except Castille, joined us at the cars.
Annie fished in the trunk from the back seat and hauled out our bags. Behind sheets of rain on the car windows, we girls squirmed out of our wet garb and put on our dry street clothes. This was not easy, but it was worth the effort.
Gusts of rain blew against the car. We saw lightning and heard crashes of thunder. We worried about Castille. We hoped he had found shelter and that he wasn't out in the storm, looking for the car.
We also worried about how we would ever drive out of the field. Every now and then, someone decided to leave and drove his car out of its parking place. Most of them paused in the mud. (Why?! We couldn't understand it!) In a futile effort to start moving again, the drivers stepped on the gas and spun the tires wildly. This made the loblolly in the exit route larger, deeper, and juicier. Finally, the people in the back seat would get out and push the car to firmer ground, getting terribly mud-splattered in the process.
And Castille? He had waited out the storm inside a pavilion and watched a couple of performances. The performers, poor souls, worked in the rain. The stage was not covered by the roof. It seems that this made the belly dancing quite interesting. (Oh, my.)
Gentle reader, if you are following these events with bated breath, please relax. The story becomes less exciting now. We stopped at a gas station so the guys could change their clothes. They were too tall to change inside Isaac's little car. Then we went to Opry Mills Mall in Nashville and spent several hours shopping.
When we got back to Clarksville, we went to IHOP to eat. The food wasn't very good, but we were too tired to fuss much about it. From there, everyone went home in the car he or she had driven there. Isaac and I got home about 11 PM. When I went to bed at midnight, Dennis asked, "How was the Renn Faire?" I was too exhausted to go into detail. "We made it," I said.
Related articles in the Prairie Bluestem archives:
Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2008
Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2007
Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2006