On Saturday, we made our third annual family trip to the Renaissance Faire. In years past, we've always had a good time -- and this time was true to tradition. I had fun going about in garb, and BB dressed up as a princess, to her lasting delight. Mostly because almost any time anybody in character noticed her, they did a courtesy and called her "Princess" quite respectfully.
(Though in that picture, she looks more tired than delighted. She was a real trooper, holding out until almost 3:30 p.m. For a girl who usually naps right after lunch, that's huge!) It turned out that BB and I had to be the family representatives for the costumed set. She wore the dress she used for her Cinderella costume last year, which worked out perfectly. Here's a better picture of mine:
BJ had absolutely no interest in dressing up (not even once we got there and he saw so many other folks in costume) and alas S wasn't able to wear his own getup. (He'd dressed up the day prior for Pirate Day at BJ's kindergarten, and wearing his fancy top boots to school gave him bad blisters, it being the first time he'd worn them for any extended period. So they've got some breaking in to do before he can get dolled up in proper style. Bummer.)
S certainly contributed to the success of the day, doing more than his fair share of wagon duty!
He also accompanied BJ into the Fool's Maze (which, interestingly, was officially called the Labyrinth last year, but BJ called it the Fool's Maze and persisted in that prescient misnomer. If you know to look for it, you can see where they hung the new (red) sign over the old (grey) name.
S took some shots of them in the maze. Clearly BJ enjoyed himself.
Boy on a quest! The labyrinth has made quite an impression on him. He still asks me to "tell the story about the two boys who tried to trick us in the Fool's Maze!" Nothing quite so exciting happened this year, it seems, though he wasn't going to let any angle go unexplored.
BJ also wanted to do the maypole carousel, and since I get horribly queasy on the thing, S got the job of accompanying him. They seemed to enjoy themselves!
BB wanted nothing to do with it this year. At least not when she had her chance to go. As we watched them, I realized that she was under the impression that the swing would wind all the way up to the top. "Oh! That's as far as it goes?" she asked, when they twisted it up about 6 feet high. Clearly, this was do-able, in her opinion. So we decided that next year she would give it a try. (S is good, but two times in a row was a bit much even for him.)
Instead, BB blew some amazingly big bubbles while we waited for the boys to finish up.
I love the look on her face. This bubble stuff was serious! So serious that she was still into it after S and BJ were done. They were very patient about waiting until she had done just one more big one.
BB's big memory of prior Ren Faires was having her hands painted. Last year, she'd had a butterfly on her hands. This year, she got one on her arm. (Last year, the weather was much cooler, so we had long sleeves! Saturday was downright balmy.)
BJ went for the moon and stars.
This year, finally, my hair had grown out enough to get it braided! The last time I was able to have it done was 2001. (I vividly remember the surreal experience of going to the Faire the weekend after the attacks -- we'd planned the trip before they happened and decided to go ahead with it -- and sitting in the braiding booth, talking about 9/11 with the folks in costume. Not exactly in character, but who could blame them. It was all anybody could think or talk about.) This time, it was much more relaxing.
I've always loved having my hair braided. It's really relaxing for me. And the gal who did mine had exactly the right touch. Not too tight but firm enough that it held up beautifully.
I even slept on it (wrapped in a scarf) and it looked great the next day!
While I was enjoying having somebody play with my tresses, S took the kids to do some painting and play some games.
For BJ, the highlight of the day actually happened first. Last year, S and I had noticed the "Dragon petting zoo" and hustled by without bringing it to BJ's attention, because we had just had his hands painted, and so it would be impossible to wash hands after handling the animals -- salmonella, anyone? No thanks! But this year, we planned to point it out to him, knowing he would love it. It turned out it was right next to the entrance. And indeed, love it he did.
He got to hold a snake! But wait, it gets better!
He got to put a boa around his neck! The lady who helped him was very sweet, and when BB was too scared to follow in brother's footsteps, but obviously still interested, she offered to pose with the snake and hold it so BB could just pet it. BB was very proud of being brave enough to do that. (Me too!)
(This year, apples seem to have supplanted pickles as the cleavage snack of choice. Not only for this lass. Don't ask me why.)
Now the snakes were super cool, but BJ was perhaps even more impressed by the fact that there was a real tarantula. Walking on somebody's hand!
And then they asked BJ if he wanted to have it crawl on his hand! He barely even hesitated. My kid has almost no fear about the creepy crawlies, no doubt about it.
Apparently when he went to kindergarten on Monday, they started out the day by asking what people did over the weekend. BJ reported to us (in the afternoon) that he told his class about holding the boa. "But I didn't say anything about the tarantula. Because they wouldn't even believe me!" So there's your baseline for kindergarten credulity -- snakes, yes, but spiders, not so much.
There were also lots of lovely tortoises, which BB found charming.
And here's the "dragon" -- pretty clever, eh?
After such an exciting petting zoo, the farm animal encounter area had a lot to live up to. But we enjoyed it anyway. The goat tried to eat the flower on BB's dress, which is always good for the entertainment quotient!
Plus there was a kid who kept getting into the purple food bin, which amused BB and BJ quite a bit.
If BJ's highlight was holding a spider and a snake, then BB's was equally impressive in its own way -- she met the queen!
It was probably a huge breach of Ren Faire etiquette to ask for a picture with the queen, but oh well. They were out on parade, and BB was very interested, so she and I moved to get a closer look while the boys finished eating their ice cream. There were several folks with kids on the sidelines when the processional came to its halt and the queen descended from her litter. And all the other parents (all four or five of them) had been beckoned over with their girls and offered a photo op.
So when it was clear that they were getting ready to move on, after having watched all this and seen that BB really wanted to go over as well, I hustled over and tapped one of the queen's attendants and asked if we could have a turn. The queen was kind enough to even bend down to BB's level! She had to be helped up by two of her attendants -- little wonder in the elaborate gown she was wearing -- and was ever so impressively graceful doing so! (Further proof that my klutzy self was not meant to be a queen.)
So I'll content myself with pretending to be a lady, getting my hair braided, and parading around with my family while enjoying the fun. I'll bet that next year BB will want to dress up as a princess again. She though this dress was very elegant.
And BJ makes a pretty fine knight! Maybe next year the boys will join in too.
The princess was pretty tuckered out by the time we headed home. But not so tired that she would remove her crown.Here's to family traditions -- and this one has a long history, in truth. After all, one of my lasting memories of early times with S is of going to a Faire with him when we were dating -- back in 1992!
Traditions, indeed! Huzzah!