Monday, October 09, 2006

Cool stuff in Kansas City this time of year

For three years my husband had a job that involved an annual fall trip to a place in Kansas, not too far from Kansas City. The trip allowed us to do a couple of things in Kansas City that we really enjoy, and because of the time of year, it coincides with the Kansas City Renaissance Faire and Halloween. (One year it also coincided with 9-11, which was an especially interesting thing viewed across the street from a military base, but that's another story.)

The Kansas City Ren Faire is pretty big and we like it a lot. And it is not so uncomfortably warm as it is in Texas (though one year it was so near freezing that people spent most of their time waiting in line for coffee). We watch people juggle, and listen to musicians, and watch the Jolly Roger's fight and sing. We also buy a lot of carnival food and look at artwork and say someday when I have money I'm going to buy that. We usually buy some small piece of jewelry, or something like that. One year we found someone selling fifty different kinds of honey (if you like a mild honey, I recommend fireweed.) If you are not dressed in costume, you are more likely to be pulled out of the audience to volunteer for who knows what embarrassing thing.

We have similar things in Texas (there's another big one near Houston this time of year, but I haven't been to that one yet), but we miss going to the one in Kansas City, and we were hoping that maybe the new job would send him to Kansas or Missouri in the fall so that we could go.

Saturday, the new schedule came in the mail, and it said...KANSAS!

So I got really excited for a moment, and then I checked the dates...and we don't get to go. We'll be going to Kansas a week too late to visit the Ren Faire. My husband will be working in south Texas on the fourteenth, and the last day of the Faire is the fifteenth, so there's just no way that we can make that.

So now I'm debating whether or not I should go on the trip to Kansas. There are places I like to shop and there are places we like to eat, but really it seems like a lot of trouble to go just for that. And I'd miss a week of the silly temp job, so I'd probably just have to quit so that they could hire someone else to fill the schedule that week. And I really shouldn't do that without a better reason than I want to go eat BBQ with my husband.

The other thing I like to do in Kansas City this time of year (that my husband says he is not overly fond of, though he does seem to enjoy it once he is there) is to go to haunted houses. Now, that may sound silly, I could stay home and still go to haunted houses (which I probably will) . But there are at least four haunted houses in Kansas City that are so popular that they open either the first weekend in September or the last weekend of August. No, I'm not kidding, there are haunted houses that open for the season in August. I've been to two of them, The Edge of Hell and The Beast. I've been to The Beast twice, so I'll say that one was my favorite, and I remember it a bit better so I'll talk about that one.

It is a large place, a four or five story warehouse, and it takes almost an hour to go through it. Near the beginning, there is a fog filled forest that is home to many werewolves. And you're supposed to find your own way out, but you usually can't. One of the werewolves is relatively friendly, and you follow him to the exit. You'll know which one he is because of his glowing hand. Later, there's a room with nothing really scary in it. As soon as you leave the room, you're in total black darkness, and you have to feel your way around. And then you hear someone laughing at you as you walk back into the same room. Or is it the same room? And then the same thing happens again, and you seem to be back where you started, but after that you're usually clear of it and the laughing stops. Every once in a while, you go up some stairs, so that you end up on the fourth or fifth flour of the thing. Now, unless you have a medical condition like my husband, or unless you are a big wimp like me, you exit the place by means of a giant spiral slide. (There is a similar slide at The Edge of Hell.) I got on the slide the first time, and once was really enough for me.

The main thing I remember about the one at The Edge of Hell was that at the top of the slide you seemed to be in heaven or outer space or something, but at the bottom of the slide you end up in Hell.

Anyway, it is cool place if you like that sort of thing. So if you happen to be in the Kansas City area this coming weekend, visit the Ren Faire. And if you are in town the rest of the month, see if you can visit The Beast or The Edge of Hell. All three are worth the time and the money.

1 comment:

nobodyinparticular said...

I used to love haunted houses when I was a kid. I don't think there were any commercial ones I knew of that you paid to get into. Instead, we made our own, and charged the kids in the neighborhood a dime or a nickel to get into them.

The most elaborate was right next door. The girls went all out, hanging sheets in their basement to make all kinds of corridors. I don't remember too many other details of that one (It had to be 1972 or so!) other than that one of them was dressed up as a vampire, and there was an elaborate story that was told by the guide that led up to revealing a beachball with a face painted on it floating in the washing machine (I laughed for a long time at that one). And yes, it other than the beachball, it was scary.

Other than a permanent one that is is in Mackinac City, I don't think I've ever run across a big elaborate one like the kind big cities have around Hallowe'en. I guess you know to look for them (or maybe I'd find them if I went far away).