Friday, March 21, 2008

The trip so far Part 2

So after an anxious two hour drive, we get to Tyler Sunday morning. The reason that we are going Sunday morning instead of sometime Monday or even Tuesday morning is that we wanted to go to the ren fest. Most years we go to Scarborough Faire that is in Waxahachie (about thirty minutes south of Dallas) and we went to Hawkwood (now closed) near Fort Worth once or twice, and we've been to the Kansas City ren fest three or four times, and we have even once been to a small faire near Pittsburgh. But, unlike many of my friends I have not been to the large rest fest near Houston, or the small one near Tyler.

We arrived at about fifteen after ten. Near perfect timing. The place opens at ten, and we probably missed an opening ceremony or something, but that's okay. I'm starting to feel better.

The good feeling was short-lived. The Four Winds Reniassance Faire does NOT take credit cards. As I said before, we have been to a number of ren fests and know to bring cash money to tip people and cash money for food and some of the vendors only take cash money, but we had never been to one that refused to take credit or debit cards for the tickets to get in the place.

We so rarely use cash anymore. We are so used to using the debit card for everything except for lottery tickets that we often forget to take any cash with us at all. Since we knew that we would need cash for food and tips, we had about forty dollars on us. The tickets would take twenty-four dollars, and that would only leave us sixteen dollars, which would pay for lunch but not much else. Was there and ATM in the park? The larger festivals have ATMs now.

No. No ATM in the park.

Well, we couldn't think of anyplace nearby where we could run and get cash, and the lady at the ticket booth didn't suggest anything. I can't believe that we are the only people to have this problem and she didn't have a suggestion ready to direct us to the nearest gas station or something.

So we thought about it for a moment and decided to go ahead and buy the tickets. We would just have to be very careful not to spend any money til after we had paid for lunch and not have any snacks and not tip anyone. Not tipping is just awful. I don't even know if the acts get any of the ticket money. But we would just have to explain about the front gate not taking credit cards and that we weren't able to tip anyone. And then maybe the acts would complain and the front gate would get a credit card machine.

The faire was even smaller than I had imagined, and there weren't many people there when we went in. I stopped to say hi to someone I knew from the club, and then we walked on, and the place was almost empty. There was a puppet show near the entrance, but not much else seemed to be going on.

We wandered over to where there would soon be a knife making demonstration. He was having a bit of a late start, so when we got there he was just starting to light the fire and such. He was not having an easy time of it. Too much sulfur. Great big ugly smelly clouds of smoke. Poor guy.

But we stayed and he eventually got the smoke and such under control. I don't usually stay and watch much of this sort of thing, but there didn't seem to be much else going on. And my husband liked to watch this, though he likes watching glass blowing better. No glass blowing at this faire.

At the end the guy pulled someone out of the audience to make some small thing of the non-weapon variety, and we did not stay for that. And we did not leave the guy a dollar as we should have.

Next we wandered over to the next stage where someone was already in the middle of a juggling act. And the guy was funny and ended his act with juggling torches and eating fire. And then everyone was leaving money in the guy's hat, and I can't take it anymore.

The guy ate fire for crying out loud. How can we not leave him a dollar?

So we left the guy a dollar and decided to leave the faire for a bit and go have lunch somewhere else and see if we could find an ATM.

On the way out we ran into someone I went to school with in like 2004. We had planned to go to this place together back then, but we had to write a paper on the only weekend that she wasn't working at another faire, so we ended up not going. She was giving out flyers for an even smaller faire in Hillsboro. I don't think that I've ever been to a one day faire. I may still not go. We'll see.

So we ended up going to the small town of Troup and buying gas and eating lunch at Diary Queen. An hour and a half later we were back at the faire with almost forty dollars in our pockets and not having to worry about lunch anymore. Just as well that we had lunch elsewhere, as I heard someone complaining that they had run out of turkey legs, and the beef stew didn't look that great to me.

Next we listened to the singing talents of Breaking the Habit. Not quite as funny as Hey Nunnie Nunnie from Scarborough Faire, but silly nuns are funny whatever they call themselves.

Then we were off to watch the belly dancers. I think that most ren fests have belly dancers. The odd thing about these dancers was that about half of them weigh more than I do. Now, I don't think that I look that bad, even after these last few months when I've gained back the fifteen pounds that I lost two years ago. But I don't think that I would ever wear a belly dancer outfit in public. But here were about a dozen women on the stage who just don't share my opinion on the subject. Not all dancers are young and pretty, and the thin cute ones aren't always the ones who really know how to dance, but I usually don't see that many overweight dancers. They didn't seem to care about it one little bit.

There was a guy roaming around in a bear suit. I don't think that I've ever seen that at a ren fest before. The actor in the costume was good, and he really does act like a bear. I can say that on the authority both as someone who spent a week in the Easter Bunny costume, and as someone who spent part of a summer helping out a bear trainer.

We saw other odd costumes. A woman came in on stilts. I believe she said she was riding a sasquatch chicken. And there were a couple of guys in wizard costumes. Wizard costumes are to be expected at a ren fest, but these guys wore hats so big that they could probably be used as tents.

We saw some other show, but I can't really remember much about it except that they would pull people out of the audience, dress them in silly stuff and have them read lines in a play. While most of that was going on, I was with the guy in the bear costume.

And then we decided to stay for the joust. I don't usually watch the joust. I watched one the first time I went to Scarborough Faire, and it was a bit of fun, but how many jousts do I need to watch anyway? But we stayed to watch this one. Besides the bit where the knights put on armor and try to knock each other off of their horses, there are games of skill involving catching rings on lances and spearing heads of lettuce and such. One of the knights was a woman. But she skipped the part at the end and did not put on armor or try to knock anyone off of his horse. She tied for first in two games, and then she tied for second in two games. So she ended up with the highest total score that day, even though one of the men did manage to knock someone off of his horse.

There was about an hour left, but we were tired. We bought some incense and some lotions and such and headed off to find a motel for the week.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

- They don't accept credit/debit cards for lottery tickets around here, either. I wonder why that is.

- I've only been to a one-day faire. I think it was usually only one afternoon, even. It is long gone now, but it was probably something that you would have not even considered to be a faire by your standards.