Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oh, The People You'll Meet! Welcome to the 2014 Michigan Renaissance Festival

If you recall, last year I wrote a posting about the Michigan Renaissance Festival and said that it was more fantasy than Renaissance, with little to no, little to no real and accurate history. I mean, the roots of history are there and are sort of based in the past - England in the 1400s and 1500s (although when you think about it, the Renaissance started in Italy and not in England - I suppose an English accent is easier than an Italian one) - but if one were to go to the Ren Fest thinking they would get a history lesson along the lines of a Civil War or Colonial reenactment, they'd be very wrong and mighty disappointed indeed.
So once you get that in your head - that this is not history come to life - then you'll find it's a great place to people watch and enjoy all things fantasy with mind-filling eccentricities.
Anyhow, we went again this year - my son is a performer there in a bawdy musical group called Bocca Musica, and so I feel a sort of obligation to go and watch his performance.
Okay, so I wanted to go!
Yeah I did. And I enjoyed it, too. It's mindless fun and I always seem to have a good time.
So away we went: me, my daughter (who dressed as a fairy), and a few friends of mine, off to the Shire of Holly Grove up in Holly, Michigan (about an hour north of Detroit) to enter the fantastical world of another dimension...not one necessarily of time and space, but of mind. a way, the Michigan Renaissance Festival is almost like entering the Twilight Zone.
Won't you join me?
It's in the grove part of Holly Grove where one can see a man set his head on fire. Well...not really. But he was a fire-breather, and this was part of his grand finale.

One never knows just who - or what - they'll meet in the Grove. I know these are fairies of some sort, just not quite sure from where they came. Maybe the gnome forest?

Two fairies: one happy and light, the other angry and dark. That's my daughter on the left...the happy one!

So I pulled a smile out of my pocket and threw it at the fairy on the right, and she immediately became happy and light! It's good to carry a pocketful of smiles wherever you go!

Yes, it seemed that the pixies and other creatures of the forests moved about in the land of humans.

Ah, now here are maidens who, as clothing can detect, work for a living. They also do a fair job in their depiction of the varying lower classes.

Make way---here comes the Queen's court! Follow the parade to the entrance gate...

Once inside, a grand dance took place in the Queen's honor.
I've heard folks from the Renaissance did not dance in this manner, and I'm sure this is true. It was still great fun to watch.
Even my fairy daughter joined in!

Below is a (very) short clip of the dance. The battery in my camera was close to running out of power so I couldn't capture much more than what you see here. I hope you like what little I was able to get:

The Queen and her Court

My fairy daughter would one day like to be a part of the Queen's Court, but, alas, there are no fairies allowed. But she sure can pretend!

But felt right at home with this talking bush. He told of how he planned to branch out, this stemming from researching his roots. We decided to leaf him be while he packed his trunk.

These fairies - the web fairy, the yellow fairy, and the bubble fairy - insisted on being the main focus of attention.

This troll and his human female idiot "entertain" all within piercing ear-shot. I believe she took vocal lessons from Yoko Ono. Yikes!

And, of course, you can't have a Ren Fest without that infamous greenish-yellowish ogre, Shrek.

I'm not quite sure what to make of these creatures. I suppose they're, in a way, a sort of Centaur. Photo by Lynn Anderson

Is this an owl? Is that a ram? Things are very different in this Shire of Holly. Photo by Lynn Anderson

You want diversity? I'll give you diversity! Photo by Lynn Anderson

Yes, those are her real eyes. I wonder how well she sees in the dark?

The musical acts ranged from the more traditional...Photo by Lynn Anderson the more bawdy. (Yes, that's my son second from left) Photo by Lynn Anderson

The Vodca Family socks. Yep---I asked them if I could take a picture of their stocking-clad feet. Wouldn't you?

Then there is spaghetti juggling from the great Deante Fettucini (Hey! An Italian at a Renaissance Festival!). He was also a magician and could crack a mean whip. His jokes were awful puns that had my daughter laughing constantly. Yup---we enjoyed his act. Photo by Lynn Anderson

Then there is perhaps my favorite act at the Ren Faire: The Washing Well Wenches. I have seen this act for probably over twenty years and never tire of it. And I love being with people who have never seen the show before and seeing their reactions and hearing them laugh. Photo by Lynn Anderson

On the day we were there, a paid patron brought her three daughters along and asked Daphne (head wench) if she could do their hair like her own. She not only did that, but blackened their teeth as well. AND she included them in her act in a sort of impromptu manner. Oh, it was funny!

Now I was told that Daphne and I look like twins here, that maybe we were separated at birth. our eyes tell a tale that can't be told...?

Daphne then dubbed my fairy daughter the Guinness Fairy. Maybe she could be the Apple Cider Fairy, but certainly not the Guinness Fairy!

But then, it's all relative, isn't it? Photo by Lynn Anderson, pictured right

What made this particular day that much more eventful was that it was Steam Punk Day, where followers of this paralleled-past-off-the-side-road were able to come out in all of their Victorian science fiction glory.

I *get* the definition of what steam punk is, but I don't understand it. Does that make sense? The styles are interesting, and actually pretty cool, but as a living historian I don't believe I could get into wearing the fashion. I'm too much a purest.

I'm not quite sure if this is steam punk or just some more Ren Fest fantasy wear. Either way, I found those who like to dress for this festival have a great time - much better than those of us who come wearing our Beatles shirt!
Who knows? Maybe one year you'll see me in RenFest garb. But you can be sure if I do, the clothing I wear will be as close to authentic as possible! I can't help it - that's just the way I am. A Lynn Anderson photo

I always enjoy my annual excursions to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and if you happen to have one of these fairs in your neck of this great country (or, in your own great country if you happen to live on the other side of the earth) I hope you at least give it a try and enjoy it for what it is: fun!

I would like to thank my friend Lynn Anderson, who joined us on this day, for allowing me use of some of her photographs (noted in the captions). I forgot to check my camera battery and found it to be low, so I had to choose the pictures I took carefully.
Lynn's camera battery, on the other hand, had a full charge.

For more (and different) pictures from the Michigan Renaissance Festival, please click HERE


1 comment:

MissFifi said...

Looks like a good time.
I have not gone to a Ren Festival in years!! Good to see not too much has changed. :)