Welcome to this year's Renaissance Festival!
I'm always thrilled and pleased at the fabulous job they do -- this is no local, thrown-together affair with card tables and plastic dragons. This is the real thing! This lovely damsel, Lady Dancelot, welcomed us at the gate:
The girls. I think Julia may have been bested by the dragon.
Adam and I looking regal. This was his first year to go. It was "high school day" (only $8 apiece!), so it was crowded with teens. But he'd really like to go back on a weekend, with much smaller crowds and mostly adults.
LOVE the wonderful architecture. This is a permanent village, as you can see. Some of the vendors even have small apartments upstairs where they stay during the 2 month festival.
Music abounds at this event. This lady plays a Celtic harp. It was sublime. I told her I could listen to that music all day long. She said, "Well, until about 2:00."
This bizarre organ is massive. We didn't get to hear it being played this year. Adam inspects its innards.
Another harpist, with a Medieval harp, also called a Paraguayan harp, because it was brought over by the Spanish rather early, and found its way into South America. This girl wears a more authentic Medieval outfit, she said, with pockets in the bottoms of her sleeves, and the cut-out sides of her dress. She said this was considered a bit "racy" back then, because she is technically showing her underwear (the white garment), and her waist. Interesting. I found some of the other females at the festival much more racy in their attire.
This artisan is making dragons.
These fellows sang and told jokes.
Each year they have a couple of retired greyhound racers there, for people to see. Julia loved this one, called "Knight."
And the acrobats -- Oh My Word. They called themselves "Large," "Medium," and "Small." The two on the right are a brother/sister pair. They were silly, jesting with the audience constantly, but they are extremely strong (Adam says), especially the girl. Here, she balances on the ball while the men juggle knives back and forth to each other. And lest you think they are using plastic knives, one of the guys threw it to the stage and it dug into the wood.
This was their last, hardest stunt. He's juggling knives. But look where he's standing -- all his weight is on the bottoms of her shins -- ouch! I can't imagine how that would feel!
And here, Medium is standing on his sister's hip bones. Ouch again. She must soak in Epsom Salts each night.
Some of the cool carving. There are dozens of shops with everything from candles to swords to Medieval clothing to hand-made leather books for sale.
And fairies. They didn't talk, but they smiled a lot, gave away glass pebbles, and sprinkled fairy dust on everyone.
We like to visit the hammock maker. Anna got the "queenly" treatment.
At 11:30, we enjoyed the jousting tournament, complete with a Master at Arms, the King and his Queen and their court. Here the King waves at the knights before they joust.
This was our dark knight, Maximilian.
I never tire of watching the master glassblower. He made a red and white tankard today.
He regularly inserted the glass into the glory-hole to reheat it.
This is the last stage, when he shaped the tankard's handle.
But perhaps the most astounding act was the sword-swallower. Now, I knew nothing of sword-swallowing before today. I assumed this was some kind of trick, like the conjurer we saw. But it's not. Sword-swallowing is real, and this guy is actually putting these things down his middle. No joke. Look it up online.
Here he got a little girl to draw the blade out of his mouth. You can barely see it to the left of his face.
All in all, a great day, and we were only rained on once, during the joust (just like last year). This is my third year to go on a school day, so if I do it again, it would probably be with Adam as a date. I highly recommend this to anyone living within an hour or so of Charlotte.