It had been over ten years since I had attended the annual Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire. When I was a teenager, going to the Ren Faire was a big deal and a spring tradition. I used to look forward to it nearly as much as I looked forward to going to Disneyland. Nearly, not quite. As I entered my early twenties, it was still fun to go, but my enthusiasm waned with every passing year. It's usually blistering hot, it's dusty and increasingly, I'm less interested in what they're peddling. As a teen, I saved up for months to buy faire crap.
Dan had never been to the faire. After so many years of not attending, I was eager to see if I could recapture some of what I had once loved.
We went on a hot, Saturday afternoon in May. I was prepared for the heat and the crowds, but surprisingly, we found the faire to be empty. Maybe the heat kept people away? There were still plenty of people in heavy costumes looking like they were about to pass out. I was comfortable in my shorts and tank top.
We bought our tickets ( full price, $28.00) and entered. This was my first time at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area location, which wasn't as nice, but it wins for being only thirty minutes from our house. The old location was ninety minutes away.
We had a bizarre encounter at a stained glass booth. The artist was nice, but his friend was visiting him for the day and he was the king of too-much-information, coupled with being a close-talker. He engaged us in conversation for at least twenty minutes and made it difficult for us to leave. It gave me the creeps. Here I am before we started chatting with them.
We needed a drink after our conversation at the stained-glass booth. There is no shortage of places to purchase alcohol at the faire.
Due to a restrictive diet, this was my first cider in months. I got myself into some trouble.
Hands down, this was the best costume at the faire.
We found a booth selling pirate hats and took a few pictures for my sister-in-law, Ali.
Food is normally a big reason to go to the faire, but we had bad luck with the Scotch Eggs. Scotch Eggs are one of Dan's favorite foods, but at the faire, they were awful, even burned. Being so hot, the lines for ice cream were miles long. However, we managed to catch the fruit ice booth at the right time and a pineapple fruit ice went a long way to helping us cool down.
We had our fill of the faire after two hours. Here are some other shots that we took walking around. We didn't buy anything other than food, but we enjoyed the people watching. Some of the people, not necessarily the ones working the event, take it really seriously. I'm more a Gilmore Girls Ren Faire fan, where there is a tinge of sarcasm when Stars Hollow puts on a faire.
Will we likely return? Probably not. We had fun, but we would have enjoyed spending the same time and less money at an air-conditioned movie theatre. Dan thought it was a bit silly and I have to agree. I'm a little sad though. It's kind of like Chuck E. Cheese...something that held so many great childhood memories, but that doesn't have the same appeal for me as an adult. I have many friends who still love the Ren Faire and this is no slight to them, it's just not me anymore.
Admittedly, I was disappointed to not find the rat race booth. That was always my favorite!
Here is a picture to sum up our day. When Dan saw the girl sitting on the stage, looking bored, he said, "Look, it's a sad princess".