What more could one ask for than a whole day of great shopping, adventure, entertainment, good food, cold drinks, and even an education in medieval life — all for only $10 or $12?

Target competition at close range with a javelin. Photo by Karen Hale

A day at the Renaissance Faire began with the line at the gate, where the queen’s entourage joined the populace to engage in lively banter with the pirates and gentle folk up on the battlements. Minstrels sang and played a variety of strange instruments, magicians entertained the crowd with their illusions, the infamous Pickle Wench carted out her ice-cold pickles, and bold knights strolled by, seeking favor for the tournaments later that day.

Cannons fired, the smoke drifted by, the gate opened and the faire began!

Once inside, children were captivated by seven staging areas with fire jugglers, storytellers, magicians, gypsies, faeries, dancers, music, theatrical comedy, a faire-wide scavenger hunt for faery-tale friends, archery practice, and live, melee-style sword fighting lessons. Youth wandered about in faery wings, masks and costumes (available for rent), and contemplated a nip of cold Sarsaparilla with a big turkey leg for lunch.

More than 70 merchants attracted curious shoppers, some manufacturing their goods right there on the spot using traditional medieval equipment – such as Rainier Metal Craft spinning fine quality silver, pewter, brass and copper wares.

A very skilled lady aims to catch one of three rings on the tip of her lance. Photo by Karen Hale

The stadium filled quickly for the phenomenal Cavallo Equestrian Arts performance, as skilled combatants demonstrated full-speed hard-hitting jousting, precision maneuvers with lance and spear, amazing acrobatics, and competition on horseback with real swords to “capture the flag.”

Farther afield, the charming, harmonious, (and “slightly” risqué) Thryce Wycked Wenches, and the rowdy Pirates … ahem… mercenaries… of the good ship Emerald Rose commandeered the Ale House for an hour of tall tales spun in song. While the wenches bragged of their close encounters in town, the pirates loudly and vigorously protested their innocence of numerous alleged crimes against the crown. Even Her Majesty, Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotland, enjoyed the choice of icy ales, ciders or mead. One couldn’t ask for more robust and high spirited entertainment, with crowd participation, too.

And then there was the dessert:  ice cream, fresh crepes, locally made fudge, spiced nuts, and peanut brittle. And to think —  faire patrons get to do it all again next year! What bliss!

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