Show Them Your Warface! A Day At The Renaissance Faire

Horse and knight

The Renaissance Faire.

Oh yes, The Renaissance Faire.

Up until this weekend I have never been to one. Not surprising, if you know me, since just the idea of it conjures up every little thing that annoys me all wrapped up in one weird festival of wack jobs. Oh, let’s go get dressed up in medieval clothes and pretend to be peasants and wenches. Not just a few, but crowds of them.  Of course, the regular crowd of fair goers spilling their beer and bumping into you is also on my “Um…No thank you” list. And don’t forget the crappy overpriced food truck garbage.

So you can imagine the shock I gave the better half this weekend when I suggested we take the kids to the local Renaissance Faire that was in town for a couple days. And to top it off, that we should even dress the kiddos up in costume. I got the “Whatchya talking bout, Willis?” look on that one. The Element of Surprise (or TEOS as I like to go by) strikes again.

1 knight in shining armor and 1 princess later and we were off to the land of make-believe. Oddly nestled in the middle of downtown San Jose between tall buildings and a back drop of the highway, sat the medieval village of Ye Old something or another. I never could get into all that role-playing, fantasy land mumbo-jumbo. Just walking into the place gave me the heebie-jeebies with old maids standing out front talking in what I guessed was their interpretation of Old English. “Oh, ye wearisome traveler, welcome to our humble gathering. What a brave knight you have with you…blahblahblah”. Shut it, here’s $40 – which way to the beer truck?

With this positive outlook you have to wonder what possessed me to ever come here. I have no idea either, but it must have been something cosmic, a divine intervention even, if you will. Because something magical happened as I stepped across the threshold. I was transported back in time. Back before I was a cynical, crowd hating, make-fun of Harry Potter fans, grumpy old man.

Truth be told, all my preconceived notions were wrong. Ok, maybe not all, but most of them were wrong. This place was actually, dare I say, FUN?

Kids playing Jenga

Hell ya, I am going to say it. The people, the costumes, the jousting- it was all a bunch of fun. The people working the fair and manning the booths were ridiculously nice. To the point that we were stopped several times by people in costume to give us pointers on where to go, what to see, where the free games were for the kids. That’s right- they stopped us. The free games were cool too – Jenga the size of my little boy. How cool is that?

The costumes people wore were, for the most part, pretty amazing. I say for the most part because sometimes there is such a thing as too much cleavage. Not often, but sometimes. If you can look past all that bosomy bustle and not get too distracted, there is a section towards the back of the village where the Queen and her court staged an ongoing play throughout the day. Their outfits were over the top perfect. Of course, no one could top the knights outfits, nor was anyone able to top the entertainment that was provided by their jousting and sword fights.

The absolute highlight of our day was just before the jousting when the master of ceremonies started pumping up the crowd before the show. As you can tell in the picture, this is one big dude. He is getting the crowd amped up, “Come on, let me hear you!” “Louder!!!” He challenges everyone in the crowd to show him their best warface – the winner to receive a hand crafted wooden knight’s shield, that he would personally sign.

Grrrrrr…. GRRROowwwwwlllll….ARRRRGGGGG…..

And out of the hundreds of warfacers, who does he pick? None other than my sweet, little, runt. At six years old and still only 35 lbs, I can call him a runt. And I mean it with all the respect in the world because he is as stubborn as his old man, full of piss and vinegar, and he has one hell of a warface.

As if choosing him out of the crowd wasn’t enough, this beast of a man reaches over and picks him up over the fence, holds him up to the crowd, and after getting his name says, “Kaden, show them your warface!”

Kaden with Knight

Without hesitation, my son gives his meanest face to the entire crowd, eliciting a great round of cheering and a, “Now, that’s a warface!” from the giant knight in no armor. I don’t think I would have had the courage at his age to perform on cue in front of such a large audience. Let alone while being whisked around by a very scary looking stranger. Not my runt though – he delivered a fantastic warface and left the arena with his brand new custom wooden shield and a grin from ear to ear.

But wait! There’s more. Let the jousting begin! Click the picture below of the jousting to go watch a video of it on Youtube. On this final run, the red jouster who is riding a riciculously huge horse named, Thor, destroys his lance across the shield of the blue knight – blasting shards of wood everywhere. I wish I continued filming because, as you can see in the video, the blue knight pretty much falls off his horse in what I can only imagine is excruciating pain. He kept on though and finished the show on the ground. I have a newfound respect for the guys that put on these shows – spectacularly tough.

Jousting

While that all was very exciting, there was yet one more highlight to this trip back in time. After watching the show for a good 30 minutes plus, I went over to a lady selling flowers and bought a small little bouquet for my little girl who I had been holding pretty much the whole day. $6 was the asking price and all I had was twenties, but no problem, this nice young lady had change. Unfortunately, she pretended like she couldn’t count.

Lady, “Eight, ten, ok here you go.”

Me, “Ummmm…you said $6 right?”

Lady Gypsy, “Oh, I am sorry dear. Yes, let me try again. Six, nine, ten, ok, that should be right now.”

Me (tired from holding kid and standing in the sun, and possibly distracted by the plunging V neck of this charlatan), “Um….sure, that looks right”. I was so confused.

I walked away wondering what the hell just happened. I recounted my money twice and still couldn’t figure out how she convinced me ten dollars in change was correct. Anywhere else I would have been extremely angry and gone back to at least scold her for ripping me off, but I somehow felt delight in getting rooked here. I basked in the feeling that I had fully embraced the entire experience of the Renaissance Faire. Who knew that Enlightenment was to be found behind the gates of an adult costume party?

By then it was well past lunch time and reality set back in. As much fun and enlightening as the experience was, I have my limits and standing in line for mystery food truck meat is still not in the cards. Although, I did see people walking around with what looked like smoked turkey drumsticks. Maybe another time.

So this is where the merry party ended their journey – a brave Knight with a hand crafted shield, a beautiful Princess dawning overpriced flowers, my fair maiden, and me, a not so grumpy old man.

Next stop – the Star Trek Convention. {wink}

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