A New Faire

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rebecca's face painting

This Sunday, my very generous mother-in-law took the family to King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this was also the weekend we had set aside for Gregory's potty training, and had already started working him up to it when we got the fair invitation. It turned out that we were still trying to turn the tide of the battle on day three, so we made the hard decision to keep him at home with Greg, to continue the potty battle, while I brought Rebecca to the fair with her yia-yia, aunts, uncles and cousins. Somehow I always get the short end of the stick (not!). And we ended up with a glorious, sunny fall day to boot!

King Richard's Faire is a Renaissance fair that comes to southern Mass every September. I've never been to this type of event so I found the whole thing fascinating. When we parked our minivan next to a Camry full of adults in full medieval costume (and no, they were not employees), I realized we were not in Kansas anymore. It's a celebration of fantasy complete with elaborate costumes, jousting matches, 'royalty' strolling through the grounds conversing with us common folk, muscle powered carnival rides and fantastic animals, where pretty much anything goes. The best part? For me it was the employees. I think it must take a special kind of person to work at a Renaissance fair, and the way many of them got into their role was contagious. The worst part? The commercialism! The price of entry for a child 5-11 is $15, and $26 for adults. That totaled $41 just for Rebecca and I to get in. I would have sucked it up without complaining, but for almost every activity inside the gate you also had to pay. As we walked through the gate, we were surrounded by a vast number of storefronts selling everything from costumes to musical instruments to housewares, all medieval themed and all extremely pricey. The there was face painting, food and drinks which I guess I can understand, but they were also way overpriced. The worst was the rides. $3 per body to ride on a boat shaped swing, that you had to swing yourself. It was just a wooden boat hanging from ropes. With five kids, plus an adult to help them, it was close to $20 to go on a three minute swing ride! A small 'maze' with a 10 foot slide at the end? $2 per person and it took all of three minutes to get through it. Didn't they just charge $41 for the two of us to get in? Come on. They could do the same thing at the playground for free. Lucky for Rebecca, the day was on yia-yia, who is much more generous than myself.

Hercules, the liger

The only thing that you didn't have to pay extra for was the entertainment, which was pretty good. My favorite was the wild cat show, although I spent the whole thing with a six year old on my shoulders since it was so packed we couldn't get anywhere near close enough for Rebecca to see on her own. The highlight was Hercules, the liger. Hercules is a lion/tiger hybrid who measures 11 feet long when fully stretched out. His birth was an 'accident' (it's illegal to purposely breed the two cats), and he is in the Book of World Records (I assume they meant Guinness, although they didn't actually specify that), as the biggest cat ever recorded. Interestingly, the fact that his father is a lion and his mother is a tiger is significant in producing his gigantic size. If his mother were a lion, and his father a tiger, he would be called a tion, and he would be a dwarf instead of a giant. At least that's what they told us. My picture doesn't do him justice, he is actually curled up in it, but I had a forty pound six year old on my shoulders when they had him stretch so I couldn't get a picture of that.

My next favorite show was the Aerial Angels, three fire eating, aerial silk performers from Michigan who include a great deal of humor into their clever act. Rebecca loved the pony ride (she got three of them) and she even got to hold a falcon. Yia-yia made sure she and her cousins got to ride on whatever they wanted, and on her way out she told me "this is the best fair ever". I must say it was quite the excursion into fantasy land. Thanks Charlene for giving us such a nice day.

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Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I absolutely love fairs and festivals.

Amber said...

Wow, I LOOOOVE the face paining. My daughter would be green with envy because we're too cheap to ever let her do it. :-)

Noelle said...

Me too! If her yia-yia hadn't gotten it for her, it wouldn't have happened. She's still miffed I wouldn't buy her one of the stuffed ligers.

Karen said...

Awesome face painting!!!