Albuquerque Renaissance Faire 2014
Last month, I went to my first Renaissance Faire ever. My Main Man (M3) – and yes, he asked to be called that – use to go to such faires and festivals along with SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) often as a kid and teen.
It was the live equestrian jousting. That is what drew me in. I dressed in some garb. Sort of. At least, it drew stares at gas stations, etc. And it fit in nicely at the faire. The location was the Balloon Museum at the north end of Albuquerque. ABQ is well known for it’s international hot air balloon festival. So, not only did our tickets let us into the Ren Faire, we also got to toodle around the balloon museum.
In fact, as we were stepping in line to buy tickets, this nice lady came up to us and gave us two tickets. Apparently, she had meant to go with her daughter, had already purchased tickets, and then learned her daughter couldn’t make it. So cool.
Inside the balloon museum, they had one room set off for a few vendors, info booths, and demo booths. It was great fun to see so many people dressed in garb. Folks put a lot of time and effort in researching clothing of the Renaissance time and then crafting it.
First we found some family (D., little RBug, and N.) who had arrived earlier and we sat to watch the equestrian jousting. This was incredible! I really loved this show the jousters put on. There were lances, shields, big horses, armor, hand-to-hand combat, and at least one spear throw. The ladies were incredible and the men were keeping up. I tried to find more info on this jousting troupe. I was told there are a few such troupes that travel the country putting on these shows and I wish I could tell you which troupe this was. I believe it was the Order of Epona – but someone correct me if I am wrong. One of the ladies was obviously having a great time and I didn’t realize how petite she was until she dismounted for some hand-to-hand combat.
The thunder of the horses’ hooves was exhilarating. And the crack of the lances was awesome! And once again, these folks put tons of work into their garb, making it look authentic. The horses have obviously worked with each other quite a bit and had done this crazy thing of charging another horse with a lanced rider atop. I swear, one big brute was thoroughly enjoying himself!
Once the jousting was over, it was lunch time. While there was a royal feast being served, it was a little beyond our budget for this outing. So we headed to the commoners’ food court to check out the food vendors. We settled on Scottish food. I stood in line and enjoyed all the garb and weapons and wind. Yes, indeed, it was windy. But it would get windier yet. M3 had wandered off to the tart lady and brought back three different kinds of tarts for us to share. Finally, we sat down to some Scottish food. I had a meat pie in which the meat had been stewed in Guinness beer (which is nearly the best use for Guinness). M3 had his first Scotch egg. Take a hardboiled, peeled egg, wrap it in sausage and bread crums, and deep fry it. Yep, one of the best ways to induce wind later on…..like on the 2 hour drive home. Both dishes came with mashed potatoes (smothered in Guinness gravy – the best use of Guinness ever!) and sauteed cabbage and onions. My meat pie was so damn good I almost didn’t share with M3.
After that, we wandered a little, but the wind was picking up even more. We found the tavern and tried the mead they had on offer. Chaucer’s Mead. So good! We sat on the grass and enjoyed the Middle Eastern music of Sadaqah and watched the lovely dancer. I was thoroughly impressed with her abilities. By this time, the wind was serious and folks were taking down tents because wares were flying off tables and canvas was tearing. But these musicians and this dancer kept on going. Her movements were so well timed with the music, so graceful. The wind teased some of her hair free and played with her clothes – I think it made her dance a little ethereal. And then these two small boys wandered near the stage. They were decked out as small knights and they stood watching the dancer open mouthed. I think she may have helped jump start them into puberty!
Then it was time to wander some more. There was a blacksmith and we briefly checked out his wares. We walked past the little kid activity ‘Fight a Knight’ which was pretty funny to watch. A couple little kids with play swords beating on a kneeling, fully armored man. Then we wandered among the merchants. Alas, several of them had taken down due the wind. But we did find the Bee Chama Honey people and bought a small jar of their elderberry honey. It is incredibly good!
With one last walk around the greens, we headed back into the balloon museum. There, we briefly perused the info booths again, mostly looking at armor. Then, finally it was time to head home. M3 promises to wear garb next time. I need to work on my sewing skills and make some tunics!