RenFest II: Return of RenFest

Mon Aug 27th, 2001 11:41:28 AM EST

Diary Entry 35
[ << Prev | Diary Index | Next >> ]

Bodices, sword wounds, improv, mistaken identities, lost scabbards, and more, all in the second weekend's installment of my Michigan Renaissance Festival journal. See also the first weekend's entry.

On Saturday I went to the Renaissance Festival with Aggie Ostrowski, our ``Irish'' fencer (O'Strowski, of course!). Aggie spent her whole summer in Wisconsin making costumes for stage productions, so of course her own costume was one that she had made herself by hand, a blue dress with a bodice, and what she called a "brat" worn around the waist.

As soon as we arrived I picked up my newly made baldric and scabbard and wrote a check to Nick (``Angus'') for them, a great deal at $75 considering that I would have paid more like $200 at one of the faire booths for similar items. We dressed. Aggie and I wandered over to the bakery and bought cinnamon rolls.

Then I noticed that my brand-new scabbard had dropped off the sword. I was walking around with bare steel stuck into my belt. Dammit, I'd only had this scabbard for half an hour—the faire wasn't even open yet—and I'd already lost it. I walked back over the path that I'd followed and scanned the ground. No luck. I went back to the bunny booth with growing despair. As I approached: ``Ben, one of the jousters found your scabbard and brought it by.'' Thank God! I tied it on securely this time.

The day went smoothly. We grossed about $1000 on bunny fencing, a strong take. I did good improv with patrons all over the faire when I wasn't directing bunny fencing. I've started getting creative and relaxing into my role this year.

The patrons are really enjoying the Robin Hood theme this year. Everyone knows about Robin Hood so there's no need to educate them about it. Once on Saturday I was even stopped by a patron and accused of being Will Scarlett. There is a cast member playing Will Scarlett, but it's not me. I would make sense in the role though—I have a red shirt and a red beard. This patron nearly dragged me off to the sheriff (Dale) by my beard. Ow!

Because Doug from Schoolcraft was in Stratford today, I took charge of the fencing demonstrations on Treetops Stage. We had only three fencers (myself, Aggie, and Mark from Schoolcraft). Without any planning, rehearsal, or even much thought, I managed to modestly entertain a small crowd with facts about Olympic-style fencing and demonstrations. I was happy about this. I told them about the history and usage of the three weapons and then we had a set of three short bouts, one in each weapon. And of course we pitched the bunny fencing as well.

In mid-afternoon I finally became exasperated with my soft cloth drawstring pouch, which is very difficult to fully open, so Aggie helped me to look for a new hard leather pouch with a tab-and-slot fastener (technically, I think it's a sporan) to put onto my baldric. I bought one for $30 or so. I think that this may be the cheapest thing I've bought at the festival these two years, other than food.

We had some issues today with the ``Rogue & Rapier'' show by Aaron and Dave. The problem is that one of our bunny fencing booths is right next to it, so our hawking and fencing was disturbing their show. We finally agreed to stop bunny fencing during their show. In return they pitched the bunny fencing to their departing crowds.

After closing, we all went to dinner at the Cobblestone Pub (?). Pretty good place. Jeff showed us his head wound that he suffered during one of the fights. Apparently his own sword got smacked into his forehead. He finished the show, then Dr. Todd took him to the first-aid station and stitched him up. Scary.

Sunday a pretty big group came along with me: Jeff Paplawsky, Arielle, Katherine, and Darin. It wasn't as good a day as I'd hoped. Despite the number that I brought, we seemed understaffed all day. I later found out that two of the fencers from Schoolcraft hadn't been helping out with bunny fencing, which contributed to the problem. Besides that a couple of our fencers never got a break, which is terrible and should not have happened. I will have to be more careful in the future; everyone should have fun at RenFest, it is not my intention to overwork anyone.

Arielle really stuck out today in the bosom-hugging costume she was wearing, showing a lot of cleavage. Katherine looked nice too. But Arielle was a continuing source of frustration. She seems to love to heap scorn on me, and I have no idea where it's coming from or why. It came to a head when I stopped for dinner after the festival. She was insisting that we go to a drive-through restaurant, but dammit I'm not going to settle for McDonald's after a hard day of work. Eventually I just gave her the finger and went in to Qdoba and bought my burrito anyhow.

Other than those things, I had a good time. I went to see Jeff (the stage combat guy, not the fencer) fire off the cannon at opening and closing. I was mistaken for a guardsman by a pair of little boys and told them how to find a real guardsman. I improv'd with Elaine (Allie) a bit. And I participated in the fencing demos with Cliff from Schoolcraft taking the lead.

I ran into the girl who was selling fajitas last week again. As it turned out, her name was Ashley and she had the morning off. I told her that I was running the bunny fencing booth and invited her to come by. And she did, in mid-afternoon. I put on a little sabre demo for her since we were in a slow period on the bunny fencing. Shame that she turned out to be a little younger than I thought at first.

I got my faire pin this morning and put it on my hat. Maybe I should move it onto my doublet—some of the shorter security personnel can't see it unless I duck a little, leading to occasional misunderstandings. (I am about 6'2" but with my boots more like 6'4".)

At closing I had a special assignment from the captain of the guard (Dale), which was to listen for cries of "God Shave the Queen!" as the queen proceeded to the front gate, which had been heard often previously. But I didn't hear it, so I joined the procession, flanking Lord Hatton. Outside the front gate, during the Queen's address to the crowd, I ran into Ashley. She gave me her email address (unsolicited!), on a piece of paper.

I also ran into Amy Vance today. She looked lovely in a violet dress and yellow wings. I introduced her to Dale. She said that she was about to leave for Japan in a week or so for her study abroad.

On my home, after dropping off everyone, I bought a whole passel of costume maintenance supplies: black boot polish, applicator sponges, metal polish for my sword, steel wool, gun oil, and more. I also bought some insoles for my boots. My feet have been killing me the last two weekends. At least the blisters are healing now that I figured out to wear double layers of socks.

I wonder what next weekend will bring?

Last updated 03 Apr 2004 21:17. Copyright © 2004 Ben Pfaff.
May be freely redistributed, but copyright notice must be retained.