MovieBob - Intermission
MovieBob Goes to the Renaissance Faire

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 24 Sep 2010 16:00
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If you know what to look for, you can even discern a research sample of where the RPG/fantasy fandom is at in any particular year. In the early 2000s, Lord of the Rings couture was ubiquitous, for example. Perhaps a sign of the times, the Final Fantasy/JRPG look is all but entirely absent, while in years past you couldn't turn a corner in such a place without colliding with a Cloud or an FF1-era Black Mage. This particular year, partial-animals seems to be a big trend - pointy ears and fuzzy cat (or fox) tails turning what would otherwise be casual clothing into a costume in what I assume is an offshoot of furry fandom. I see many, many pirates, but only one ninja, unless the rest are in concealment.

I'm not costumed myself for this visit, though I suppose the Triforce insignia on my t-shirt counts after a fashion. A wizard - or, perhaps, merely a Grateful Dead fan - raises his glass as I walk by and bellows a hearty "Zelda! Yeeeaahh!" It's not the best reaction I've ever gotten to a videogame themed shirt, but it's up there.

Barbarians mingle with bikers ("Pray tell, how many a fortnight's journey to this Sturgis of which ye speak?") A belly dancer walks at pace with a pair of Victorian courtesans and dwarves of the jolly "Hi-ho!" variety tread the same path as dwarves of the bigass-stone-axe variety. Men dressed as Scottish highlanders nod in passing at men dressed as The Higlander. One group - more appropriately, party - moves past me in jovial formation. Their costumes can't help but lead you to guess at their classes: warrior, archer, thief, the one with the staff must be the cleric, or would he go by "mage"? I wonder which one is on potion duty?

Potions, incidentally, are rather a big part of the day. Alcohol - in the form of beer, wine, mead and hard cider - flows freely (well, expensively actually, but you get the idea) so long as you've got your "I'm of drinking age" wristband on; poured by serving wenches often costumed in such a fashion that their d├ęcolletage (look it up) can serve as a handy extra pocket. The beer can be purchased in yards (to my European readers: Here in the states, we think drinking beer in yards is a crazy new thing) that come in plastic glasses that can be linked into an ever-growing staff after consumption. By the end of the day, men can be seen proudly walking with staffs five or six links high. I managed just one yard - but only because the wine, cider and mead I'd enjoyed came in normal cups.

There are multiple stages for dance, song and comedy shows, but one in particular is set aside for "The Tale of The Tiger." This is something of a KFR perennial, handled by the animal conservation outfit T.I.G.E.R.S. and featuring a presentation of rare big cats. The star attraction is Hercules, a 12 foot tall, 900-pound liger (lion/tiger hybrid) you may have seen making the talk show rounds. He's the rare "perfect specimen" liger, gifted with the best traits of both species, and according to the Guiness Book of World Records, is the single largest cat known to exist in the world. The sight of him, in person, is awe inspiring.

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