It's been several years since I was able to visit the Sioux City 'Riverssance' Renaissance festival. It's perhaps the last of the small Iowa faires not run by a certain organizer who, as soon as I see he involved, causes me to lose any interest. I think I have been there twice before - once driving and once jmaynard and I flew (if you think garb gets you odd looks at times, climb out of a private plane in garb and watch the jaws drop...) It's a fun little faire with more than a few familiar faces - some of which we'd not seen in far too long.
Things are finally, just barely, to the point where we have the time & money to be able to enjoy more than just one faire per year. Saturday did not have the best of starts due to not finding a little place for breakfast. It was there, but we didn't find it until after breakfast at an IHOP that had lacking service - I wondered if someone hadn't showed up for that shift.
Upon arrival at the faire, there was (overly) amplified music for a belly dance troupe. It was not the group I remembered or wished to see... and they could have dropped things at least 20 dB and been fine, though it still might have been too loud. I had to stand well away just to be able to tolerate the sound level. I felt ZERO guilt walking away from this bunch.
Wandering some, I found the right group, Danza Mystique, with more appropriate sound (live drummer, anything more now provided by a very unobtrusive tablet). It was near the end of their performance and Nasira pulled me onto the stage almost upon seeing me (the last bit is always an audience participation bit, usually mainly for kids). The stage was in three independent sections and the ground was uneven. I stepped aside after one go around as I was worried my weight on one the pieces acting as a lever might send a little kid flying. After the performance finished about the first thing said was on the order of "We're still using those chairs. Thank you." I had all but forgotten about them. This goes back to 2003: "You brat!"
While the Danzan's were talking to other folks, I gathered some sticks and twigs and shimmed the stage some. The end result was still far from perfect, but much, much less likely to send anyone flying - or stumbling. Sunday, their drummer made a point of thanking me for doing that. I was more surprised that nobody else had done anything of the sort.
Later we caught up with Robert of Orckes & Trolles (Or as Zski calls/called them, "Orckies & Trollies") and learned that they had a third CD out and we'd had a mention in the liner notes of their second. I hadn't realized I had that one and if I saw that, had forgotten. They had just recently sold out of the second CD and on Sunday I suggested a scan of the notes and that was agreed to. I've since sent an email to let Robert know that is not necessary as we do indeed have that CD.
There was a post-faire-day gathering (such things seem fairly common at the little Iowa faires I like & have missed since most of them disappeared) at Golden Corral where the rennies had a room mostly to themselves, but it wasn't enough. I know for sure I missed a few people. I suspect a waitress felt overwhelmed or at least bewildered - but she had more than a little help from some of the rennies gathering plates, and we made sure she got a very good tip.
Sunday started better, as we went to the right place for breakfast. For a hole in the wall known for hot dogs, they do omelets very, very well indeed. The day was also a bit warmer and a bit less windy, but I decided to start the day with woolen Inverness cloak just to be sure. I spent much of Saturday indulging in hot cocoa. The one downside was the not-Danza group had cranked their amp... to the point the Orckes & Trolles decided they wouldn't bother trying to sing over it - and they were half-way across the site. We later learned that they had generated more than a few complaints about that.
Much of Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, with the addition of seeing an Orckes & Trolles performance (without them having to compete with an amplifier), a bit of Shattock's (they're still around - though only Mercutio is left of the original cast) take on Romeo & Juliet. Until recently, I was expecting to see Foolscap and Lady Ampersand as well, perhaps as Concentio Agnorum, though a web site makes it look like things pretty much ended a couple years ago. Due to their recent move far from Iowa, this was not to be.
A few purchases were made. A local winery had some good stuff and we bought a few bottles, and sampled others. And after sampling their chokecherry wine, I made a point of buying a bottle of that, too. Just as we were about to decide on some soaps, there was a gust of wind. This was caught by the side of a tent, which transmitted the force to a open display case which tipped. I just barely caught the case, but the soap went flying all the same. After some reassembly, another gust of wind, and a change of layout so any more wind gusts wouldn't provide a game of 52-bar pick-up, the selections were settled upon and purchased. I also picked up a ceramic 'flask' that has some unicorn imagery - and got the lecture on what NOT to do with it (all inspired by others doing exactly those things, with disastrous result). Jay bought a teeny tiny little ceramic bowl (you could maybe dip *a* fingertip in it) for work, to demonstrate how much he cares about some things, as his caring would not even fill that bowl. We also stopped in at Thread Bear, who we saw at Ren in the Glen (which I evidently didn't post about... yet). I did not see Scots Dragon there, and only now do I find that they have ceased operations. I wonder if their successors were there.
I am unsure which day it was, but Nasira made a point of getting a photo of her with me, with me wearing my "Property of Danza Mystique" tag. This photo is to be sent to Tamalena who moved rather far west many years ago now. The back of the tag reads, "If lost, return to Tamalena." Someone else of the group remarked, "Wow, you have been around awhile. We haven't given those out in years." I am told that Tamalena will be greatly amused by the picture. I hope so.
All in all, it's good to be "back" some. I missed the little Iowa faires and the folks I met at them. This was very, very therapeutic.