My Lovely Bride™ and I just got home from the first day of our “Home Faire”, Canterbury Renaissance Faire, in Silverton, Oregon. As with previous visits, this year’s Faire was thoroughly enjoyable, if different than before. Some changes were good, some not as much (I miss the old Ale Yard, but that’s primarily because my wife’s friend who first got us into Ren-Faires worked there. Nothing against Oberon’s, they are a perfectly fine place to buy an Ale or five, it just feels different now without the old Ale Yard.), but all in all Canterbury remains the best Faire we attend every year… and it just so happens to be only 30 minutes from home!
For the most part, Canterbury was as it always is. The Imperial Knights were there performing daring feats on the Lists, in the Jousting Tournament. The Queen’s Court was wonderful, as were the rest of the regular performers (especially Ye Merrie Greenwood Players, who really bring the Faire setting to life). Adam the Baudy Juggler knocked the crowds dead with his ribald humor, Matthew VanZee entertained young and old with his magic tricks, Riona sang her heart out… The list goes on and on! There seemed to be more vendors this year than there was in previous visits, always a good thing, but it was very nice to see old favorites such as Leather Mystics, Brunetta Blacksmithing (from whom I purchased a sweet cutlery set!), Flying Skwirl, and The Clay Goddess. I would have loved to spend money with each of the vendors, and tip all of the performers handsomely, but we were a bit short on funds this week. Luckily we are returning to Canterbury next weekend as well, and I’ll have just gotten paid, so perhaps I will be able to walk out with a set of leather armor I had my eye on!
Oh, who am I kidding? They would have to custom make a suit to get around this gut!
One thing that was funny about today’s visit was My Lovely Bride™. She hates crowds, and even moreso hates attention, thus why she tends to favor ren-faire garb that is plain or doesn’t especially stand out. Right after we arrived, though, she spotted a hand-carved dragon-headed staff at Stiyx-N-Stones, and just had to have it. So I bought it for her, and she set about dressing it up a bit as we went from shop to shop. She found a copper pendant that she wanted to hang from the staff just below the head, and a bit of blue leather strap to attach it with. She bought a few bells at Flying Skwirl, and hung them from the leather strap as well. By the way, Scotsmen, that blue strap does indeed signify my Lady is a Lifter! Then Leah at Leather Mystics put a dark brown leather wrap below that as a grip. All the while, more and more people kept coming over to see the staff, to take my wife’s picture with the staff, etc. But as long as it was the staff getting the attention, she didn’t mind or panic about it.
But on top of all that, we kept running into the Queen’s Court as they walked through the village, so we kept having to bow/curtsy and yell “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!”… At one point, we talked for a moment with Queen Elizabeth herself, as she followed us into Leather Mystics (where we had gone to avoid yet another round of bowing and curtsying, and trying to avoid all the attention the Court rightly draws). In the end, Karen’s anti-anxiety medication got a very nice work-out, but she had a good time.
Anyway, I think my thought on Canterbury can be summed up in one, simple phrase, which I uttered to my wife as we walked through the gates earlier today: “It feels like we’re coming home”.
Canterbury is Home.
(Part 2 follows here)