Last weekend I went to the Renaissance festival in Larkspur Colorado. I have to say that I am kind of a snob on these kinds of festivals. Not because I have gone to so many, I have only been to three in the last 30 years. It’s because I was spoiled in the early eighties when I went to a real renaissance festival. It was held at the Hedingham Castle in Essex, East Anglia UK. They know how to throw a party and make it authentic. Lunch was a chunk of beef hacked off of the rotating spit and a pint of ale in a real beer stein!
I almost hate to call the one in Larkspur a Renaissance festival; it looked to me like a geek costume party. I used to be an out-of-the-closet geek. I am still a geek; I just dress and act some what normal in public lately. I knew as soon as we parked that we were in for a treat. I watched the crowd in front of us as we walked the half mile towards the entrance. There was a young couple dressed for the part, he was wearing an outfit made up of as much denim material as possible, black, with patches from every hard rock band that has skulls as it’s logo as possible. Oh and a zombie t-shirt. His girl friend was sporting as little black leather as she could and still cover her vitals. She also had purple angel wings sewed into the lacing of her handkerchief size top. Between the two of them they could have outfitted an all denim biker gang one of their wallets. Then there was the obligatory fat family in shorts and fanny packs sporting the most day-glow running shoes I have ever seen. Later I saw the boys wearing pirate pistols and the girls wearing pointy princess hats. It was an improvement.
As we passed through the gates and under the jesters and kings as they greeted each paying customer I began to hear music. There was a trio of horn players in a small grassy area just inside the festival. An English horn, trumpet, and an obo I think. Anyway it took me a moment to recognize the song they were playing, the tempo was slower than I expected. It was the theme song from the old Super Mario Brothers video game.
I really like renaissance fairs and should go more often. They remind me of what theme parks should be, lots of edged weapons, danger, and bra-less women. I was really taken aback by the introduction of pirate themes. It was the one thing other than Vikings that I felt was missing. Now I have an excuse to dress up and wear big heavy pirate guns. Aaarrrg. I will have to practice pirate speak. Now I don’t have to wait for September 19th to put on my geek in public.
The only thing that they could really improve upon is the beer. I mean this is in Colorado, one of the best places to get a good craft beer. Why are they selling Bud Light in plastic cups with Bud Light written right on the side? Oh, and $4.00 for a 6oz cup? WTF? I even asked the beer wench if I could have my beer in a big ceramic stein she was selling. Nope, it had to be the plastic cup. Beer is cheap; I would buy one of their big $20.00 seines if they would fill it with a good Yorkshire Bitter! Aaarrrg.
Well, the festival wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. No, it wasn’t on par with the Hedingham Castle siege, which I witnessed back in 87, but it was a hoot. I plan on going next year, maybe with a little pirate gear and maybe even see if I can wench up my lovely wife.