Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And It's Not Just A Bunch Of Nerds In Costumes Eating Turkey Legs, You Guys.

Oh, Garcia, yes it is.  

Around the end of summer us Halloween folk start to get antsy.  Fall is not in the air, but there it is on the calendar!  October 31st is so close yet so far away!  We need a good excuse to wear a costume and be someone else for a couple hours to tide us over, and there is no better place to do that in late summer in Minnesota than the Renaissance Festival!

Here in Minnesota the Renaissance Festival (from here on out will be referred to as "Ren Fest" to save typing time.  Some of the hardcores like to refer to it as "Fest" but I'm just not that deep in to it, man.  To me, "Fest" could still mean a number of things, EdgeFest, OzFest, various other hardrock music festivals I would never attend...)  directly competes with The Great Minnesota Get-Together, the State Fair, for our attention.  I used to be a hardcore fair go-er, so much free crap and the 4H Barn is a wonder among wonders!  But ever since I have started going to Ren Fest, in 2006, I could take or leave the fair.  Mostly, I leave it.  I can skip a few years without a free neon yardstick and some mini-donuts (because you can totally get those at the movie theater year round) I prefer to spend my money in a dirty, wood-chip laden former farm land in the southern suburbs wearing a costume and getting drunk on cheap white wine.  Huzzah!

I came kind of late to the Ren Fest game.  Like I said, I only started going in 2007 when my sister's then boyfriend, now husband, Derek wanted us all to come with him.  He is a season ticket holder!  Some people hold season tickets to baseball games, some to Ren Fest.  It didn't take much to talk me in to going in costume.  Any reason to wear a costume I am game for.  And I think we did pretty well for first timers:

Aside from my husband's shoes (As you will see, Jim has yet to get on board with period footwear) I think we look pretty good!  I am the colorful fairy in a borrowed costume.  My friend Dena is wearing a dress of mine, a Museum Replicas piece I bought a few years prior. Here is a clearer shot of myself, Dena and my sister Cori:

As you can see I am really into the fairy thing with my cheesy wand and everything.  I yet to start working at Party Papers so my eye for costumes had yet to develop.  Looking at Cori's top, I have no clue where she got it, nor have I seen it ever again since that day.  I'm going to have to ask her about it...

 The next year we stepped up our game a bit more in the costume department.  Cori (with her eyes shut, sorry Coco) got herself a Leg Avenue number and Derek is wearing his popular Pan costume.  Those pants were sewn for him by my mother-in-law Vickie, who said she was vacuuming up that material in her sewing room for weeks to come.  She also made my purple dress, you can only see the skirt of it since it was a bit chilly, but a great costume none the less.  And I had a matching purse! 

The year after that all it did was rain.  But we looked great!  And Jim is wearing a kilt (inauthentically, I may add.  Tsk, chicken.)  The purple bodice I have on was borrowed from one of my Party Papers co-workers who is much, much smaller than me.  That is the beauty of bodices though, I cinched that sucker in until I could barely breath!  The cloak was made for my by my mother-in-law as a Christmas present the year prior...

Here is the back of it (yes, I am Scottish folk dancing with a very tall woman) The cloak is a beautiful piece and since it was made for my not-so-impressive height I don't have to worry about tripping over it all the time.  It is now a part of my Ghost of Anoka Tour costume.  She is quite the wiz on the sewing machine as you can tell.

That same year our friends Ryan and Stevie came with us.  Stevie's entire costume is from Party Papers.  That bodice is killer!

2009 was by far the most fun I have had at Ren Fest.  I am not only wearing poorly applied hair extensions (I had a very short haircut at the time) and yes, Moya is dressed up at a fairy in a Leg Avenue dog costume, Cori and I are proudly wearing Fairy Crowns I made myself AND those amazing translucent wings made by another co-worker at Party Papers! Aside from the crown and the wings my costume was incredibly simple.  Navy blue leggings and a top of Cori's from Target.  I was very comfortable that year.  Maybe that's why I got so drunk...

Here is a better shot of the wings, that now hang in my daughter's bedroom:

 That is our dear friend Doty, who was a history major in college and usually steps up his costume game, but apparently not that year.

Jim and Derek were also fully decked out that year as well:

The Pan costume made another appearance and Jim's shoes are still completely out if place.

I love this picture of Cori and Derek for many reasons, but here is the main one:  There house was robbed a few months after this picture was taken and among other things, the necklace Cori is wearing in this picture was stolen.  The police asked if Cori and Derek had a picture of the necklace, they did, this picture.  The cops didn't outwardly laugh at them, but I'm sure this picture was passed around down at the police station.

Ugh, the less said about 2010 the better.  I was two month away from giving birth, as you can see.  Many breaks were required and I couldn't drink.  Next!  Fun fact, Cori was also pregnant, but you wouldn't know it...Well, her boobies are bigger than usual.

2011!  Back at it in full effect!  Derek has upgraded his costume from Pan to King and Jim rocks a puffy shirt like no other in my opinion.  I did try to get him to wear his kilt again, but no dice.

And yes!  We did bring our children with!  Cori and Doty chose not to don a costume.

And of course we threw the kids on to Twig the Fairy for a very cute photo-op!

As the years have progressed my costumes have gotten a bit better.  But, they are no comparison to some of the more hardcore set.  Behold my friend Megan's custom made dress by the Royal Tailor!

I work with Megan at Party Papers and she also works at the Ren Fest, so she kinda has to bring it, costume-wise., but she wouldn't have it any other way.  This girl half-asses nothing when it comes to costuming!

Even in her down time, when I would probably trying to access the internet someone, she stays authentic and plays cards!

Who is the Royal Tailor you ask?  This guy:

His name is Mark  and aside from being an amazing costume maker and tailor he also does a mean Queen Mum out at Ren Fest every year.  Here he is with Quinn a few years ago.  Quinn thought he was just posing with a nice old lady. 

At Party Papers we are already gearing up for Fest season, since these costumes are incredibly expensive and people like to spread out the cost over a few months and tend to start shopping early.

I always enjoy Ren Fest for many reasons, but the biggest reason is knowing that the next time I will be this excited about a costume and revelry will be Halloween!


  1. Thanks for sharing - loved the Pan costume

  2. Super fun pics! I need to come with you guys sometime! I haven't been to the Ren Faire since like, 2008? I can't remember....Cori lent me her costume which, I have had folded up nicely in my closet for like - a century now? And never remember to bring it back, because I suck!