Saturday, October 04, 2008



I know you're just dying to hear about our day at the Renaissance Faire -- er, Renaissance Institute. It was on Friday, when the Faire is not in session, but it was on the grounds of the Faire, so we had some time to stroll past all the booths and stages with no crowds at all.


Even though the Faire wasn't going on, we did get to meet some participants. Our first event was a stop at the jousting list. Two knights, one gold, one black, explained some of the history and culture of jousting, and handed around some equipment for people to handle and examine. Ziad even got to hold a lance! It was taller than he was, and extremely heavy, but he managed to keep it parallel to the ground. Doughty lad!

Next our group split up for activities more or less based on age. Ziad and Maya did some leatherworking -- mostly stamping out designs on to leather strips to make bookmarks. The leatherworker also gave out free wristbands -- very cool. Ziad chose a blue one stamped with the sun and moon, while Maya took a purple one with flowers and insects.

Next we were off to "climb the castle wall" -- that is, listen to a talk about siege offenses and defenses, have a chance to build little castles out of sugar-cube-sized blocks of cement, and climb up a rock climbing wall. This was a first for Ziad and Maya.


Maya spent a lot of time climbing, a little higher every time, and getting used to rapelling down.


Ziad spent most of the time building, but took a break to climb straight up to the top in at record speed, climb back down again, then return to his castle. He also fashioned a small catapult out of the clay provided to use as mortar in the castle construction.

Then lunch. Then a visit to the soldier's encampment, which is the part that I did not think I was going to be able to endure. It's not that it wasn't fantastic. It's just that it was the heat of a very hot day, we were in the sun, I was thirsty and tired and it was still Ramadan. Whining aside, the two soldiers gave a very good talk on the mercenary armies of the Renaissance period, their weaponry and the various class distinctions among the soldiers, and again, had lots of cool things to hand around for children. Including an extremely interesting handbook on military drills for the musketeer that appeared to be a reproduction of a period manual.

Next we did wheat weaving, making braids of wheat that we fashioned into a small heart. Although this was fun and relaxing, in the end there's not much more to tell than that.


Last we saw a performance by the actor portraying Sir Frances Drake. He was very good. He got lots of kids up on stage to try on various costumes, illustrating whatever social custom he was talking about at the time, all the while projecting an extremely swashbuckling attitude.

And, best of all, Ziad and Maya got passes to go back to the Faire. We're heading back tomorrow for an all-morning book-binding workshop, after which we intend to check out the jousting and then ramble around the Faire to our heart's content. Maya wants to see Queen Elizabeth. She also wants to go in costume, but given the iffy weather I am discouraging this.

Here is a link to some pictures taken by another parent. Ziad and Maya are in some of them, but bonus points to those of you who can identify the person's children.

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Blogger Vivian said...

This is facinating! Wish we could be there.

Is that Serenity and the boy in blue T shirt?

9:49 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Serenity yes, but not the boy. Serenity's sister, whose name I forget, is wearing the pink skirt and blue vest. (I think the blue vest. Maybe the green one.)

7:20 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Renfaire sounds interesting.Mom says we might go sometime.

7:20 PM  

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