|Smiling! This is obviously before the weather wilted me.|
I should've suspected something was up on the Friday before 1st Weekend when, way earlier than usual, I looked around and saw that everything was packed/framed/priced/organized and I was showered/dressed/ready-to-go. Because in the 25+ years that I've been doing the show that has NEVER happened. And as it turned out, it didn't happen this year either. I was hallucinating, apparently.
But other stuff did happen. Magickal stuff.
That first Fest weekend I reconnected with some forever friends and made some new ones. I watched a Monarch butterfly hatch and shared the experience with others who knew nothing about the butterflies and their plight. I hung out with my friend Terry (author of the book I illustrated) and his family and enjoyed some great conversation as well as a bowl of his amazing chili. I remembered why I adore my hard-workin' minion, 'Sir Douglas' (every shopkeeper needs a Doug). I threw together some garb pieces that allow me to be my shapeless, grandmotherly self. (That is not it in the photo above; Sir Douglas snapped a pic of me modeling his wife Deborah's Irish dress and once I got it on and saw myself in it I didn't want to go back to being shapeless....)
AND -- get this! -- I got out of the shop and saw the show. And that hardly ever happens, unless there's a bizarre fire that closes down my neighborhood and forces me to walk around site in my jammies....
Who knew that I'd see mermaids preening in a woodland grotto and a circle of fairies dancing in a sun-dappled forest. I tried on masks, admired carvings made of amber and jet, attempted to solve a riddle, was shadowed by a most amazing dragon of leather and feathers and scales. I heard toe-tapping music, watched a stage of gypsies dance with fire, made a wish in a cauldron, and was surprised by an unexpected visit from a beloved friend.
I learned quickly why Seeing The Show freaks me out a little even as it charms me. And I retreated to my dear Mayfaire where I could put a sales counter between me and all the action. I gave hugs and got hugs and shared hugs and was asked for hugs, and by the time Sunday evening rolled around I was DONE. All energy was gone. Monday came and went and Tuesday arrived and it was STILL gone....
And before I knew it, the second weekend had arrived and I was only marginally ready for it.
And then the weather raised the stakes: high 90's with a heat index in the 100's. Mayfaire easily went through five gallons of water on Saturday alone. The few patrons there lumbered around the site like dazed souls lost in the desert. Fest participants paced themselves, bringing a cheerful coolness to the show that hid their discomfort. (I love my Fest Family and the lengths it'll go to to make positive memories for my customers.)
I annoyed everyone with my mothering ("How are you doing? Are you staying hydrated? Can I get you some water?"). I suffered ankle-circling blisters from my leather boots. I lived on commercial sports drinks and pickle juice. I sweated all over my demo sketches. I was miserable. But we were all miserable together. And Fest people can make anything fun, I swear.
And then it was over. That blistering 2nd Weekend ended in an air-conditioned car and eventually in a cool bath with a Freezie-Pop and a book. It's Wednesday already and I still feel foggy. Yet I'm getting ready to do it all over again, only this time for a just-as-hot and just-as-dusty 3-day weekend. And it'll all be good because we'll be together.
And really? In another two weeks or so Minnesota will have frost warnings. So we might as well enjoy these Dog Days while we can.
P.S.: If you're in the area, PLEASE hie thyself to yon Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee! My shop -- Mayfaire -- is #443 near the Crown Stage (where Johnny Phoenix and the Tortuga Twins perform). Ticket and show information can be found here at this link. AND you can print out a coupon book with over $200 in Fest savings for free here at this link. I hope to meet you there. :)