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Renaissance Faire - RonO's Ramblings

May. 22nd, 2010 07:47 pm Renaissance Faire

Today, robot_grrl, The Kid and I headed north to the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire. I used to be a regular attendee (at least once a year) at The Bristol Renaissance Faire (run by the same company), but after moving to DuPage county the added distance made us not make it more than a couple of times. Similarly, last year we didn't try to make it up to Irwindale - which is in Northern Los Angles County - for the Southern California event. We did go to a smaller event in Escondido, but it was nice to get to the big faire again, and plan on going back somewhat regularly.

The plan was to get moving fairly early and leave about 7:30 grabbing breakfast on the way. We didn't quite make it out on time, and had to get gas which slowed us by a few more minutes. We stopped at an IHOP in Lake Elsinore for breakfast and then followed the GPS's directions.

The trip up only had a couple of really bad points. First, when we had to get off I-15 to get onto CA-91, the traffic on the ramp was bad. Next, much of the non-freeway stretch of CA-71 was a bit bad. The last, and odd, thing was how the GPS routed us past I-10 to I-210 and then dropped us down from the north - where we had to contend with a semi that led us down the ramp and around the corner.

Between our later start, a bit longer than hoped on breakfast and the heavier than estimated traffic, we arrived at the park about 10:25 or 10:30, during the peak of the incoming crowd. So, it took us a while to get parked and into the grounds.

Once inside, we started working our way around. Before we got very far, we ran into a recruiter for the youth military arts program, and figured it was worth getting The Kid back to where they met at 1:15. So we took their information and continued around.

Unlike Bristol and, if I recall from my visit in 1998, the older location in San Bernardino, the faire is laid out in a single, winding path with no loops. This made the foot traffic - already bad due to the second-to-last weekend and nicer weather - really bad at some points.

Shopping-wise, our main goal was to get Tara a skirt to go with her garb - the main reason that all of us were in t-shirts and jeans today. We looked at several clothing stores, and she finally found one she liked. We also, briefly looked into britches for The Kid, but the only ones we found were either too small or too big. We also considered some Sky Chairs for our porch, which we rejected due to the budget (maybe next year), and admired some of the shoes and boots at Earth Shoes - but couldn't consider even the non-custom pairs for the same reason. I briefly looked at some additions to my garb, but decided that I probably had plenty of combinations - especially since we've not been to many renaissance faires or SCA events recently (we should do more, at least of the latter - time to renew our lapsed memberships), and haven't been doing our SCA/Renfaire garb at cons much (something else we should resume). We also picked up some seasoning from The Garlic Lady/Festival booth, and some small beads.

When we got back to the military encampment, a minute or two after the start, The Kid suddenly decided he wasn't interested - but would rather go back and make one of us pay to shoot the really bad bows at the archery booth in the games area, something that we weren't willing. This was kind of the last, and worst, case of his deciding that he shouldn't have to think or even think about thinking today.

Admittedly, he'd been a bit disappointed earlier. At Loscon last year, he'd met the son of a coin merchant who sells at the faire, and was hoping to be able to spend some time with him again today. But the other kid was involved in baseball and scouts this weekend.

We did manage to take in one show, Odds Bodkin, which was enjoyable.

Between the big breakfast, and the $4.00/glass pop, we decided to not try to eat at the faire. So taking that, the dog who needed to be let out, the kid who needed to go to bed, and the traffic, we ended up leaving about 3:00, probably a bit earlier than I'd have without all of those factors.

When we got to the car, we queried the GPS for someplace to eat. It again reminded us of why it is better to ask for a specific restaurant chain by name then try to search for a type of food when it led us to an unknown and gone barbecue place. So dinner was at Denny's and not one in the best of neighborhoods - but not the worst either. As it turned out, just a few blocks down was another diner which at least isn't in the San Diego area (Norm's IIRC).

After our early dinner, we got back on the road and promptly got into some more traffic oddities. First was the GPS telling us to stay on I-10 as we neared CA-71, then telling us to exit in less than half a mile when we weren't near the correct lane, causing a slight detour. Then we ran into unexpectedly and inexplicably slow traffic on the latter part of CA-71 and onto CA-91. Overall this delayed our arrival home for about half an hour over the original estimate.

At this point, we plan on going back next year. But I've got a few thoughts about doing this. First, we should go a bit earlier in the run (the move prevented that this year). Second, we should probably leave about 30 minutes or so earlier and eat further up - probably around Covina Hills. Third, we should contact the coin people (assuming that they are again at Loscon so we can get their contact information) beforehand so we can be sure the kids can get together. Finally, if we can find someone who can stop by our house midday and let the dog out for a while, we won't have quite the pressure to get back home. We should also try to make the fall edition of the Escondido faire (which is now less than 20 minutes from home) and some more SCA events in close range.

I also need to go through my garb again and make sure I've got some good, complete, outfits for various sorts of usage.

As an aside on that final thought, I also ought to see if I can either find online advise for making a kilt on the cheap - or more correctly the fabric measurements for making one's own kilt - and for wrapping and wearing one. I think at renfaires and cons - at least - I could do quite well with a kilt (probably over shorts since I'm not quite that brave)

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