Oh, Austin. Did I really need more reasons to love you? To the north lies a yearly Ren Faire in Dallas. To the south lies a yearly festival in Houston. Both of those are about a 3 hour drive. I used to drag anywhere from 12-20 people on a yearly 4 hour trek past Zombie Jesus and into the wilds of Ohio for the Columbus Ren Faire. Imagine my delight on discovering two large Ren Faires within three hours.
But lo! Two years ago a new Faire sprang up a mere 40 minutes outside Austin. Honestly, Sherwood Forest Faire is pretty darn good. It’s big enough I needed about 4 hours to do the full circuit but small enough that if I arrived when it opened and stayed till closing I could see the whole thing and most of the shows in one weekend.
Naturally, I went twice.
I’m a little disappointed at myself for wearing the same costume both times. I really need to get some things taken in and altered. My big box of Ren includes one peach and pink outfit, another in varying shades of blue, and an elegant lady’s dress in heavy grey fabric vaguely reminiscent of something the Starks would wear up in Winterfell.
The local Faire runs February – April. I foolishly thought that was too early, but on my first trip it was a balmy 72 degrees. In February. It’ll take me awhile to get used to the idea that Austin’s spring starts six weeks into the new year.
When I went back in March I picked the lightest of my clothes instead of opting for something to give my photos a little sense of variety. Honestly, unless I start hitting Ren Faires further up north I may never wear the heavy grey dress again. Instead of keeping me cosy in winter I’d end up drowning in my own sweat.
I really liked a lot of this Faire’s permanent non-shop structures. They have a “ruins” theme going on. There’s a nice Greek temple area, several statues sprinkled through the less populated parts of the grounds, and a really nifty standing stones area where people gathered for music at the end of each night. The jousting was meh, but I enjoyed the heck out of both the juggling and fire eating acts.
Considering my current level of noble poverty I normally wouldn’t go back twice, but honestly, I wanted to see the faire stone cold sober. The first time around I organized a trip via the local Reddit Meetup. Up through this point they played a large role in my slowly developing social life.
Gentlemen, there is such a thing as too much self esteem. If a woman says plainly and clearly, in front of witnesses, that no, she is not interested in you and will not date you, she means exactly what she says. It’s hard for us to be that rude, especially those of us who are geeks.
Sadly, when you invite anyone from the internet to come along on a road trip you sometimes end up with people who have no social skills. Worse yet, sometimes you end stuck with people who have no social skills and really terrible therapists. I’m sure someone in a position of authority told this particular creepster all he needs to do is pick a woman, be bold, and inform her she’s going out with him instead of asking her. This resulted in four straight hours wherein a guy who made my skin crawl informed me nonstop that I was now his girlfriend. No asking, no acknowledging when I said no. He picked me, he deserved me, and I was his. End of story. The more I said no, the more he calmly, creepily informed me I was wrong.
I know drinking isn’t a good coping mechanism, but I was trapped 40 minutes away and needed some damn way to pass the time before the folks who carpooled out together were ready to leave. I started drinking everything I could lay my hands on. Eventually two of the guys on the trip pulled him aside and let him know it was time to cut it the hell out before I had permanent liver damage. He angrily insisted I hadn’t given him any clues about my lack of interest. We were all stunned. The words, “I will not go out with you” apparently mean something different in his language. I’ve been avoiding Reddit ever since. Thankfully, Austin doesn’t lack for alternate meetups.
Therefore, I made it back to the Ren Faire with a group of people I met through the local Steampunk community. This time I was stone cold sober all day long and had an absolute blast. Go sane people!
Seriously, I love playing tourist in a made up faux medieval kingdom. I’ll chug my beer, eat my soup from a bread bowl, and relentlessly cheer on anyone who breathes fire. If you want authenticity, go to Pensic. For me, Ren Faire’s are just plain fun. This one lived up to everything I wanted from the Disney version of the middle ages.
Both trips the people I went with taunted me with news that the Sherwood Forest Faire is only a fraction the size of the Dallas Ren Faire later this year. Sign me up. I can’t wait to see what more wacky pseudo historical goodness Texas has in store for me. This time, though, just to be on the safe side, no carpooling with strangers I met on the internet.