Keeping the Ren Faire Feeling

Celtic music on? Check.

Incense ready to be burned? Check.

“Tudors” marathon later? Possible.

While Oakley went to sleepover camp at Ms. Judi’s, Hubby and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for its opening last weekend. Illinois and Wisconsin melt into a time warp that guides visitors back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I, allowing them a glimpse of life in that era. 

Naturally, that includes music, street and stage performances, and….food. 

Some of it is authentic, such as the turkey legs and pasties; some not so much like the deep-fried mac and cheese bits. 

First things first. We arrived too late for breakfast and a little too early for lunch, so we opted to get our bearings with a walk. Perfect timing lead us to two of our favorite acts from last year, Adam Crack the fire whip artist ( and Moonie the Magnificent (  

Having laughed off a lot of calories, we had lunch at a Mediterranean-themed vendor and enjoyed their felafel very much. Crispy, seasoned just right, perfect drizzle of tahini (sesame butter) sauce–perfect. Lest you think it was a stretch, this was the period where Briton ruled the waves in no uncertain terms, both with their Navy and with merchant and mercenary crews, so the odds were that some sailors may have sampled some Middle Eastern delicacies. We ate beneath a tree, watching pirates and Vikings go about their stock and trade with a few Romans sprinkled in for good measure.

After a walk to the perfumery to purchase some incense, the time to enjoy some traditional Celtic with a twist of punk arrived. Tartanic ( took the stage and played a mind- and worth-an-eardrum-blowing set. The last song of the set, “Amazing Grace,” added an unexpectedly poignant layer with the story of a call to the front man/booking agent from the father of one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots asking if they could please play their version at the memorial service for the firefighters. 

Breathe, recenter. Walk some more. Time for ice cream? Hubby wanted some; I figured that I would take the indulgent risk. In this case, risk comes in a strawberry-vanilla combo. 

And then came the swordfighting, and the joust to the death, and shadows suddenly growing across the grass. 

We’d had a good day, and plan on returning for at least one more day this season. It’s only a 90 minute drive. And in the meantime, there are recipes to be researched.

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