Pirates Do Not Make Good Neighbors
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006, 10:31 AM
This last weekend I went up to the Northern California Renaissance Faire with my wife. This was my first time ever working at a Ren Faire, and I have to tell you I walked away with some really interesting new experiences. Now, before you read any further, I need to qualify the rest of this post with the following statement: I had a blast, I loved doing it, and I’m looking forward to next week when I can just go and not have to figure things out for the first time.
My wife’s group, The Belles of Bedlam, has been gearing up for this faire for about three weeks now. Some of them had to go up and actually help build the stage they perform on, on top of the normal rehearsals, and trying to add a new show. There was apparently a dress rehearsal weekend that many, but not all, of the members of the group went to. I’m sure that things would not have been as hectic and frustrating for us on our first night at the faire, has either my wife or I attended that weekend. Little did we know how much trouble it would be, as a performing group, to show up the night before the faire opened. Almost every participant who works the faire shows up that night, and we figured it would simple to do the same.
After being told to park by an even staff, going to a check in counter, being told that we had to go to a special check in counter for ‘performers,’ and moving our car to the other side of the faire compound, we thought we had finally found the person who would be able to help us out. Did I mention that this was after driving 348 miles from Upland to Gilroy, on a Friday night after having already gone to work that day? I found the trailer of the person we needed to see sometime around 11pm. They, of course, were not there. So I started to wander the dark fair grounds (with my trusty flash light) in search of anyone who could help my wife and I out.
We wandered to the loudest, most brightly light section of the faire, and found a group in the middle of rehearsal. I put on my classic, “clueless, lost, and confused” face, and we were helped some one who gave us a name of a person to talk to. That person, the one who would give us passes to get in to the camping area, and passes to enter the faire the next day, was actually directing a rehearsal at that time. It was at this point that my wife went from frustrated to irritated. But a very helpful person, who we latter found out was one of the big wigs, told us to just set up for the night and we would be able to take care of it in the morning.
We found the tent area with out any problem, once we got directions from the third person who tried to explain how to get to it (sometimes simple things can be hard to explain). There was plenty of room in the tent area, so we parked our car close to the roped off area and set up camp. It was a nice night, not too cool or to warm, and when we climbed in the tent for the night we tried to start letting go of the frustration that we had been feeling. What better to help you do that than sleeping on the hard ground? But I was ready for that because I like camping. My wife, who’s idea of roughing it is a Motel 6, was not as comfortable with the situation.
Just when we were about to fall asleep, at around 1am, other people showed up to set up camp. They pulled the car up next to ours, and turned the headlights on to shine across the entire tent area, shining through our tent and into our faces. The were also completely clueless about setting up their tent. How do I know this? Because while I tried to sleep, they were setting up their tents not 3 feet from my own. They were three feet away when they had an entire filed to set up in. They could have been 10 feet away, and still had tons of space left over to choose from. But they decided to set up right next to us. And, they kept calling to other campers to help them set up their tent. It took a committee of 7 people to put up tent. And apparently one of them was celebrating a 21st birthday, so someone was singing the barbarian birthday song for them. At about 3am my wife and I had come the end of our rope, and yelled at them to shut up. And after a few comments about you should come out here and make us, the other campers joined in and the “shut the hell up”s outnumbered the “you can’t make me”s. In the morning we woke to find the tension wires from our neighbor’s tens staked only a foot away from the center of our tent door. We tripped on it all weekend long, purposely tying to pull it out. We discovered that these people were pirates. Figures!
That was the worst of it. From that point the weekend was smooth, and awesome. I got our passes the next day with no trouble at all, and the group did a great job with their shows. I made sure my wife and I were drinking water all day long, or Gatorade, and stayed away from the alcohol. When the fair was over, we hung around while people congregated around an ale stand, and even caught the tail end of a concert one of the jugglers put on for all the faire people (he was hysterical).
I can’t wait for next weekend. Not only will I be playing guitar for the group, but we will have all the passes and everything taken care of. We can go, set up, and relax. Not nearly so frustrating.