I just realized it's been ages since I've done any updates. So where to begin? How about with the Texas Renaissance Festival? I went once before, five years ago, and was quite impressed. This time we went the day after Thanksgiving, partly to take advantage of half price admission.
One problem, it looked like the entire state of Texas had the same idea. The fair is located about 25 miles from where we live, which would normally be about a 35 minute drive. Well.... this one was almost two and a half hours. Fortunately we took my wife's car, which is an automatic. Since mine is a stick shift, the drive would have been a nightmare.
But we persevered and finally made it, and it was worth the effort. I had been to the northern California version of the Renaissance Faire many times, and always enjoyed myself. The last time was also five years ago, and I was rather disappointed. It just felt somewhat cheesy and run down. Not so with the Texas version. First, in the true grand Texas manner, it is huge. Tons of vendors, lots of shows, great food, and the decor is quite elaborate. It is almost sensory overload from all the sites and sounds.
Our favorite show from the last time, "Bold And Stupid Men," wasn't around, which is a shame as it was hilarious. But there were many others that were very entertaining. One I enjoyed was a musician playing a clarrion, a keyboard that controlled an elaborate series of bells. It was very impressive. Naturally one of the songs played was "Carol Of The Bells."
There were some amazing costumes, but one that stood out was a young woman dressed as a fairy. Her costume was well done, but she looked like she had smoked a bowl of Mendocino Gold. I kept bumping into her throughout the day, and she always had the same half smile and glazed over eyes. One had to wonder after a while if she was a performer at the fair, an attendee dressed in costume, or if that really wasn't a costume but what she wore every day whether at the fair or not.
If she ever visits Berkeley, I'm afraid no one would notice.