After our successful jaunt halfway across the country to Gen Con and back, we decided that short weekend trips were much more feasible with our two kids. So it was time to visit the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.
We’re veterans of renaissance festivals so we knew what to expect: jousting, armored combat, fire eaters, comedy, magic, and chivalrous knights. My wife visited Ye Olde Hair Shop for an innovative hair accessory that doesn’t actually require braiding. We bought cloaks for my son and daughter at the Fairie Tailor. And we played a variety of games at the Bizarre Bazaar, which included everything from frog-hurling to rat-splatting, from chucking beanbags at dragons in a castle to throwing faerie rings. We failed miserably at every event, but at five throws a play for one dollar my son was thoroughly entertained.
We also visited the Black Swan Armory, which is easy to spot by the dozens of little boys armed with wooden swords battling each other out front. All of Black Swan Armory’s weapons are made of actual wood. According to their site:
Our wood is grown in enchanted mountain groves, protected by wizardly spells and hand harvested by the shy and irritable Sylvan Trolls (the only trolls immune to the dangers of Sunlight). These Sylvan Trolls choose only the finest of soft and hard woods. The woods are then kiln-dried in the forges of Mt Draconis and shipped via Gnome express to our secret armoury hidden deep within the wilds of Michigan.
I bought my son a shield with a beautifully painted red dragon on it and a small sword for my son…who proceeded to hit everything in sight with the sword — except for the shield. When we finally did get him to pound on the shield, it marred the painting a bit. But that’s a knight’s life for you!
The highlight of the show for my son was I.B. Spies. Ivan and Bianca entreated my son to lessons on the super secret craft of spying. They demonstrated to my four-year-old sneaking, whispering, and disguise (which consists of putting your finger over your lip). Ivan and Bianca speak with Russian accents, which gave them more than a passing resemblance to Boris and Natasha. They also were exceptionally good with my son, who was understandably terrified at first by two people skulking around in black. They won him over though and he even attended their storytelling – the spies trumped even King Arthur in that regard!
The only problem we had at the faire was the wasps. The wasps were hyper-aggressive, crawling into lunchboxes and landing on people without fear of getting swatted. It was enough to make us evacuate our lunch table.
We ended the day with Paragon Jousting. The best part was Dame Fiona, the Paris Hilton of knights, who depending on your perspective is either an unmarried spoiled shrew that thinks she can joust or a feminist advancing women’s rights in a sport dominated by men. Whatever your perspective, it was refreshing to see a woman jousting.
There’s so much more to see at the Faire, but our two little ones just didn’t have the stamina to stay any longer. Maybe next year we’ll stick around for the Halloween Show…
For an overview of what the Faire offers for families see the CTFaire.com web site.