Summer is officially here. One of the signs, aside from our unpredictable weather, is the kickoff of all of the events that take place here in South Dakota. Last Sunday I adventured into a different time with a few good friends. Our party made it’s way to the Siouxland Renaissance Festival at the fairgrounds. It was a beautiful day to spend outside. Lately there has been more rain than we’ve been used to these last couple of years. But we had the perfect Sunday to slip into a meshing of the Medieval and the Renaissance periods.
My party consisted of Carrie, Krystal, Alix, and Mike. The five of us started the morning off right by shaking hands with some friendly, and familiar, gentlemen. Before long we were welcomed into the queen’s arena for some morning bloodshed. Our good queen, the Queen of England, hosted. She lifted the hearts of her countrymen with jeers of, “blood makes the grass grow!” Jeers we willingly barked at the visiting Scots. Cheering on champion of England, we longed for the demise of the reigning champion representing Scotland. However, the Scots seemed to have the upper hand at this one, since their nefarious knight defeated ours at each of the events, as well as in old fashioned fisticuffs. Luckily the both of them survived through the fray and lived to perform later that day. But I must say that it was an unfortunate end for our champion in the eyes of the reigning queen.
Throughout the festival, we perused many fine goods. There were weapons and trinkets at each intersection. I experience the childhood lust of swinging around a wooden sword or hammer and risking the hides of those around me. Unfortunately, my peasant’s purse was not nearly fat enough to equip me with such weaponry. Even Carrie was drawn in by the leather-work, wood-work, and chainmail. It could be seen that both of us were merely paupers before the marketplace.
As the afternoon neared, our stomachs grumbled and we managed to find food for a reasonable coin. We dined with our fingers oiled by the greases and juices of our feast. It wasn’t long before long that Alix grew parched from his efforts and required water. He bravely adventured beneath the tent of the Norsemen where he was inducted into their ranks and granted a drinking horn to symbolize his brotherhood. Oh, did he drink.
Mike, the bard of our tale, discovered a magical lute as the sun started to tilt to the west. He was ensnared by its majesty and learned to play simply by the lead of his muse. The strings hummed brilliantly as scores of wandering peasants and journeymen stopped in their tracks to take in the sound. Clearly, his blessing had been one to enchant any living soul. It was not meant to be, however. Though he held the instrument dearly his heart was already sold to another. The bard was entranced more powerfully by the empty tome he had acquired, one which he could record his mystical songs.
Now the sun was setting on our day, but before the five of us made our way back to the present, Krystal had lost her way. She was found and accepted by a traveling band of gypsies. The gypsies accepted her and dressed her in their finest cloths to express their friendship. As she returned to us, with the newly Nordic Alix, she appeared as a gypsy would. We banded together one last time as we acknowledged the decline of our day spent in the past. Together we strolled back to our cold, mechanical steeds and made our way boldly back to reality. It was a good Sunday spent.
(Alix (left) Krystal (right). All photography courtesy Krystal Magee.)