Minnesota has a fantastic Renaissance Festival, and Burt and Linda were happy to show us around. The nice thing is that it is relatively close to town, and it is huge.
We got to watch lots of Medieval / Renaissance activities, like glassblowing, soap-making, archery, knife-throwing, paper-making, pottery, etc. We stopped at one of the first glassblowing booths and bought a beautiful cobalt blue bowl. It just so neat to me to have met the artist, a local Minnesotan, and to own this beautiful glass work.
There was also lots of fauna about, and I'm not entirely sure that they were all related to Europe's Renaissance, but it was all in good fun, anyway. The first one was this tortoise, which we saw outside of a stained glass and pewter hut. He was raising money for a Minnesota reptile rescue group, so we all were happy to contribute. I can't say he noticed too much, but I'm sure other reptiles will be very happy for his toils.
There were also camels and elephants, which was pretty wild.
After a while of shopping, we stopped for some food and mead. I tried two kinds of mead, apple and strawberry, and Dave and I shared a turkey leg, gyros, baklava, and a crepe. Now I really want to find a mead source in Chicagoland!! Burt also tried a Scotch egg, basically a hard-boiled egg rolled in meat and fried, served with horseradish sauce. Pretty awesome.
The shopping was very extensive; I don't think I expected as much as we found. In addition to the cobalt bowl I mentioned above, we also bought some candle pumpkin decorations for Halloween, glass earrings, and a leather bracelet. Linda and Burt got some decorations for their new home, too!
Toward the end of the day, we got to see a sheep-herding demonstration, which was funny because the sheep pretty much did not stop eating, even when the dog was trying to chase them across the field.
I tried to stuff the lamb in my shirt on the way out, but they wouldn't let me.
And the finale was an epic jousting battle! The master of ceremonies was sporting a fantastically large mustache and a kilt. We watched a couple of jousts and then called it a day, mostly because I was ready to faint.
It was a very cool day, and I was so pleased with my first Renaissance Festival. I'd like to go to the one in Bristol sometime, but I'm not sure it could top this one!
Oh, and after all the food all day, we went easy on ourselves with some delicious sushi at Koyi Sushi Too. I had some miso soup, toasted rice tea, plum wine, and Dave and I split a daily special roll. It was a nice light dinner to save a little face after gorging ourselves all day.
Oh yeah, except we stopped for ice cream at the Grand Ole Creamery. (Actually, we stopped there before the sushi. What can we say, we were still delirious from all the Renaissance goodies.) The Grand Ole Creamery has some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted. This time I ordered a waffle cone with a heaping scoop of cinnamon ice cream. I love cinnamon ice cream and you can never find it anywhere. This batch did not disappoint.
Then "Bruno," then off to bed to let our bodies repair themselves after a day of shoveling food and walking around. It was a good day.