Day 54: Montana Renaissance Faire and the Oscar Wienermobile
Saturday, July 24th, 2021
Last day in Montana, bitter sweet to move on tomorrow but always exciting to see what’s coming up next. I will miss the 55 degree mornings, the shadows of Mountains that surround her property, and the kittens that greeted me every day. And of course, Angela. So melancholy were the feels, but I was too excited to grieve the time that has passed.
Finally feeling back to normal, I got ready for the FIRST EVER Montana Renaissance Faire here in the Valley. You never know how these things are going to go, first time “anything’s” can be a bit of a journey, if you know what I mean. Here is how I think it went down. Someone walked into an office and said “I think Kalispell needs a Renaissance Faire…and I will be the one to put it on.” And then he/she/they realized that they would have to deal with parking, admission, food, vendors, entertainment, security, and everything else that goes along with putting on such a large event. This wasn’t a “Fyre Festival” but, this was close. Now, grace must be met with an event on day one…look at Jurassic Park, prime example LOL. Let’s dive in.
Parking was $5 and they directed you over the back roads of Morocco to a destination where you hoped your car wouldn’t be eaten by a sink hole. Park opened at 10 a.m.. small crowd was there, maybe 100 people. Word was 1,000 tickets were sold in advance, I was one of few who seemed to need to buy at the window. Probably a promotion was out there for it, but I was clearly just traveling through so full price it was! $25 to get in, for adult, I paid, bracelet slapped on me, no tickets to give anyone when I walked in. Weird, but hey, easier to get back in and out of the Faire without needing the infamous “stamp on the hand.” (Which by the way, don’t EVER accidentally touch your face after getting one…. It’s quite embarrassing to have that image smeared across your face).
The layout of the Faire was, well, a farm field. Not an ethereal forest (that’s you Bristol), not a piece of land with ANY shade, just a farm field with overgrown brush that was attempted to be smashed down, but tripping happened many a time. Clearly someone forgot about shade…umbrellas, tents, ANYTHING that would provide some relief from the afternoon sun. I can tell you from attending Bristol for 15 plus years, plus other Renn Faires, is that SHADE is a requirement. People want to grab something to eat, a beer to drink, and just chill under the shade of a tree or something like it. It doesn’t feel good to eat a warm shepherds pie while roasting in the hot sun….not fun. I wasn’t in any shade for the 3 hours I was there- especially needed in the jousting area. Today’s Faire was bare requirements, they can do better. 4 Food Vendors available, and sadly, out of food trucks. I do not recall in the Renn period any such food truck….good noodles or not. I had a breakfast burrito…not a turkey leg, or an ear of corn, because those weren’t offered. At a RENN Faire. Again, first day, first time, trying to extend some grace here.
The entertainment seemed to bring the biggest crowds…particularly the Fire Guy and the Joust. I didn’t recognize any of the acts, but they were good. A Minstrel was singing on his stage, but attempting to be miked caused his speaker to have feedback, and it was hard to enjoy his beautiful sound with the tinny undertone.
The vendors were few, and VERY far apart. Maybe trying to make the Faire look bigger? But it didn’t make sense to have them spaced so much apart…and not a whole lot to shop from. I don’t know, maybe I am spoiled by the best Faire ever, but I am used to having so many options, I was hoping to find boots for my Renn outfit for next summer. It was disappointing, but people were buying, so I’m happy they were making their money.
I wound up staying from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m- heading out after the joust. The joust was entertaining, and I love a good Knight who is sarcastic, funny, and usually French. They were amazing, so hella proud of them having a woman as one of the Knights, VERY cool!
All in all, it was fun to say I was there at the first EVER Montana Renn Faire and I hope to find more on my travels. It made me miss home quite a bit, and Bristol even more. I can’t wait to see it next summer.
The day wrapped up with a drive to get gas, wash my car, and a stop to get pics with the Wienermobile that was in town today! Walter was beyond happy to meet the infamous hot dog on wheels. Great photo opp, and then it was back to Angela’s for take out- pear and blue cheese flatbread with huckleberry ice cream and cookies for desert!
I am full….my soul, my heart, my stomach. So off to post this, pack more, and up early for the drive to Washington. Thank you, Montana, it has been a blast!
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