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Archive for August 31st, 2003

Renaissance Festival

Sunday, August 31st, 2003

Well, my day at Michigan Renaissance Festival went about as well as any could have, and I did have a good time.
It started out cold. It was in the upper 60’s Farenheit when I woke up , and our furnace was actually blowing. Fortunately I had planned ahead last night for a “cold morning” outfit and a “warm afternoon” outfit, using layers I could peel off between shows.

(If you are not big on costumes you may wish to skip the first several paragraphs here.)

I started the day with layers over my regular costume, a tie-dyed purple skirt with black bodysuit, and a lot of necklaces, and of course a hip wrap or two. As a warmth measure, I then layered a caftan on top of the skirt and bodysuit. On top of my caftan I wore my purple coin hip wrap. Under my skirt I wore beige (the color of my skin) wool/angora legwarmers I got this week at Target for $6.99 , and worth every penny.

I also wore a knit “shrug” which is basically sweater sleeves without a sweater body, but pushed up to the elbows so they weren’t too visible. I had to wear strappy sandals so couldn’t layer any more on my feet. I wore a scarf and then a head wrap (sort of a turban but it didn’t cover my whole head). The head wrap helps me balance a basket on my head during the basket dance (and a cane during the cane dance). I was very glad to have those warmer layers in the morning while the temperature hovered just below 70F. Fortunately after that first performance, the sun came out for a few hours and then went behind clouds but didn’t rain, all afternoon and early evening.

We had one show before noon, then I peeled off the caftan, shrug and legwarmers. I then had some fun playing dress-up with Arlyn/Mahtaab who had brought extra costume pieces “just in case” someone wanted/needed them. So at that point I had short sleeves and skirt with two hip wraps and the same head wrap. She added more jewelry and a few scarves artfully safety-pinned to me as a sort of top and sleeves. It worked out great.

At about 12:30 we had a walking parade through the whole grounds. It’s about a mile of walking, but the big issue isn’t how far we walk, it’s how long it takes. I am not sure how long we actually took but it seems forever while you’re in it.

It’s a big deal, though… most people stop and watch when they hear the parade coming. Kids like it, especially. I do enjoy dancing with a bit of eye contact between myself and the audience. My head wrap turned out a bit too warm, I sort of overheated during the parade. Hey, it wasn’t much of a surprise… after a mile of dance-walking what else could I have expected?

The afternoon was somewhat social: My mother and Fred came to see our post-parade show. Mom was wearing a pair of sox I knit and gave to her… the op-art pair from the cover of the first Vogue Knitting to Go: Socks book.

And then, wonderful surprise, out of the blue: my friend Deb Harowitz/Scarlet Zebra was there with her hubby Jack (I showed their picture during Ann Arbor Art fair) and her daughter Ashland (who I met last Monday at the Michigan dyers’ gathering at Brighton Borders). All three of them came to our last show. It was great fun to dance for them, knowing they were there, because they haven’t seen me dance before. I was so happy to see them. It’s funny, I see Deb all the time this year. She lives about two hours from me but we keep going to the same gatherings! How delightful it has been to have her in my life lately!

Pictures are: 1) a large number of dancers on stage… Habibi dancers on the middle of the stage doing a coreographed piece, and Mideast Dance Ensemble (from the Detroit Airea) in the background looking lovely and playing finger cymbals for us… and you can see one of their drummers in the back right corner; 2) Ren Fest public walkway (before the festival opened for the day), from our own home base, the treehouse. The dancers share the treehouse as a dressing room. It has a great second floor balcony/porch roof on two sides, where I spent most of my time off today; 3) Me/Lynn/Eudora with a cane, dancing with Sally/Sara; 4) portrait of me as Eudora.

All photos except treehouse view were taken by Stuart King. Thanks, Stuart!