Friday, March 4, 2011

Gulf Coast Ren Faire

Day 1 – Thursday 2/24
The car is packed, the inventory is mostly together, the Protomen CDs are burned…and no indication from the boss man when we’re leaving. We affectionately refer to him as the “Chaos Wagon”, because there is no such thing as organization when he is involved.

It’s roughly an 11 hour drive to Pensacola from the Greensboro area, so Matt and I are looking nervously at the receding sunlight. I am excited about the impending sunshine and beach sand and pack ALL TWO of my bathing suits.

The Costume Boss calls! We can start driving! At… 7pm. Hoo boy. 

We end up calling it quits around 2:45am (technically 1:45am because of the time zone change) and getting a hotel room for the night. The Costume Boss tries to make me watch a clip from Pink Flamingos – yeah, that one – and reads us dirty jokes while Matt compulsively does pushups in the corner of the room because he’s missing his gym time.  

Number of Protomen album listens: 3

The sky absolutely opens up and startles everyone awake. 

Day 2 – Friday 2/25
Shower or sleep in…shower or sleep in. The Costume Boss reminds us that it’ll be our last shower for a few days. I crawl out of bed.

The shower knob is bizarre. I fail to figure out how to make it work and end up taking a midget shower by crouching under the faucet. 

We hit the road again. It’s a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day. The Costume Boss is strongly in favor of dumping our stuff at the faire grounds and hitting the beach. This plan is abandoned when we actually reach the grounds and realize that most everyone else has set up already.

Number of Protomen album listens: 5 

Setting up the tent is interesting – first we put up the basic tent structure, then the metal grids that get zip tied into a frame for the hangers, then all the mannequins and display racks, then the clothes, and then the weather flaps. Fortunately we do a pretty good job, because it turns out we’ll be camping out in our booth. This seems like a totally awesome idea until the sun sets and the temperature starts dropping rapidly and the wind picks up and I realize that I only have two thin blankets in the car.

Matt builds a wind barricade out of our empty inventory tubs. It is moderately successful, in that it keeps the wind from totally freezing us during the night. It is still way too cold. I’m finally drifting off to sleep and…oh god! Are people walking around? Is that sunlight? WHY ARE YOU UP SO EARLY?

Day 3 – Saturday 2/26
Despite “looking like a small child about to throw a temper tantrum”, I eventually make it up. The sun is shining, the faire is bustling, and the food vendor right across from us is cooking something that smells waaaayy too good. The interesting thing about ren  faires in the deep south – alligator meat! I didn’t get to try any, sadly, but it’s on my to do list now. Next year, Gulf Coast Faire…

I'm a little apprehensive about wearing the chainmail - hopefully it's not too risque or "not period enough" - and I left my normal "modesty skirt" at home so I'm making due with the considerably less modest but very fierce looking fur skirt I originally made to wear with the mail. Then I see a girl wearing a pink pirate hooker outfit and I feel less worried.

Our tent is open on two sides, and a vendor warned us last night that there would be quite a few shoplifters about. “Watch for the ones with the big cloaks – they will fluff them!” We position ourselves strategically around the tent. Matt gets hit on by a girl wearing a really gorgeous Mother Confessor outfit, and an absurd number of people attempt to wear the garters as necklaces and we finally just stop correcting them.
The faire is small, probably smaller than the Raleigh Ren Faire at the State Fairegrounds, but boy is it packed. We have waves of traffic all day and sales are good. This also means that we never actually get to leave the tent to look around. I sneak out a few times to peek at the jousters but perpetually miss the actual fight. Balls.

Saturday night dinner – we practice the virtues of not eating your profits and picnic in the tent with tuna fish and fancy crackers and the various munchies we brought. 

Then I make us go get ice cream. I tried! 

There is no wind tonight…so the tent is absurdly muggy. Oh sleep, will you elude me again?

Day 4 – Sunday 2/27
Sleep totally eludes me. Dammit.

Since no one read me the riot act about my chainmail bikini yesterday, I decide to try out the new chainmail meets leather combo – Matt has a garter belt with knives set that I’m coveting , so I bully him into making it sorta fit me. Don’t worry though, he had his revenge with all the yanking that was “needed” to make it sit right.

[here’s where a picture of the outfit should go but I don’t have one because I was TOO HERP DERP to remember to get pictures of myself (or most of the faire really)] 

I catch my first shoplifter! He’s trying to make off with one of our daggers by holding it tucked up against his forearm…of course, since he’s wearing a short sleeved shirt, it’s sort of glaringly obvious. Still, I got to give my best just-gimme-a-good-reason-punk smile. He returns the dagger.

The Costume Boss has been insisting the whole ren faire that I charge a dollar for pictures. Finally we do it as a joke, because we’re sleep deprived enough to think it’s funny and hey! I make $5 towards the end of the day. Sweet. Straight into my chocolate student loan repayment fund.

I’ve handed out all my business cards, all of Shaun’s, all of The Costume Boss’, and most of Matt’s. I feel like I’ve been quite productive. And it’s been a long day at the faire, time to rest break down the tent and find a hotel for the night before driving back drive back to North Carolina, on our collective ten hours of sleep for the weekend.

All right! I’m gonna keep Matt awake all the way back (he’s driving) the only way I know how: MORE PROTOMEN.

Number of Protomen album listens: WHO KNOWS

Technically Monday 6am
We make it home! Yaaaaay! And my foray to the Gulf Coast is concluded. I completely failed to go to a beach, though, so there better be a return trip in my future…

Day 5
I catch up on sleep.  


  1. Heh...I thought all shower you take are midget showers *hides!*

  2. Thhbbbbpppttt! I'm space efficient, thank you!