Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Renaissance Festival, Fairies, and FUN!

Reclaimed wood, reuse of a computer case, a re-purposed hardcover book.

           Clang! Clang!  Clang!
                                                                          of a hammer hitting steel on an anvil.

Shouts of


as 4 arrows hit their target.

What do they all have in common?

They're all things that you experience at a Renaissance Faire, of course!

"Welcome" sign at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Specifically, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, which is held in Shakopee, MN, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

We spent a full 8 hours at the Renaissance Festival, and had an amazing time!  From a green point of view, there were many things to satisfy my craving for new ideas.

The fairy house competition was one such event.  

People brought in handmade fairy houses to be judged by faire goers.  Naturally, the majority was made using primarily reclaimed items such as fallen tree limbs, books, computer cases, rocks, and so on.  I mean, it's only natural that a fairy would build using only what is at hand, right?  They're nature spirits, and therefore not likely to do anything that would create further waste.

Fairies hold a special place in my heart, as we all know from my excitement over my fairy ring in the backyard!

I've been in the process of creating a fairy house for a while now, but seeing the ones presented at the Renaissance festival made me realize that I'm not even halfway complete with mine.  These were gorgeous!

Renaissance festival fairy home number 33
This was #33.  So simple in appearance,
yet complex in its construction.
There was one that really stood out for me.  It was created using a hardbound book as a frame.  I doubt that it won, given our natural need for
"bigger, better, more",
but it was my favorite.  The home was small and simple, and would add a sense of magic to any home if placed atop a bookshelf or an end table.

Fairy home competition piece made from a hardbound book
Number 60.  Simple and fantastic.
Now, look at that!

The sun interfered with the photo just enough to produce a hazy, magical effect that covers everything except the small living space in the center.

Looks like nature agrees with my choice, as well!

The Renaissance festival also had a number of craftsmen plying their trade.  My natural instinct was to veer toward the blacksmiths, totally ignoring the heat generated by the trade on an already hot day.

Blacksmith at the anvil

I've always had a fond love of the trade.  Perhaps that comes from growing up with anvils falling on Loony Toons characters' heads, or perhaps it has to do with the knowledge of the amount of strength and discipline required to carry out even the simplest of tasks, and the respect I have for that.

Regardless, I see an anvil and I become rooted in place, unable to leave the area until I see the work carried out to completion.

My family was really lucky that this blacksmith was only making tiny souvenir swords!

Of course, I had to have one of them... 

Perhaps my favorite section of the Renaissance festival, though, was the Secret Garden.  

It was a simple section of the woods with a trail running through it.  Along the trail, there were homes in miniature which, of course, were the dwellings of various types of fairies.

The last home drew my gaze for an extended period, and renewed my dream of creating my own sustainably designed home, using primarily materials that are at hand on the land.

Home in the Secret Garden, made of wood and stone

Ok, so I wouldn't actually want to build a home that has a doorway leading straight into the river... but you get the idea!  Isn't it gorgeous?  I especially love the living roof.

The Renaissance festival was a magnificent way to spend the day, and if you have the opportunity to get there, I strongly recommend it.  It runs until September 30th, this year, so there's still plenty of time!

Have you ever had the opportunity to go to a Renaissance faire?  If not, take the time to do so!  I promise you won't regret it.  If so, which one was it?  There are so many, yet I've only ever been to this one, and to Scarborough.

I'd love to hear about the others!

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