Like carnies, but with better weapons.

The Austin family's gone medieval! That's right, it's that time of year again. The Texas Renaissance Festival opened this past weekend and we were again part of the madness in all its turkey-legged, period costumed glory. Both Mrs. Austin and I worked the fair in the past, her in Texas, myself in Colorado. We both have fond memories of the fair, how it changed our lives and how it changed our viewpoint on life.

This, however, was the first time I'd been camping at the fair. When I worked the Larkspur, CO fair, the partner I had wasn't about to camp and get all dirtied up, so we drove there and back each day. Mrs. Austin had camped in "Toon Town", as the employee camping area is commonly known, but never in the patrons area. So we were to meet another family there and camp together on Friday, then hit the fair the next day. We arrive around 9pm on Friday and set up camp with 2000 of our closest friends, most drunk, probably high, and all Rennies. Wow. I wouldn't say it was Sodom and Gomorra, but I didn't go near the Fire Pit. We proceeded to set up our little world with tents and lanterns and chairs and alcohol, put the kids to bed, drank and then tried to sleep.

We were awaken twice all night. Once by the retired dude who decided it was cool to play Shania Twaine at 3 am as loud as possible until Mrs. Austin shouted at him, "For the love of God, turn that shit off!" Then again around 5-6am by a group of drunkards who'd split up looking for their camp site and decided to stay abreast of each other's progress by shouting their locations to each other in poetic, yet still annoying, fashion. When the train rolled past around 6:30, we knew it was time to wake up to the dewy chill of Plantersville and get ready.

So, a camp like breakfast and some mild morning traditions later, we made our way to the front gate. We tried to hang with the other family for a time, but keeping a group of 4 adults and 3 kids together in what ended up being a 28,000 person fair was just too much. How we found them twice again during the day was an exercise in celestial odds. After about 4 uneventful hours, we decided we'd had enough. It wasn't that we had a bad time, just that we didn't have a time at all. The camping was fun, but the actual festivities saw us aimlessly walking around, not wanting to see any shows, not wanting to shop or eat much. LMA was perfectly behaved for the most part. I think in this instance, the lack of sleep really wore on us.

So we did what most tired people do, head the exact opposite way from home. We made a pit stop in Conroe to drop off an item for Mrs. Austin's aunt, had lunch, and got a hotel. Man I love hotels after a day of walking around in dirt and sweat. It was the last room in the place, thanks to the overpowering numbers of rennies and fans. We bought some ice cream, Doritos, cokes and milk and just vegged for a few hours before getting what amounted to 10 hours of sleeping. Fully rested, the next day was killed by trying to decide on how best to further exhaust ourselves. There was talk of Galveston, the Zoo, the Butterfly place or just going home. We hit the Outlet Mall north of town, another shop and lunch, then back home.

I will say this. I love camping. We went a lot when I was a kid, and I am very nostalgic toward the smell of camp fires, the taste of Dinty Moore stew, and the chill of crack of dawn breakfasts. Now as an adult, I can also enjoy the warm stupor of liquor to boot. There's something peaceful about entering an environment, making it your own, then leaving it exactly as you found it the next day. I hope we do more.

I also hope I can fill out my costume a little more. For some reason I chose a Scottish get up, although I don't think there's much Scot in my family history. I think I did it because I knew I'd get a sword to go with it and man aren't lowland broadswords just the coolest?

Oh yeah, some more cutie pics.

No comments: