I’m a Minnesota native. I grew up on a hobby farm in the middle of nowhere and graduated in a class of 80 students. I have never lived anywhere else besides this lovely (well, not always lovely) state, so it is home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, although I do imagine waking up to a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Part of what makes it so homey are all of the traditions that so many Minnesotans partake in, creating a statewide community. I’m sure every state and community has these things, but I like to think ours are unique and special (doesn’t everyone?).
Over the weekend, the tradition Mr. Converse Sneakers and I partook in was going to the Renaissance Festival with my parents. It’s located just outside of the Twin Cities and it is a pretty big deal to Minnesotans, although I don’t know many who make it a yearly tradition to go, since it’s pretty much the same every year. I’ve gone probably five times now in my life and have always loved going back after a few years. If you’ve never heard of a festival like this, it is basically a ton of vendors selling things like pottery, garden sculptures, beer mugs, swords, and renaissance-inspired costumes at high prices mixed with tons of people dressed up and acting in renaissance ways. The festival also includes many different types of shows to attend including hypnotists, tight rope walkers, comedians, and basically any crazy thing you could think of. If you have ever seen the TV show Gilmore Girls (my all-time favorite show), you may remember Liz (Luke’s sister) and TJ (Liz’s husband) who sold jewelry at a renaissance festival. The show did a great job of depicting what these are like.
Here are my sweet parents. I got some good genes!
If I were to nickname them something fitting for the blog, I’d call them Mr. Work Boots and Mrs. Comfy Slingbacks (not in the picture since tennis shoes are a must at the Renn Fest where the walking paths are made of dirt). Not that it really matters since I’m probably the only one who comes up with these strange shoe monikers.
We were greeted by a trio singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I love that song!
The whole place is lined with these renaissance-inspired buildings with awesome signs and really cool things to purchase, although we rarely buy anything since it is all pretty taste-specific.
While we were watching the Scottish dancers do their thang, I got pulled up to join them. I’m the one looking embarrassed as I skip around in my bright floral shirt. People that work there are basically paid to make a fool out of all the paying customers. They even have old stocks they put people in and make them say vulgar things to be released. It is pretty funny, but it can also be a little . . . much.
What we really like to go for is the food, since you can buy all sorts of things like giant turkey legs, which my parents both devoured, and my favorite, chili in a bread bowl. When I heard a man shouting out a funny advertisement for frozen chocolate-dipped bananas, I knew I had to have one! It was delicious.
Unfortunately, it rained throughout the day so all other foods that we tried were not accompanied with photos since I did not want to get my camera wet. Other things we ate/drank included: macaroni and cheese bites, loaded potato skins, apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream, oh, and tons of beer. Well, I didn’t have a drop of beer, but both Mr. Converse Sneakers and my dad are big beer-enthusiasts so we went specifically because they offered a free beer tasting that day. Mr. CS lucked out since I hate beer, so he was given all of my beer making the day that much more enjoyable for him!
There are so many other cool things to see at the fair, like fifteen year old trained turtles begging for money . . .
. . . a human bench . . .
. . . and an enchanted forest complete with miniature houses . . .
I had a blast spending time with my parents, eating good food, and laughing at all the craziness around me. I definitely could have done without all of the breasts everywhere (think this times 1000), but the abundance of adorable pooches (it was pet fest day) well made up for it. All for the sake of tradition, right?
What crazy local traditions do you partake in?