Monday, July 25, 2005

Exploring The Realm

On Saturday, I took Lori and Melody to the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur (next weekend is the last for the year). It’s pretty cool (if not historically accurate). The buildings are permanent, unlike many of the tent encampments I’ve visited at California fairs. There’s also a lot of stuff for kids to do. It’s not Disneyland, but it’s maybe the closest thing to Fantasyland I’ll find in Colorado.

This weekend featured the Scottish and Irish theme so, with Irish on Lori’s side of the family (Lori’s mother’s maiden name is Sloan) and Scottish on my side (my dad’s mother’s maiden name is Gadd which supposedly came through Scotland at some point, probably on its way to somewhere else), we thought it would be a great opportunity for a little fun.

First off, it was very hot on Saturday. We realized this as we stepped out of the Escape into the dusty parking lot. Still, there was a little bit of a breeze so we piled a couple sodas and a water bottle into Melody’s stroller and trudged down the road to the two spires sticking above the distant tree line.

Now, they’ve got a couple of free shuttles that guests can use to make the trek to the front gates a little easier but, with Melody, the stroller and various other paraphernalia related to our daughter and/or our own comfort, I opted to forgo the sardine experience and just walk.

By the time we got the gates, we were famished. But we had bought the tickets ahead of time so we didn’t have to stand in that line. We handed our tickets to the costumed girl with the really fake British accent and went straight on through… to the food court.

Where we could have had turkey legs or a variety of other sundry culinary delights. But those lines were too long. If we didn’t purchase and consume food immediately, I think Lori and I would have eaten each other.

Which is a story for another time.

After scarfing down a couple pieces of pizza and some bread sticks, we hit the shops, stopping for awhile at the heraldry shop. I’ve always wanted to pick up the Carhart coat of arms to display in our house so I stopped and chatted with a lady about it. Seems they can produce a Carhart history on parchment for a mere $20 ($45 framed). Pretty cool. My funds were short though so I held off (besides, if I was going to spend any more money, I would have rather picked up one of the really cool Pirate Pub T-shirts). Still, I asked about the coat of arms only to be told that we Carharts didn’t take one. She said she could do it with the coat of arms for England on it if I’d like. Why would I like that? After all, I’m pretty sure my Thomas Carhart genealogy book at home has a rough drawing if not a written description of the Carhart coat of arms. So I took their card. Perhaps I’ll write them with that description and see what it would cost to have one put together. I’d do it myself but I don’t know anything about heraldry and it would likely be an inaccurate representation of it.

So, a little disappointed, we moved on and stopped at the Globe Theatre (basically a few benches in front of a small stage) where we were treated to “A Celtic Duo.” These two were pretty funny. One guy played a variety of percussion instruments and spoke with a Scottish accent. He did most of the talking. Although his partner was an excellent bagpipe player, he had the weakest Scottish accent I’ve ever heard. It was like Kevin Costner’s British accent in Robin Hood. But they were good and they were entertaining, especially when hawking their CDs. Melody cracked up at them and danced in her stroller to their jigs so it was certainly worthwhile.

After that, we went down to the jousting arena but they were done for a while. Instead, the highland athletes were competing. How do I know they were athletes? Because they were sporting brand new Nike tennis shoes along with their kilts as they threw their stones as far as they could. If they weren’t athletes, why would they be wearing Nikes?

After browsing a few more shops and a stop at the eternally grimy “privies,” we were ready to head home.

But that was before we spied the “Children’s Realm.” Little more than a glorified petting zoo, there were llamas, cows, ponies, pigs, rabbits and even a rooster to pet. There were also animals to ride. Melody is only fifteen months old though so we just pushed her through to take a look at these strange beasts. She was quite interested.

But we were all tired.

So we made our way back to the front gates and took a pass through “Ye Olde Mister” to cool off. The walk back to the car was all uphill so I left Lori and Melody in the shade and went to get the Escape.

Once safe and sound in our climate controlled vehicle, we made for the nearest Dairy Queen where I treated myself to a Blizzard (naturally Lori got whatever she wanted too... but Melody was asleep... finally).

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