On Saturday, we decided to leave the current century and head off to the age of unenlightenment... otherwise known as in our house as the Boob Faire. I think it is hilarious that the home page says, "Patrons are welcomed to wear costumes suitable for a family-friendly atmosphere to get into the spirit of the event!" I'm not sure exactly what their definition of family-friendly is but I'm pretty sure it involves undergarments which require an architectural degree and intimate knowledge of the term cantilever. You couldn't have seen more bosoms defying gravity if you'd spent the weekend on the international space station.

This kind of stuff is way more the KingofHearts' thing than mine. Not that I don't always have fun when we go, but my fun involves people watching, while his involves showing off and winning free beer in the feats of strength... then surreptitiously asking the vendor to trade his free beer tokens for fryed ice cream.

Besides exclamations of "Woooow! Daddy is amazing!" everytime The KoH shot an arrow or threw an axe, The Dormouse was fascinated with all the people.
What I didn't experience before, without a child, was how all the actors at the festival interact with children. Many of them walk around with pouches at their waists, filled with trinkets to give to the kids who come up and talk to them. Since The Dormouse is no shy wallflower, that meant she scored a lot of loot.

She was given a golden pirate ring from Jean the Pirate Queen and then proceeded to show it to each and every person who was dressed even remotely like a pirate in an attempt at solidarity with the honorable and noble name of pirate... oh wait.

One guy she thought was a pirate (but explained he wasn't) gave her a beaded necklace with great pomp and circumstance. She was thrilled.

She got her hair braided and her face painted -- once this was done, she stopped whining and lamenting the fact that she "should've worn a costume."

The King (of the festival, not of hearts) was quite taken with her after she curtsied for him. Later when he walked by and saw her trying to "Drench a Wench" with no success whatsoever, he announced, "I've always had my suspicions about this game... throw the ball again." He picked up a ball we hadn't paid for and handed it to her. When she threw the ball, she missed by a mile and looked over to see if the woman had fallen into the water. While her head was turned, The King hit the button with his hand and doused the lady. It's good to be The King.

The Dormouse went around feeling very regal after that.

The Caterpillar got into the spirit of things too and sat still enough for a woman to paint her face -- provided she could do it in under three seconds. Then all that exertion of sitting wore her out. This is when we
should have gone to the face painting booth:

We didn't go to the Renaissance Festival last year because I was hideously pregnant, so this year is the first time we've been when The Dormouse paid attention to anything more than the the rocks on the ground and the ramp going up into Ye Olde Headdress Store (we spent twenty minutes going up and down that ramp and never bought a hat). So it was way more fun this time to see it through her eyes. And, I have to admit, I get the appeal now. Fantasy, spectacle, and dress ups... what more could a four year old want?

Besides, maybe, a fairy godmother:

This woman was so cute with her. She asked what her wish was and when The Dormouse told her (it was to fly with dragons... who knew?) she wrote it down in her "wish book" where she'd diligently kept a log of all the wishes she'd heard that day. Most of the other wishes I saw were things like "a bike" and "long hair." Surprisingly, no other kids had wanted to fly with dragons that day. Then she gave The Dormouse a red stone and a whole schpiel about it being a magic stone and if she put it under her pillow at night it would her her dreams come true and make special things happen, but only if she had a happy heart and maybe only in her dreams. The Dormouse walked away saying dubiously, "Momma, I don't think she was a real fairy godmother... I think she was just a nice lady in dress up." But she clutched that red stone to her for the rest of the day and every so often asked one of us... "Do you think it's a real magic stone?" "Probably not, right?" "But I wonder." "It looks real."

"I don't know, honey, I guess you'll just have to decide for yourself," was all I could say.

Then that night after she went to sleep, I sneaked into her room and put a gold $1 coin under her pillow next to the red stone. In the morning she came up the stairs, wide-eyed, with the coin in one hand and the stone in another, musing, "I guess she was a real fairy godmother after all."

I'm a pragmatist at heart, but even I think sometimes kids just need a little magic in their lives.