Our first purchase of the day, and the only thing Collin asked for the whole time we were there, which is quite a feat given all the toys and items on display. No wooden puzzles or stuffed animals...he went straight for a "bad guy fighting" sword.
We never decide too far in advance what day we will go or how long we will stay. Instead, if we see that a Saturday is turning into a beautiful fall day, we change our plans and head to the Renaissance! Easy to avoid the rain, wind and "too hot" or "too cold"days of a Minnesota autumn. Once we are there, we walk and browse and eat until we are ready to go home. Sometimes that is just a few hours, sometime that is many hours. So far it has been a recipe for success.
We keep our expectations realistic...we know that we are not attending as adults anymore, but as a family which automatically changes the dynamics. The first years it was remembering which "privie" had the cleanest and least crowded diaper changing area. Then as Collin began to walk, it was giving him enough freedom to explore, while keeping enough structure to maintain his safety and our sanity as well. This year he was a full participant in the world around him and I can safely say we had the best year yet.
Strolling the grounds 2009. The crowd was minimal even though it was a beautiful day. The news had predicted rain for the weekend, which I think kept crowds away. It was a beautiful sunny day! Because of this, Collin was able to take the lead in exploring the event, which he loved.
We stopped and listened to some of the comics and other performers. At one point we heard music from a distance and could use some rest so we sat down thinking it would help to keep Collin entertained. Next thing we knew dancers came out with hockey sticks...yep, really. It was the Highland Fling Scottish weekend, so the dancers did a hockey themed dance, which of course had our little boy amazed. There is just no avoiding that game!
Food for the farm friends too! We had our share of turkey legs and chicken on a stick, but couldn't leave out the animals. In the past, Collin has enjoyed petting zoos but not the up close feeding. This time there was no hesitation as a hungry sheep enjoyed some lunch.
What an arm! I remember attending as a child myself, playing the games and winning certificates with my name on them and colored feathers. This year Collin played some of those same games, including the one pictured here where you knock down pictures of bad guys like dragons and evil knights with bean bags.
The highlight of the day, however, was sword fighting. I don't recall this game before, but until now it was not something Collin was old enough to do, so it may have escaped notice. This year, however, he was enthralled. Kids and adults are able to put on fencing attire and fight (complete with an announcer to provide a play by play and to ensure a fair fight). The goal is to pop the balloons that are attached to your opponent's helmet. Although his souvenir sword is still well loved and used to this day, the chance to actually "fight" with a sword was of great interest to him.
So, here are the Top 5 Steps to becoming a great Sword fighter:
Step 1. Eat ice cream and intently watch others for close to an hour. This ensures that you will have your strength from a good meal and you will have gotten a chance to learn some cool bad guy fighting moves.
Step 2. Find a wench who can help you get into your fencing gear.
Step 3. Find a worthy opponent. In this case, Daddy will do nicely.
Step 4. Use those skills and pop those balloons! The size of your opponent does not matter. Remember David and Goliath? No fear!
Step 5. Raise your sword victoriously. Look very serious while doing so...sword fighting is no joke!
Knowing that we would not find anything to compete with the sword fight experience, we ended the day on that note and took our little warrior home, close to 8 hours after arriving! Another great day at the Renaissance.
And, we felt very safe on the way home knowing we were protected by such a great swordsman...Of course he did fall asleep in the car, but I am sure he would have woken up if a dragon would have attacked.....