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|Went to the PA Ren Faire (Mt. Hope Winery) with the fella yesterday. Last weekend I went to the Pittsburgh Ren Faire with my cousin and her family. So, I was hoping for comparison and contrast, of which I have some, but not tons. There's a smidge amount about Having Your Hair Braided At The Ren Faire, if that might interest you, and a huge rant about long haired little girls and their asshole moms. |
When you go to the faire with different people, you see different things. When I went with my cousin, we had small kids, so we saw and did some small kid things. When I went with the fella, we watched a variety of grown-up themed events with dirty songs, etc. (I happen to think dirty songs are amusing and I particularly enjoy playing "complete the limerick" when they are singing limericks. Limericks are kind of predictable and usually you can tell how the rhyme comes out even if you haven't heard that one before. "Complete the limerick" is when I can guess exactly the last line before the performers sing/say it. My personal best at the game was "There was a young women from Sader / Who had sex with an alligator / We never knew / The result of that screw / ...." which I scored in front of a college-age friend's boyfriend when I was thirteen years old. Go me.) Anyway, so I didn't look at or do the same things on both weekends and it's relatively difficult to compare ren faires without doing the same stuff. So, no.
The Pittsburgh Ren Faire felt slightly smaller than the one in Mt. Hope. It had unpaved pathways and a less-substantial physical plant. The Mt. Hope faire had better performers (but I also saw more performers, and more "adult" performers, while I was there because the fella sits through shows better than a toddler) and a very-complete physical plant with running water toilets instead of portapots. Both places had overpriced food. It's a feature. There was no drinking (by me) at the Pittsburgh faire. There was drinking by me at the Mt. Hope faire. This may also have impacted my enjoyment.
Both of them were very passable functions if you enjoy that sort of thing. The cousin's grade-schooler was kind of overwhelmed by the Pittsburgh faire, and I'm not sure that the Mt. Hope one would have been any better. There's a lot of stuff going on at any faire and it's just a bit much to be taking in all at once for a kid. Pittsburgh is cheaper, Mt. Hope felt like it had more to offer. (I made a pretty solid effort to see/do stuff at Mt. Hope and I did not feel that I'd seen/done everything that was there in the time I spent.)
The Pittsburgh faire was not a themed weekend, as near as I could tell. I watched a pair of guys doing comedy swordfighting that would have been a lot more funny in the early nineties -- gay jokes just aren't that funny these days, guys. Times have moved on. Update your material. I didn't get to see the jugglers and stuff (though I do enjoy those things) but I did get to wander around a lot more. I watched the joust stuff (mid-day, not evening -- we didn't stay that long) and that was well-done and gave me a lot of ideas for how to annoy my own horse. Horses were well-trained and equipped with excellent ground manners and near-infinite patience with being-mauled-by-children. Knights rode well and with accuracy. Joust field is well-laid-out and scripting was pretty good. I also saw a bit of the washing wenches show, which was... not my thing that day. Perhaps another day I'd have liked it better.
The Mt. Hope faire was doing Pyrate Weekend, which I am all about. If there is a Pyrate Weekend, I want there to be numerous badly-done Jack Sparrow efforts. In this, I was not at all disappointed. I also want there to be pirate humor. There was. "How to you get to be a pirate?... It's easy. If you want to be, y'arrrr." (I did say I'd been drinking.)
I watched a fascinating and informative glass-blowing demonstration. I watched an "UNtrained Dog Act" consisting of high-energy border collies owned by people who had no business owning one high-energy border collie let alone three of 'em. Fun, but totally disobedient dogs. I should not expect quality dog training from people wearing motley, I suppose. I watched comedy knife-throwing, which was fun. I saw about half of the Human Chess Match, the tail end of the mid-day joust stuff (concluding speeches, the "We will joust to the death this evening" thing), some of the falconry show, and the Duo of Woo (very fun, if objectifying of women, which you have to expect). I did not get to do a lot of walking around and shopping because I was too busy watching shows.
At Mt. Hope, I did spend $27.00 to have my hair braided up more impressively than I normally wear it. Here's a picture:
Now, before you start commenting on the amount of grey hair that I have (and there is rather a lot) or about the fact that I'm over forty and have ass-length hair (and? Do you have a point you're going to make about the suitability of long hair on middle-aged women? Come closer, so that I can club you senseless with my pipe wrench.) or about the fact that I paid someone to braid my hair but couldn't be bothered to wear something more period than a grey (to match my hair) hoodie sweatshirt, let me go on about the things I actually want to say.
Having your hair braided at the ren faire takes a while, depending on what you get done and how much hair you have to work with. I had a five-strand dutch braid done that went into a bun in the back. This was actually one of the less-complicated styles ("more complicated" stuff had endless twee little decorative braids that take forever to do and are hard to take out without hair damage. I opted out of those.) that was in the picture book of styles. The braider was exceedingly skilled, had fantastic hand placement and minimal wasted motion. Her tensioning was sufficient, even, and painless. The style held (with gel, pins, and spray) without moving an iota all day. Well worth the money, in my book, and a first-class job. There was a sign-in sheet, and I looked at it near the end of the day (I was pretty early in the day). If you figure an average style was $25.00, she did 20 people that day, for a daily take of $500. Not too shabby.
While I was there getting my hair done (and waiting to get my hair done), I did see the dark side of being a ren faire braider. Not to generalize, but... hell, who am I kidding? I'm going to generalize all over the page, here. If you are a mom with very short hair (pixie or bob or wedge or that kind of thing) and you bring your 3/4/5/6 year old long-haired daughter to the braider with a VISIBLE RATTY MATTED MESS at the back of her head, you are an asshole and a bad parent. (Three moms did this while I was there to see it. There is no excuse for this, you assholes.) Each time the poor braider touched the child's head with a brush (and she was being very gentle and kindly) the child started screaming like as if the braider were trying to flay the child alive. There was screaming, plus tears, plus kicking and flailing about. Three times, three different little girls, none of them older than about six. This has to be some sort of Asshole Parenting Trend.
Long haired little girls are pretty. I get that. They're fucking adorable. And you, mom with very short hair (all the moms I saw pull this shit had very short hair, above collarbone length), have no idea how to get your little girl's hair under control but you want it to be long because it looks so cute. YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE. YOU DESERVE TO BE SHAMED and I am here to do that for you. Glad to be of service.
Asshole moms, if you would like to do better with your long-haired little girl, read onward.
Item the First Proper Washing. You do not let your little girl wad her hair up on top of her head and smash it all around. You teach her to gently scrunch her fingers back from her hairline and down the length of her hair, kind of keeping it orderly, WITHOUT piling it on top of her head and shoving it around. I know that's what you do with your fucking short hair, but long hair needs different treatment. The incomparable TorrinPaige has a video about how to wash long hair. It's here. Watch the damn video with your little girl. Since Torrin is blonde, tell your daughter that this is Rapunzel, all grown up (because fairy-tale time was a long time ago) and that this is how she washes her hair. Practice "The Rapunzel Way" of washing her hair with her so that she knows how to do it if she showers alone. If you help her bathe, then watch the damn video and learn to do it right. DO NOT turn your child's head upside down under the fucking tub faucet and rinse it all forward. WHAT ARE YOU, STUPID? You're never going to get that shit combed out now. Asshole. If she's a bath kid, then have a plastic pitcher and have her tilt her head back while you pour the water carefully over the hair with a pitcher. D'oh.
Item the Second Braid That Shit For Sleepy Time, Every Night. If you braid it, it will be a lot easier in the mornings. Use a simple nape-of-the-neck braid, with only one hairtie, at the bottom of the braid. Do not send your child to bed with wet or unbraided hair unless you really want a short-haired child.
Item the Third Invest in a Tangle Teezer brush, a pick, and some damn silicone detangling spray to make the detangling easier. If you want long hair on your kid, you have to fucking put in the time to care for it. Long hair is NOT super-difficult, but it needs some management that short hair DOES NOT NEED and the parent has to learn and perform these routines for little girls until they are big enough to do it themselves if the parent wants there to be a long-haired little girl around the place.
Item the Fourth: Learn several updo (bun, braid, ponytails, french braid) styles that will allow your little girl to run and frolic and ballet and horse ride and playground and whatever so that she can do all her major-muscle-group activities in spite of her long hair. I have butt-length long hair and I totally do all the shit I want to do without having hair issues. Your daughter should be able to do the same. Also, hair that is up does not tangle. :)
Item the Fifth If there are so many tears that you cannot get a comb or brush through your little girl's hair EVERY SINGLE DAY AT LEAST TWICE A DAY, then you are Doing It Wrong. Admit you are a failure at Parenting A Long-Haired Little Girl, cut that shit off and let her be a pixie until she's old enough to care for it herself. It's only hair. Nobody needs endless tears and fighting every morning. Get over your issues and let the both of you get on with the more important things in life. If your little girl really, really, really wants long hair, she will eventually be a big girl and she can grow her hair out then.
My family attends the Mt. Hope Ren Faire frequently. We are friends with Fool Hearty, the couple that does the untrained dog act. Their dogs are actually very well trained and a lot of the "misbehaving" is actually scripted. (Hence why it's an UNtrained dog show.) The only exception is Wing Nutte. Wing Nutte learned that people in the audience tend to bring food to the dog show and thinks that is much more awesome than what was being fed on-stage. (Don't ask me why people bring food to animal shows. People are assholes.) As a result, Wing Nutte was removed from the show for awhile. A lot of people (my family included) requested that she come back to the show. So they brought her back, even though she can be a bit unpredictable now.
We were going to try to go this weekend for the Pyrate Weekend but stuff came up. They have a Children's Weekend over Labor Day weekend which has tons of kids stuff to do. Our favorites are the Halloween weekends, which are the last 3 weekends of October.
Maybe I just didn't get the humor -- I am more used to border collies who live in a (farm) working environment. The ones I am familiar with work on and off all day and don't work for treats. They just work.
Edited at 2013-09-15 10:21 pm (UTC)