n a clear and perfect day, we went to the tiny ren faire in Tyler. The Four Winds website makes it look like any other Ren Fair I have been to, lots of preformers, craftspersons, and odds and end for sale. But once it was in sight, well, it was a bit smaller than I expected-ok, it was a lot smaller than I expected.
A couple of things worth noting-they don’t accept Credit Card at the Gate. When was the last time you went anywhere that didn’t accept credit cards? I happen to have enough cash to pay to get in, but not enough to tip the many acts that tell you-oh, by the way, we get paid by tips. The result was that we had to leave the Four Winds Ren Fair and drive to Troop, a few miles away, to get money.
This is not a major gripe like the credit card issue, just a small one. There was a huge parking area, and no one giving any directions as to where to park. The crowd was small, so I guess it was not worth having a couple of people with flags out in the large field pointing out where to park. It did seem a bit odd though.
This is the smallest Ren Faire I have been to, and to be honest, all the other have been in or near large cities. The Four Winds has the feel of someplace that is just starting out and will grown, in time, to fill the huge open space that houses the faire. Except that this is the 14th year of the Faire. I really wonder what it looked fourteen years ago. It was not an overly large area and yet it was still filled with so much open space that it felt empty. The crowd was pretty light as well.
Ok, enough whining, how was it? The acts were pretty standard Ren Faire stuff, a couple of singing and dancing Nuns who did familar songs with rewritten lyrics-A Muskteer is a Member of Your Neighborhood and Don’t Mess Around with Him. There was a slight of hand artist who was a drunk Pirate and did a very good act. A Juggler of tossed swords and fire and did a bit of funny patter. There was a belly dancing troop that featured a number oversized belly dancers. Anyone brave enough to get up and preform gets a round of applause from me-but fat belly dancers were just weird.
The only artisan I noticed was a Blacksmith who had a very hard time getting his furnace going and filled the faire with sulfur flavored smoke. There was also a bit of Jousting and the horses all had thier manes braided, which was a very interesting touch.
I didn’t sample the food, but they had the usual Turkey Legs and a Shepard’s Pie, as well as a couple of other items. The people were selling an odd assortment of items-there was the usual suspects of Period Costumes, Walking Staffs, Hand Made Soaps and Lotions. But there were also a lot of things that would have been at home in a Dollar Store or a Flea Market.
It was a prefect day, if a tad windy. But then it is called The Four Winds. I had a good time, enjoyed the shows, bought some hemp salve and some incense. It would have been nice to know The Four Winds did not accept credit cards, though many of the Merchants did. So go, watch Captain Thom and Breaking the Habit. Just remember to bring cash.