Monday, September 6, 2010

Renaissance Festival

This year is the 40th Anniversary of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It's popularity never seems to wane, and why should it? Nowhere else will you find an array of truly high quality, unique arts and crafts nestled among so much absolutely irresistible foolish fun. I will not begin to list the variety of acts, food, or characters, although I tried once in one of my NBP (never been published) novels.

As always, Nancy and I arrive at the site near Shakopee before the gates open to catch a bit of the pre-show.

Nancy does a little shopping before we go in the main gate.

We meet friends and relatives who even admit to knowing us. L to R are Tyler, Alyssa, Twyla, and my nephew Bob.

Once inside the gates, we stop at a few shops on our way to catch the 10:30 show of our favorite act, Puke and Snot.


Then we buy a couple glasses of wine from our favorite wine vendor, Amanda, who wears a pair of horns on her head. Pretty cute, eh?

As usual, there is a big crowd at the Puke and Snot Show, but we walk to the front because usually some kind people will make room for  couple of old-timers.
We get a front row seat and a lady comes out to place the props and introduce the act.

 We have been coming to see Puke and Snot's show for nearly 40 years, and so have lots of other people. Between sword play and word play, their comic narrative includes exchanging colorful insults with each other and talking with audience members. Although it's billed as a family show, Sir Puke always comments that the parents will be fielding a lot of questions from the kids on the way home.

Nancy and I do not pretend to be personal friends with these guys, but after seeing their comedy for as many years as we have been married, they seem like old friends to us. We first saw the act in the early 1970's when the Renaissance Festival was located in Jonathan.

Sir Puke is Mark Sieve (white shirt) and Sir Snot is John Gamoke. Both men are accomplished stage actors.

This is John's third year in the act, taking over for Joe Kudla, Mark's partner in the act who died suddenly in August, 2008.
John had the courage to step in after only a few days of rehearsal,
and Mark had the determination to help make it work.

After the show, Nancy and I explain to Mark how much we enjoyed his book, Call Me Puke, A Life on the Dirt Circuit, a humorous, fast-paced memoir in which Mark tells the story of his rise in the entertainment world. Visit for more information.

They were kind to take a moment to let us set up a photo.

Later, we stop to see an act called Tuey-Juggling and Ropewalking as he did his finale with fire.

We watch Diane, the lemonade lady, throw out her lemon on a string and reel in the kids.

She has this one hooked.

I get a wild idea I can hit someone with a tomato. My attempts cause a good deal of mirth among viewers.

This lad tries a couple times, but fails to make it to the top on the Jacob's Ladder. I know better than to try.
We visit more shops, eat steak on a stick (really good and only $5.75),
meet more people, and Nancy buys a hat.

Everybody is here to have fun and it's easy to begin conversing with complete strangers. We talked to Rita and Joe Iversen from Sioux City, Iowa, after they had their photos taken as heads on life-sized pickles.

But it's time for us to go, and we say goodbye to the Festival until next year.

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