Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Renaissance Festival, 2011

Nancy and I have attended the Minnesota Renaissance Festival nearly every year since its beginning in the early 1970s. We enjoy the comedy, the atmosphere, the animals, the juggling, the crowd, the crafts, and most of all, the Puke and Snot Show.
The longest-running and oldest act at the Renaissance Festival, Sir Ralph Puke, left, and Sir Thomas Snot, right, have been dishing out their humor with sword play for 41 years. Mark Sieve is the original Puke, and John Gamoke took over as Snot with only days of preparation after Joe Kudla passed away in August of 2008. They both need to be commended for their courage in pulling off what must have been a tough transition. This is their 4th year together in the act and they were in fine form.  
Both last year and this year, Nancy and I came early to get a chance to talk to Mark and John near their stand where they sell tee shirts, mugs, and other Puke and Snot stuff. Mark held up last year's photo of the four of us. Below is this year's photo. As you can see, no one has aged, and I am even wearing a different shirt than I wore last year.
Nancy made a quilt from the Puke and Snot tee shirts that we've purchased over the years. She took a couple photos of it and gave Mark a copy. He seemed genuinely pleased with the small gift and said he would put it in a ring binder with other Renaissance Festival photos. You can see a corner of the quilt in the picture behind the photo Mark is holding of the four of us from last year's visit.
Although these guys are, indeed, celebrities, they honestly enjoy talking to fans and friends at the Festival. John's son Zane, pictured below, took the photo.
Mark Sieve, Zane Gamoke, John Gamoke.

This year's show was mostly new material that featured Sir Puke's plan to become a politician. The program was hilarious and also had lots of the old comic gems that Puke and Snot have performed throughout the past years.
One more thing, I recommend Mark's book, Call Me Puke: A Life on the Dirt Circuit, a memoir of the beginning days to the recent past. The book is funny, serious, revealing, and a good read. To purchase the book go to www.magaga.com
Sir Puke among the audience.
Sir Snot among the audience.

After the Puke and Snot Show, we checked out the animals, the jousting, the crafts, the juggler, and some food. Steak on a stick is my favorite. It goes well with red wine.
Nancy and I used to raise hogs so watching the little guys dig in the dirt brought back some good memories.

We enjoyed watching the handler wash the elephant.

The jousting is an attraction that contains action and humor. There is a bit of the "good guy" vs "bad guy" game that you might find in pro-wrestling, but there is also the honest challenge of riding your horse at another guy who has a long stick pointing at you. I wouldn't say it is completely safe.
The sign on the box says, "Buy Something," and like a number of other shops, this one offered some bargains. Marked down merchandise is something rare at the Renaissance. The economy seems to have affected all areas. So if you like bargains, attend next weekend and see what you find.
We watched players throwing knives and pins close to each other and a volunteer from the audience.
By the expression on this volunteer's face, we can conclude she can feel the breeze of the pins as they pass by.
Before we left, Nancy and I spent a bit of quiet time by our favorite spot in the shade by Wind Rose Mill.
We reluctantly take our leave of the fantasy world but we know we'll be back next year.

Thanks to Mark Sieve and John Gamoke and all the wonderful performers and workers who make the Renaissance Festival what it is.
My post on last year's Renaissance Festival was September 6, 2010.
To purchase Mark's book go to www.magaga.com 

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson, except for the one taken by John's son Zane.

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