I knew there were bugs there, but I didn't realize they were mosquitos. They loved me, as is evident by the many bites I have on my legs and back. Maybe it's because it's an El Nino year? Anyway, lot of bugs. Obviously it's not the faire's fault, but if you know you're particularly tastey to mosquitos, you may want to avoid this one.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Yesterday I dragged my mom with me to the Koroneburg Old World Festival in Corona (get it?). It's a renaissance faire that takes place in a German barony.
As far as renn faires go, Koroneburg is a very mellow one. I visited it two years ago by myself and had a pretty decent time. Renn Faires seem to be best for me when I go with a group, but faires seem to have a niche following. I have only been to two other renn faires besides this one: the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Faire, as you know from my previous posts on it. Koroneburg is not nearly as crowded, but it does feel more personal. If the Renaissance Pleasure Faire is a big city, Koroneburg is a small, friendly town.
Koroneburg has some unique aspects to it. The biggest is that the park has actual buildings that look like little replicas of an old European village. I wish I had taken pictures, but my mom and I just enjoyed wandering around. I recognized many people from the last time I attended the faire two years ago, so it does have a faithful following.
My wish is that there would be more to do there, as it is a pretty small faire. The layout is sort of oval-shaped, with a more sparse, open area in the back. There is a stage where the Queen's Swordsmen perform. I've seen them both times I've been to Koroneburg and in Vegas, and their always entertaining. Also in the back is a water-dunking game and camps. There isn't a lot of entertainment, and pretty much all of it has a "pass-the-hat" procedure, so it feels a little awkward if you don't have tipping money (I came prepared for the Queen's Swordsmen this year). There are not too many food options, but the selections that they have are pretty nice. There are the traditional turkey legs and steak on a steak, but there are also sauteed mushrooms and even ice cream. Most of the food items are priced around $5.00, so you don't feel as though you have to choose between food or souvinieres.
As far as crafts go, there are some real winners. Apart from the usual items (costumes, leather goods, etc), there are hand-crafted wooden mugs (I loved the wooden flasks! Unfortunately, I don't have a link for them), magnetic broaches with nature photographs printed on them (not very authentic, but still interesting) and colorful, hand-blown glass-wear. One thing the glass-blower sold that I haven't seen at any other fair: mezzuzahs (also spelled mezouza). I haven't seen those since I lived in L.A. and I even got to explain them to my mom, since she'd never seen one. That was my "I feel smart" moment of the day.
As for costumes: most of the people I saw at the faire were in costume, but the level of authenticity was mixed. Two weekends during the festival, the park stays open until 9:00pm and both weekends have a theme. The first weekend was Robin Hood weekend and The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Erol Flynn was played in a tent. This weekend was Pirate weekend and The Sea Hawk, also starring Erol Flynn, was played. Since pirates have become popular, so too has lax costuming. You can pretty much throw anything on and call yourself a pirate, although some do it better than others. Knowing this, and not having complete costumes since my chemise fell apart at the Vegas faire, I threw together an old skirt with a silk blouse and some racey tights. I added some costume jewelery and ta-daa-- acceptable faux-pirate garb! Mom just wore normal clothes as we don't have any costume pieces for her... yet.
The regulars who attend this faire are very into their characters, but they are far mellower than their Renaissance Pleasure Faire counterparts. This is totally cool, though, as it helps with their distinct but equal vibe. The story is that the festival is being held by the Baron Heinrich Von Lauffer and you see him often. He's this big, pleasant man with a happy German accent (I can't really think how to describe it; ever hear Ludwig Von Drake speak?).
We stayed at the faire until it closed. Then we hiked back downhill to our car and noticed the smell of... poo. We smelled it earlier when we parked the cars, and my guess at the time was that horses were nearby. Leaving the parking lot, however, we took a wrong turn. The exit is twisty and confusing, especially in the dark. Following others doesn't help sometimes, as we did and ended up in a dark dead end. Then we smelled it.
"I think we're next to a water-reclamation area." My mom said. She was right. I turned the car around and tried to get out of there and back onto the street as quicly and as safely as I could, but the smell of sulfur and sewage filled the car. The only thing to do was endure it until we were back on the road and the park was far behind us.