However, the cold had not started bubbling up by Friday, so unawares the WR and I ventured out to the NC State Fairgrounds and to the North Carolina Renaissance Faire. Ideally, it was to see our Scottish fave band, Albannach, at their 4pm show, but that quickly was bookended by other activities as the perpetually lively Jamesie et al only played a 30 minute set. It was a good set, mind you, and they seem to have made some loyal fans who came back after seeing them the first time last year, but it was only 30 minutes. Thank heavens the Faire had much more to offer...namely in the form of clothing and crafts vendors.
Food vendors were sparse, and the 'beer garden' (which is using the traditional meaning of that word very loosely) was even leaner. (You know the 'beer garden' was lean when the WR and myself...both beer snobs who generally would wholeheartedly embrace the stronger beers presumably found at a Renaissance Faire...could not find anything pleasing, out of the whopping 2 or 3 choices of honey mead variations to choose from, and decided to take our money and sinful tastes elsewhere in town.) I can only hope that after we departed at about 6pm that the variety of both improved a lot, as the crowd turnout was certainly there to make a few bucks for some enterprising food and drink staff.
For what it it worth, I did try and take some pictures. Unfortunately, I could not get any decent pics of Albannach this time (I had a Grizzly Adams-like character standing in front of me), nor of the second-best act we saw there, an acrobatic and knife-throwing threesome called Barely Balanced. While I had a great seat for the Barely Balanced show, unfortunately they were performing just as the sun was in every one's eyes. They could see us, while we were all squinting and with sunglasses trying desperately to see them. They did, though, put on a very good show and I was sorry I didn't have more money to contribute to them when they passed the hat around at the conclusion. While sadly I only got a very few pics of them early on in their set, I do, however, have some really spectacular later ones of the sun blinding me, but I'll spare you those.
Go see these kids (well, I think they're mid to late 20s in age, but I tend to call people younger than me 'kids') if you see they're coming to your local Renaissance Faire or festival. Their website is Barely Balanced.com, where, thankfully, you can see what these flexible folks can really do.
All in all, it was a good, sunny, and relatively warm afternoon. The entertainment was lively, the vendors friendly, and the participants enthusiastic...and these pluses made the other shortcomings with the food and drink easily forgiven. I think the WR was quite pleased to lose his Faire virginity at this one and I'm glad we went. Now if they can just do something about the damn honey mead for next year...