To answer your question, Bells, no you weren't too late. I had Patrick choose the winner at random, and I've sent an email off to the lucky lady. If you didn't win, have no fear. I'll run another contest later. With goodies that are just as cool.
Well, Patrick and I finally made it to the Ren Faire. We were rained out two weeks ago, if you recall, and when we woke up today and saw the sky looking like this:
...we were very worried. But I'd checked the weather and by the time we got up there, the clouds were lightening drastically. It was still chilly, but in November we'd expected it and dressed prepared. Turns out the faire doesn't open until 11, so we got there an hour early and ended up walking around the front gates for a while.
There were some heralds who stood around and looked cold as they waited for the opening of the gates.
Some Halloween decorations were up, too. Lots of hay bales and gourds of varying shapes and sizes. Most of the hay had grass growing on it, which I found funny.
And there were some bagpipers too, to keep us entertained as we waited. It was pretty cool to watch them play, because bagpipes always look so difficult. Later on we saw a woman with a hammered dulcimer, too. It was pretty neat.
There was an archery demonstration I didn't get pictures of, but the guy who was doing it was amazing. He was getting killing blows with every shot up to 100 yards away from the target. Even after that distance, though, up to about 130 yards away, he said, he'd be hitting someone. Think of 20,000 men all lined up close together. That arrow's going somewhere.
After the archery was the joust. It was a lot of fun to watch, and Patrick spent most of his time laughing at their antics. It started with just some general feats of amazingness, from races to equine tricks. My favorite knight was Sir William Coffington. When he announced himself, his claim was that he couldn't lose "because his hair was fabulous today." I'm going to post a bunch of the jousing pictures together at the end, so you can see them. I was quite impressed at the tricks they were turning. Sir William is the one with the black and white(silver) flag.
There was also a royal falconer, with a peregrine. What a pretty bird.