Forget Romeo and Juliet. While they make a beautiful yet tragic romance, they have well been abused and overused in history. Think of ordinary souls making the best at Michigan Renaissance Faire. Of couples holding hands as they walk past shops and stages. Of lovers sharing the same interest and passion for renaissance, growing old but always young at heart. Think of couples who are different in so many ways, yet complement a thousand more. They are no Romeo and Juliet, just ordinary souls who live ordinary lives. But today, they make the faire their lovers’ lane, the love birds who wear the same colorful feathers. And for one couple, the Michigan Renaissance Faire is the best place to wear their wedding gown and kilt and exchange their marriage “i do’s”.
Monthly Archives: September 2012
It was a Highland Fling weekend when we attended the Michigan Renaissance Faire. It was of course to my hubby’s delight. If you are a fan of kilts and Scottish bagpipes and drums, this post is for you!
We were welcomed by the Flint Scottish Pipe Band upon arrival. Established in 1916, they are the oldest pipe band in Michigan and one of the oldest in the United States. In most of their stage performances, hubby and I were there among the crowd, cheering and humming. It was a challenge to fight the urge to drum as well. The band is genuinely friendly, they even let me handle one of their bagpipes for a try. We were also very honored to have a little chitchat with Don Bussell, the Ceremonial Drum Major before the start of one of their shows. Don Bussell has been the Drum Major for the Flint Scottish Pipe Band for more than 30 years. They take the lead at the festival’s Royal Parade.
Another band loved by many is the Stone Clovers. It is an Irish Folk Rock Group that performs an array of traditional and contemporary Irish and original music. Stone Clovers was created in 2008 and has played in 4 seasons of the Michigan Renaissance Festival.
Another hubby’s favorite is the band Tartanic. It is either the pipes or the pretty belly dancers that interest him :) We were however truly stunned at how neatly they performed the Amazing Grace in pipes and drums. Manolete in his Pyro Show was also very entertaining. It takes a ton of wit and humor to pull off that show on stage and he did it naturally.
My favorite performance is of the Bawdy Boys. That moment at the bar sitting and just enjoying their music is something I definitely want to do every renaissance faires. Hats off boys!
And in case you are wondering if it is all loud music at the faire, here is one musician finding solitude at the gazebo. He looks very content.
I ought to mention that once in a while I can still hear bagpipes and drums until today in my dreams since the faire in Michigan. Long live bagpipes and drums!
Kids and pets are also stars at Michigan Renaissance Faire. Boys came as knights in chainmail armor or pirates with an eye patch and elaborate hats. Girls were dressed in elegant princess dress and silky gowns. Some were also dressed as fairies with intricate pair of wings. Why not? Afterall, we had the craziest and wildest dreams and fantasies when we were kids. For the young and young at heart, welcome to Renaissance Faire. This is your dreamland.
Of course, cute furry babies also take their spotlight at the faire! The Michigan Renaissance Faire is truly big enough for us all.
I wanted to be a fairy or a mermaid when I was a kid. I was told that wishing on a falling star before they fade will make your dreams come true. So most nights, when I attend dance rehearsals for Sinulog, I would look up to the sky and scan the horizon for any glow. After years and years of chasing stars, I still haven’t grown a pair of wings nor a floppy long tail. It is a beautiful childhood fantasy long forgotten in the chaotic midst of corporate race and survival. But when I saw the fairies and fairy houses at Michigan Renaissance Faire, I smiled thinking of how silly yet wonderful that dream was. There were over 150 submitted entries for the Fairy House contest at the faire, only three were proclaimed winners via votes. Each fairy house however is a masterpiece, each reminded me of the time when fairies or magic dust is all that matters. It is a beautiful warm feeling of home, of friendship and of childhood.
Nope, I still don’t have my wings nor my tail I have been wishing as a kid but I sure grew a heart over the years. And that should count.
We all have fantasies, kept within the deepest desires of our heart. Luckily, there is Renaissance Faire where you can be who you dream to be – a Queen, Princess, King, Prince, Knight, a fairy, a hero.
Today, I am the Lady of the Chess and hubby is a Saxon. Don’t get me wrong. I love myself and I embrace whole of me. I am flawed but proud of my being. However, the Michigan Renaissance Faire is best attended and enjoyed when you show up in full costume. Afterall, we are in the old english village. As they say, when in the old english village, do what the English do.
Some showed up in costumes not appropriate for Renaissance period, including me. It is but fair to say that this is my first Renaissance Faire and I should be forgiven.Who cares anyway, everyone was there for fun! But hubby noticed I could not take my eyes off the corsets so he bought me one. It is a beautiful classic black Victorian corset, handmade with German steels (yes, steels!), satin line, and a wonderful selection of brocades, satin and even leather. It costed us a whooping $300 just for the corset! My entire outfit – the dress, vest, corset, headlace – costs a total estimation of $600 but it all paid off. I wore it with so much pride.
Hubby deserves the best recognition for showing up as a Saxon in the appropriate attire. He put up a lot of effort to get his costumes right. It took him months and months of research and emails and phone calls to suppliers. He wore an embroidered linen Saxon tunic, linen pants, wininglas wrapped around his legs, leather turn tan shoes and accessorized himself with a burgundy woolen cap, a leather pouch and a drinking horn (always ready for ale and beer!) What is the ultimate measure of how prepared hubby is? He got himself a Saxon name! AETHELSTAN.
I am the Lady of the Chess and I am married to Saxon Aethelstan
So who are you?
During the 7-week long Michigan Renaissance Faire, the property at Dixie Highway, Holly was filled with houses, shops and structures that were created to emulate an old English village. Upon arrival, the world changes from 21st century to being medieval in a snap. Even visitors came dressed in costumes taking pride in every details of what they wear. The smell of smoked turkey leg filled the air. Jugglers, dancers, singers, actors and actresses perform on stages and spaces which have become a home for them for years. But what is strikingly obvious is the effort everyone has put into making this old English village remarkably surreal.
Renaissance Faires are outdoor activities normally held on weekends where entertainers, actors and actresses dress, talk, dance and sing to emulate a certain period of time. Most Renaissance faires emulate the era of Queen Elizabeth I of England’s reign but faires can do any period that pleases them ranging from pirates to vikings even including fairies and mermaids. Some Renaissance faires are hosted at playgrounds, or permanent theme parks or private spaces. Some are held for a day, some days, weeks, even months. To spice up the activity for those held months long, themes are followed every weekends. Visitors are most encouraged to come in costumes.
The Michigan Renaissance Faire 2012 ran for 7 weekends commencing on the 3rd weekend of August and culminating on the last weekend of September. It was held in Dixie Highway, Holly where permanent structures and stages were built to make it look and feel like a fictional English village. Listed below are the themes for each weekends. Hubby and I decided to attend the second weekend for the Highland Fling because he is a huge fan of bag pipes and kilts. Hubby’s father side can also trace their roots to Scotland so that weekend felt like honoring his family’s heritage. Hubby was dressed up as a Medieval Saxon while I was dressed as the Lady of the Chess. We were joined by hubby’s brother David and his wife Lynne on the first day, Saturday, and on Sunday, hubby and I attended the faire by ourselves (but we were sadly not in costumes)
Royal Pet and Ale Festival – August 18th and 19th
Highland Fling! – August 25th and 26th
High Seas Adventure! – September 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Wonders of the World! – September 8th and 9th
Festival Friday! – September 14th , Shamrocks and Shenanigans! – September 15th and 16th
Harvest Huzzah! – September 22nd and 23rd
Sweet Endings! – September 29th and 30th
And because there is so much to share about Michigan Renaissance Faire, I have decided to divide my blog entries into different themes as well. This post serves as an introduction to the Renaissance Faire especially for those of you who have not encountered nor heard this yet. And to give justice to this introduction, it is but appropriate and an honor to present to you Her Majesty, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Long Live the Queen!
The highlight of the accession tilts of Queen Elizabeth I was jousting. It was originally a military tactic used during the High Medieval Ages but later evolved as a sport in the 15th century. The Renaissance Faire gives you a glimpse of this medieval joust as a tournament. Knights in shining armor are not just literature fictions and fantasies at the faire because inside the walls of this 17 acre grounds, your knight in his shining armor up on his horse attacking his opponent in high speed comes to life.
And if you are curious why I chose to be a Lady of Chess, remember that in the game of chess, the Queen protects the King. Enjoy the Renaissance!
**credits to wikipedia and michrenfest.com for event info
The Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky is approximately 2,300 acres. It is located in the midst of the Daniel Boone National Forest, near the Red River Gorge Geological Area. It is home to 34 amphibians, 54 mammals, 31 reptiles, 54 types of ferns, 146 tree or woody plant species, 115 spring wildflowers and 89 resident species of birds.There are also numerous hiking trails that criss cross the park, caves and unusual rock formations which are perfect for an outdoor adventure.
But the highlight of this park is the natural bridge arched by a natural process of weathering over millions of years. The Natural Bridge which is natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft or 24 meters and is 65 ft or 20 m high.
Heaven is a step closer when you stand on top of a mountain. In our case, on top of the Natural Bridge, Kentucky, us together.
Traveler’s tip : Natural Bridge State Park Resort caters to your dining and shopping needs. Check below:
**video taken from nascar bend view on September 14, 2012
The Virginia International Raceway hosted the 9th round of 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. Luckily for us, it is only about two and a half hour drive to the race track from North Carolina. For hubby and I and for our friends Jonathan and Jane Toney, this 14th season race is not a treat to miss, even stayed two whole days that felt like the best weekend and (loudest) ever.
American Le Mans Series (ALMS) debuted in 1999. It basically follows the same rules as the 24 Hours Le Mans with 3 primary classes racing and added 2 “challenge classes”. Prototypes ( P1 in red numbers, P2 in blue numbers, PC in purple numbers) are purpose-built racing machines while GT in green numbers and GTC in orange numbers are production-based modified cars.
The morning of our day 1 at VIR was spent watching the practices overlooking from the up hill.
By noon we attended a fan forum participated by ALMS President & CEO Scott Atherton, VIR Co-owner and Managing Partner Connie Nyholm, No. 4 Corvette Racing C6R driver Tommy Milner, No. 01 ESM Ferrari F458 Italia driver Johannes van Overbeek , and RSR Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi.
But my favorite part of our first day was staying and taking photos at the nascar bend and it was tricky.
In between walks around the track, I grabbed the opportunity to take photos of what catches my eye (and attention).
I am not an expert of cars and racing and I am still learning the ropes. Hubby was very comforting when he said that we all are. Well, I am enjoying this learning process and guess what, I love American Le Mans Series :)
Petoskey holds a special place in my hubby’s heart and now I understand why. It was 60 degrees when we visited the town, just the way hubby loves it yet a bit chilly for his Filipina wife, but boy oh boy, Petoskey is a sight to behold and I could not wait to explore the district. The town was formerly known as Bear River but later renamed after the Ottawa Indian Chief Petosega. We woke up to a lovely sunny morning and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan just right outside our balcony greeted us. We didn’t really have a plan for the day so we decided to stroll downtown and headed to the marina. While we missed the sunset Petoskey is known for, we surely awed at the tranquility of the town in the morning.
On Petoskey’s waterfront is the Little Traverse Historical Museum. It is a restored abandoned Chicago and West Michigan Railroad station. This museum is proud to showcase Ernest Hemmingway’s stories and artifacts as he spend his summers in Northern Michigan.
The note on the robe says
Michigan Winter Queen : An important part of Winter Queen’s wardrobe, this robe passed from winner to winner each year. The selection of the Queen, as a rule, took place on Friday night during the first weekend of the Winter Carnival. Elsie Bohm became the first Winter Queen in 1928 . The criteria for selecting a Winter Queen matched the Miss America contest, except instead of a swimsuit contest she had to be proficient in winter sport.
As to where to dine in Petoskey, check below:
I guess starting today Petoskey will not only hold a special place in my hubby’s heart but in my heart as well. My heart, definitely.
P.S. I got lucky to see a mob of wild deer on our way to Petoskey and jumped out of the car and sneeked for snapshots. I suppose this was around Harbor Springs.
Michilimackinac (pronounced as Mish-i-li-mack-i-naw) is the area between the Lower and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is the region around the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The name Michilimackinac has been a subject of debate among scholars but it is widely understood as a Michigan Native American term that means “The Great Turtle” referring to the shape of Mackinac Island. This is where hubby showed me three subjects I am very passionate about : a story of Native Americans, a lake, and a lighthouse.
The Straits of Mackinac functioned as a fur trade summer depot so Fort Michilimackinac was built by the French originally as a trading post, not for military purposes. It was later taken over by the British. The Native Americans, captured the fort after they massacred most of the British garrison, but the British re-garrisoned the fort in 1764 and abandoned the area in 1780 when they moved to Mackinac Island and established Fort Mackinac.
The Mackinac Bridge is regarded as the dividing line between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. This represents the narrowest point between these two connected bodies of water. From Mackinac standpoint, the left of the Mackinac Bridge is Lake Michigan and the right is Lake Huron.
While the Straits of Mackinac was critical to the trading system, it was also hazardous. So the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was built to guide ships to a safe passage. I guess why I love lighthouses is the fact that it beacons and it guides, and in this life, we all need one.
This is my story of Michilimackinac where hubby treated me with an encounter with a Native American, showed me lakes, and showcased a lighthouse. Is it Christmas yet?
There are moments in my life I will cherish forever but that afternoon in Wolverine, Michigan is extra special. It is a small village in the northern part of the state with a population of less than 500. There is really nothing fancy about the town – no signboards shouting for attention, no trace of Hollywood invasion, no non-sense – but the town has a park that lies along the side of the Sturgeon River and that sweet little haven is where my hubby decided to bring me for a surprise picnic. This place is naturally and effortlessly mystical. I have always been flawed and imperfect, but that day, that very moment, I was reminded that life is truly beautiful and wondered how will I be without him.
How did I fall for Jon? If you know him, you will know why. And by the Sturgeon River, I know, I have fallen deeper.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 lemon or lime, juice of
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp black pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 pc bell pepper sliced
Use 2 lbs chicken meat, cut in 1×1 cubes.
Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, lime, garlic, black pepper in a bowl and marinate the meat in an hour or overnight.
Thread the meat onto skewers together with the bell pepper and onion. Discard unused marinade.
Grill. Best serve with rice.