Road Trip: Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Our newest adventure took us north to the Kansas City area.  We went to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.  While the faire was important, the best part of meeting up with my dear friend, Justin, and his wife Alyssa.

Let’s start off with a little background on the festival itself.  For fun I took the story from Wikipedia and asked ChatGPT to rewrite it with a renaissance flair.  This is what is came up with:

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival, a splendid gathering echoing the spirit of the Renaissance era, graces Bonner Springs, Kansas, nestled beside the illustrious Sandstone Amphitheater. Commencing its festivities on the Labor Day weekend, this revelry persists for seven consecutive weekends, enchanting patrons on Saturdays, Sundays, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Its genesis in 1977 was as a charitable endeavor for the Kansas City Art Institute, blossoming into an independent extravaganza in the late 1990s. Presently, it boasts 165 stalls, 13 stages, and captivates a yearly audience of 200,000 on 16 splendid days.

In homage to its artistic roots, the KCRF unfolds with more than 150 emporiums and peddlers, many of whom proffer original crafts and masterpieces. The venue itself is a work of art, featuring meandering, tree-shaded avenues, adorned with painted frescoes and fancifully adorned edifices. The Institute for Historic and Educational Arts (IHEA) holds a prominent presence, its artisans demonstrating diverse textile, wood, and metal crafting techniques, even presiding over a fully operational blacksmith forge. KCRF graciously allows patrons to witness these skilled artisans at their craft while being enlightened by costumed denizens of the Renaissance’s art, science, medicine, and martial prowess.

The festival’s origins, though humble in its inception in 1977, initially served as a charitable endeavor for the Kansas City Art Institute rather than a commercial enterprise. It was not until 1999, when Mid-America Festivals, the steward of the renowned Minnesota Renaissance Festival, acquired it, that the event assumed grander proportions.

That sounded (read) much flashier than the original version.  I think I’ll have ChatGPT rewrite the rest of the story to give it a little old-world charm:

Verily, Jeremy and I ventured into a Renaissance Festival, a realm most novel to us. In contrast, Justin and Alyssa, seasoned travelers of Colorado’s festivals, were well-acquainted with such festivities. Justin even donned the garb of a Knight Templar in full regalia.

Alas, our day lacked a grand saga. We embarked on one side, circumnavigated the festival’s splendors, and made a second pass to revel in its wonders.

Verily, the populace was vast, and the queues for victuals stretched as far as one could see. I had no wish to tarry for twenty or thirty minutes for a turkey leg. We opted for a loaded baked potato, a mere ten-minute wait. Libations flowed freely, yet I abstained due to my recent gastric bypass surgery. Regrettably, I forsook pretzels as well.

The skies were overcast, and the air was thick with the aroma of cigars, rendering the faire a scene plucked from a renaissance period tapestry.

Shows and performances graced various stages. A maiden was beckoned to quaff ale, and a live vulture took center stage in an educational display. Magicians, minstrels, and jesters filled the realm.

Justin found himself accosted by numerous admirers, captivated by his authentic armor. Inquisitive souls beseeched the origin of each piece, while some merely sought a cherished memento – a portrait beside this noble Knight Templar. In a fortuitous encounter, a fellow Templar halted in camaraderie, engaging in conversation, and bestowing upon him a challenge coin adorned with the sacred emblem of the Knights Templar.

Our favorite was the tomato toss, where one could hurl tomatoes at a raucous heckler. His jests were truly on point.

We embarked upon the Torture Castle, a gallery of medieval instruments of torment. The contraption that submerged gossipy wives in a well and another that stretched a man’s tongue over a bar and weighted it until confession emerged left me aghast. Cruelty indeed abounded in those bygone days.

I was drawn to the kilts, a rainbow colored one, but pondered, “When would I wear such attire? Perhaps only at Pride.” I reluctantly refrained from purchase, but I spied them online, awaiting a change of heart.

Justin sought a black, metal sword but left empty-handed, clutching only the business card of a swordsmith.

Alyssa procured flower halos and fairy wings for her nieces.

Jeremy acquired enticing garlic spices, a sensory delight. As for myself, a Kansas City Renaissance Festival shot glass now graces my collection.

We attended a whimsical show brimming with innuendo, starring two men and a lady. They choreographed swordplay, torch duels, and quarterstaff combat, all within a melodramatic framework. I half-expected one of the gents to emulate Daffy Duck and strike himself. “Actually, it’s a buck-and-a-quarter quarterstaff, but I’m not telling him that!” The zenith arrived when the lady wielded a flaming whip.

The sole other spectacle we witnessed was the jousting, where the crowd jeered and cheered for their favored knights. The ring announcers engaged in verbal combat, and the knights arrived to a cacophony of adoration and disdain, depending on the spectator’s allegiance. Mounted, the knights clashed their lances mightily, one even shattering his weapon. A knight met his fall, prompting his announcer to distract his adversary. The two ring announcers engaged in skirmish, enlisting support from the costumed onlookers. Without revealing the climax, suffice it to say, there was much bloodshed and a fair share of departed souls.

Hence, I can proudly declare my maiden voyage to a faire a triumph. I eagerly anticipate the morrow, when I may savor beer, pretzels, and perchance that resplendent rainbow kilt.