Here are my impressions of the new Royal Abingdon Faire (aka RAF).
Please remember that this was the very first day of a faire that was basically brought together in less than 6 months by some very hard working people. From what I hear, they managed to find a site barely 6 weeks before the opening day, the cast had barely 4 weeks to rehearse, the primary structures of the site were started 2 weeks out and most of the vendors had barely a week, more like 2 days, to setup.
Note: If you read anything in this post as being a negative comment then you are reading it wrong! Please read it again, but in a positive light!
Rose and I went in with very low expectations, to keep from being disappointed. We knew that the faire had been put together in a very short time. There was also the rumour mill at work, spinning so many conflicting stories that it was impossible to see the true story of this new faire, which I still don't know.
"OK, get to the point already!", I can hear some of you telling me.
So, right to the heart of it... Go to this faire! At least once, and see it for yourself. It's worth the trip to Burlington!
To those that still have baggage from the old OntRF, please leave it at home, sure RAF has a lot of old faces, but this is not OntRF on a new site! Take this faire for what it is, a new faire that is just starting out and is taking its first few baby steps. It has its growing pains and it doesn't have the polish that OntRF did, but you have to remember that OntRF was in its 9th season and run by a company that has been in the business for 25+ years. I remember OntRF back when I first started going to it and it wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread either, but I could see its potential, just as I can see the potential of RAF!
So, all that being said, here in no specific order, are my more detailed thoughts of this brand new event called the Royal Abingdon Faire:
A beautiful sunny garden-like site; definitely a Royal garden :-)
Gorgeous new costumes!
A nervous cast (for getting their lines out correctly), but it was the first day after all!
Cast interaction with patrons was WAY UP compared to the old OntRF and even I, in garb, was approached and got to play with them in character, which was something that I missed from the first few year of OntRF!
Personal interactions with the cast (as I know a goodly number of them), for the most part, was still kept in character. (For those cast members reading this: Way to go and keep up the good work!)
Barthello's!!!! If you don't know what this is, let me just say that their food rocks!!! They were one of the 3 places that I ate at OntRF and I am sooo glad that they are at RAF!
Can't really comment on the stage shows, as I missed most of them while catching up with all my old friends both cast, vendors and other long time patrons. Many of the old favourites are at RAF, hit the website ( http://www.ontariorenaissancefaire.ca/ ) to see who's made the move over to RAF. For those of you that have never been to OntRF, let me just say that these acts are first rate and they will entertain you!
I did see some of the chess match and enjoyed it, thankfully there were no WWE style fights, which had plagued the last few years at OntRF.
The place is sunny! Make sure to wear lots of sunscreen! Both Rose and I came home burned, and we were jumping from shady spot to shady spot!
Beautiful trees! Almost every one of them has an info bite about itself and where it came from.
There's a ton of other things that I could talk about, but that's the highlights that I think will mean the most to people both old and new.
Things that need work, which I'm sure will be worked on as the faire moves forward, but this is what I thought and/or heard from various other patrons:
Bring physical cash! I'm told that there will be an ATM there next weekend, but just in case bring physical cash with you so that you don't get stuck having to go hunting for a cash machine in the remote areas of Burlington just to get in. That being said, many of the vendors do take credit cards, but I find it's better to be safe than sorry.
The 2-day tickets, should either be for any two days or the name should be changed to a Weekend pass, as the ticket sellers told me that the 2-day tickets were only good for the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend that they were purchased on. I know that this is probably a Royal Botanical Gardens issue, but I thought it needed to be mentioned.
The need for shade, or for more shade, around the stages and food areas!
Need a backstage area to hide some of the modern clutter and give the cast a place to go so that they can rest and recoup.
Both Rose and I were very impressed overall by RAF and plan to visit it many more times this season. I also have some pictures of our first day at RAF ( Click Here )
If you have any specific questions or just want to share your experiences at RAF please drop me a line, I'm always willing to chat about faire, especially the new ones!
I can't remember names to save my life, I'd remember your face before I'd
remember your name, so forgive me for only naming some of the people that my
heat addled brain can dredge up...
I was so busy being hot and/or entertained, that I completely forgot to use my
camera for the most part... Hell I brought 9 rolls of film, but only took
something like 10-15 pixs... Next time I'll glue the damn thing to my hand so I
can't forget to use it!!!
So go get something to drink before you start this!!!
Packed up and ready to go
Hit the store and fill the cooler for the trip, know I'm missing something but can't think of what...
Stop back home for a pit stop, scan room for what I'm missing :
D'OH!!! The damn Quarterstaff... Pack it...
I know I'm missing something else... Oh well got to motor...
Got'ta drive behind a bunch of Sunday drivers...
Breeze thru the Border
Get to Fulton in 6 Hours...
D'OH!!! Where's the damn directions for the hotel!!!
Get direction to go just across the street... Thank gwad!!!
Sign in, explore the town
Bump into some AFRians in the lobby, Hi Trong and Herne
Meet up with Jenny, Mairi, Mel and Gregor ( in our nicely A/C'ed room )
Hang out and chit chat with them till... what... Midnight?
Wake up at 6:30am (unearthly hour!)
Meet up for Breakfast with Jenny and Mairi Splinter
bumped into some others...
sorry can't really remember who...
Not awake enough...
Get to Faire for Gate
Damn it's Hot!!!!
Do the otters/wezzows thing in the parking lot...
Miss the opening ceremonies, we're let in before they happen *grrrrr*
Head for the Circle of Hay
MMario, "Oh Gwad!!! Ummm... I have no idea who or where MMario is!!!"
Me, "Sure You Don't" *lol*
Meet and Greet a lot of AFRians and Splinters there
Head back to the Van for 'The Box of Life' and stash it in the hay
Sign in on the Invasion Book... (Great work by the way!!!)
Load up with Cherries and do my favourite Shtick :
"'ello lass, would ya like ta have one of me cherries!?"
( got'ta love the responses, ranged from a lewd look down...
to a hesitant step back... )
"No... no..." *produces tankard filled with chilled cherries*
"Cherries" *shakes tankard*
Roam the Faire, hook up with Maguire, Anvil and 'the yet to be named' griffin
( Hi guys, who knows we might be seeing you soon... )
Later traipse around with the Splinters and others
Get a lot of comments on how MMario's gun'na kick my butt and hear that
MMario's been told he'll be missed after I kill him
Wander around, yet never get to see any shows *shrug*
We're not up to eating, so we skip the Little While
Later hang out with Mel, Gregor, Becky, Frank and MMario at their cabin...
Get treated to some great improv. by part of 'Tarnished Sterling'
To hell with early mornings (a little later waking)
Meet up for Breakfast with Jenny and Mairi Splinter and Joe
See some others there, I think Redneck and...
To hell with front gate, get there around 10:30am
Drop off 'The Box of Life' and stash it in the hay again
Wander around some more...
Pick up my Pyrate Royal CD's from Neighbour Lady... Hi! *wave*
MMario takes the advantage, by taking the right-side log and standing on the
flat side, leaving me the upturned stumpy end
I toss the sandals and give MMario a foot full ( hey he started it! )
MMario looks at his pillow, then at me, shakes his head and hops off the log
we go over and size up each other against the other pillows
whipping the unchoosen ones at Mad Stephen
Finally decide that the red ones are the ones we'll use
MMario cheats and attacks me before "Fyght" is called
We then get told the 'Rules and Reg's' by Mad Stephen
Then MMario says, "I'm not crazy, how about you"
"Nope, I'm not... But Mad Stephen is..."
In unison "Get Him!!!"
Together we beat Mad Stephen into the Ground
Rick tells the crowd that THIS is why 'he stays out of the circle!'
We 'get on' with the Battle, as we've had our fun
I ask to use the left-side log, as it is more even and I can get my balance
we exchange blows... about 6 I think...
MMario knocks me off
1:0 for him
We get back up, exchange even more blows...
Mad Stephen challenged my manhood (& I believe my wielding of the pillow)
He said something like, "Are you having trouble getting it up?"
To which Rose replied, "It's too soft for him!"
Well that just made MMario lose it, he fell off the log and couldn't stop laughing for at least a minute. ( maybe more *lsg* - Rose )
Well on we go... MMario dedicates this last round to Olya
We trade blows until I misstep and fall after getting hit by MMario
2:1 for him
Then we create a battle royal by attacking Rick and Mad Stephen (again)
Hey... Rick came into the circle... It's his fault!!!
It's a free-for-all with MMario and I beating up Rick and Mad Stephen
Hey Trong... Thanks for making sure they couldn't get away!!! *vbtg*
Huzzahs go around for MMario and even one for me
Hope everyone enjoyed "The Battle of the 16th Century" as much as I did!!!
Well back to the rest of the faire day...
go see a great play... the Commedia :
"Let me show you thru the magic of puppetry"
"Listen closely....... back up a bit"
then goto Double Indemnity show... (Hey I bought both your CDs!!!)
hang out at the Circle waiting for the pub sing
walk around handing out cherries and water to cooked people
accidentally spray mead instead of water on a hot lass
start soaking down cloths and drizzling water onto overheated people get out the ice and hand it out, because it's so damn hot!!!
do this for the next few hours
meet some AFRians that I'd missed the whole WE...
goto the Inn and crash for a bit!
Finally get to the Little While and eat with our 'long lost' Splinter family
( "eeping all the way" - Rose )
go out to Lunch with the Splinters
"Can't they get these steak tips right"
*veg* I'll fix it!
Drive home (listening to our new CDs *satisfiedsigh*)
Breeze thru the Border
Get home in 4 hours
Find out that Toronto is suffering it's worst heat wave since 1955!!!
Damnit!!! It's even hotter then Saturday!!!
Well I've only been at it a short time but here goes :
1st Year : ( one weekend only )
That very first time Rose and I walked into OntRF... Home!!!
We looked at each other and just had to get into garb!
Literally dashed into the first shop we saw
Thanks Purple Unicorn for helping out a lost pair of Rennies!!!
Once safely in garb, we felt normal and as if we were finally Home!
Meeting Xan that same day
Drooling over her attention and her garb
Actually figuring out that we aren't out of our depth
Conversing with the Adventurer
Offering him some of my father's ships for his 'New World Venture'
( Hey I'm more than just a Forester... Daddy's a Theign and War Chief! )
Watching his stunned look
Yet being quick enough to back out with good reasoning
Then being rescued by the good Doctor, who noticed from across the way
Before I could offer him something else
2nd Year : ( Whole OntRF Season )
Asking Rose to Marry me on our 7th Anniversary and Totally surprising her with it!!!
The Accomplices : Rosarah, Denise, Grant, Sinnius
Getting her up on stage with the help of Sinnius and the Pub Mistress
Asking her... waiting... waiting... worrying...
Rose : "...Aye..."
YES!!! She Said YES!!! Woohoo!!!
Getting invited by the entire cast to the King's Keg! and then the End Of Season Party and sob fest!
Knowing what a special honour that is!
Thanks Everyone!!! You all Rock!!!
Hey we're their Pet Playtrons and Mead Dealers!!! *gigglesnarf*
Being rejoined with all the friends we'd made and making new ones
Actually being remembered by them... Wow!!!
Hi Cynthia, Mark, Denise, Grant, Kathy!!!
Not quite on topic, but...
Finding AFR and meeting all of you!