An ode to an experience I’ve been enjoying for decades.
Pretzel Dog Sadness
I miss the pretzel dog lady.
Year after year, she stood in a long, low booth at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, selling non-alcoholic daiquiris and Cornish Dogs (all beef in a bagel!) with rollicking abandon, shouting orders of “Dog!” to the kitchen behind her and dispensing broad cheer with your change.
Then in the last few years, the booth added pretzel dogs, a spicy hot dog slathered in butter and baked in a delicious, warm pretzel roll. This produced instant love and appreciation, and the booth sold out early the first year.
Non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri, pretzel dog, teriyaki beef jerky, and whatever ale Mr. HouseofBeck chose.
Even though I’ve re-rededicated myself not to eat meat if I don’t know where it came from, this year’s pretzel dog had come before such a declaration. I have no regrets. I can still taste the unexpected spiciness of the hot dog, the crisped chewiness of the pretzel roll.
Yet there was a new lady in the booth, and the old one was nowhere to be seen. There was nothing at all wrong with the new lady; she was full of good service. It was just that I’d grown accustomed to my pretzel dog lady, and how her personality had encompassed not only this particular experience but spread out to flavor the Faire as well. Long-time Faire patrons like seeing and visiting familiar faces, even as we’re well aware those faces can move on, given the transitory nature of Faires in general.
I’d never even known her name.
Henna, or the Case of the Disembodied Hand
I love henna. For someone who is never going to commit to a real tattoo, it’s perfect for a safe, temporary decoration alive with swirls and sworls, flowers and flourishes. It’s a beautiful technique, and when you find a talented artist, you remember them. I found mine at Bristol, and thank goodness they keep coming back. Take a look at the artistry:
Henna before it has completely dried–be careful not to smudge!
Henna after it’s dried and flaked off to reveal the true tone beneath.
A full eight days later. Tip: Spread Vaseline on it when there’s a risk of getting it wet, like in the shower.
If you’re going, head down toward the Tiltyard, and look for the Mehendi Henna from the Past tent at 445 Shakespeare’s Meadow, West, run by Phil Nearing.
Bristol Renaissance Faire, Itself
Vanished pretzel dog ladies aside, if you’re near the Kenosha, WI area and fancy a different kind of festival than the kind held on miles of concrete, you may enjoy a step back in time to the forested, sun-dappled mayhem that the Bristol Renaissance Faire gives.
Pirates, wenches, sword-fights, falconry, jesters, jugglers, insulters, Moonie (the extraordinarily talented Philip Earl), fripperies, necessities, music, food, the Royal Court…what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your own colorful memories, eat tasty treats, and indulge in beautiful summer days under an oak forest or lazing by a lagoon.
A shot of the Faire
What are your Faire memories? Share them below!