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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Felagund Family at the Faire

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Felagund Family at the Faire

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Yesterday was the opening day of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Generally, we go with my family once per season to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, but that doesn't open till Memorial weekend. Bobby and I usually go to the PA Faire, and when we heard that this was buy-one-get-one admission weekend and the weather was going to be gorgeous, then we set about to see who we could talk into going.

Bobby's family had obligations already, but mine was game. We took my parents to the Ren Fest for the first time, I think, three years ago. We figured my mom would like it--she's an older version of me: dorky, crafty, imaginative--but didn't think my dad would like it much. We were very wrong. Not only did he have a great time, but he got into his mind that he wanted something special to wear to it. More specifically, a kilt.

Bobby--not surprisingly given his academic interests--has always wanted a kilt as well. So, a few months ago, the two of them put their heads together and ordered a complete get-up. Dad ordered a Stuart tartan (my mom's side of the family are Stuarts), and Bobby ordered a Tara tartan (Bobby identifies most strongly with his Irish heritage, and there is the whole wanting-a-PhD-in-Celtic-military-history thing). There was great excitement in the House of Felagund when the kilts arrived at my parents' house! (I felt a bit bad for the fellow they ordered them from, as there was apparently a misunderstanding where Dad thought he'd be getting the kilt earlier than he did and was eagerly calling to check the status.) Yesterday was the first day that they wore their kilts out in public. (They've been on several times at home.)

Yesterday was "Clash of the Titans" on SWG, so I was up early to get as much of it done as I could before we left. We also had farmer's market, so that took some time as well. Shockingly, my Ren Faire garb is always Elvish. I have two different dresses that I wear--the blue one my mom and I made together--but the ears are a given.

So as soon as morning chores were done (farmer's market, eyedrops for the chickens, breakfast), I put on my gown and my ears and ... went to work on the SWG site until it was time to leave. So, yes, I was 1) working on a website-- 2) a J.R.R. Tolkien website--while 3) dressed like an Elf. Rarely do I feel as dorky as I did then, which is saying something.


Yes, you can also see how messy my desk is.

We met my parents at the Park and Ride and headed north to PA. Well, first, there was a bit of a mishap with my dad's kilt. He couldn't figure out why he had a belt but no belt loops. "You don't have it on inside out, do you?" I asked.

Well, he did. So I had to use my full skirt on one side and kilted Bobby on the other to give my dad a privacy screen so that he could take off his kilt and flip it around. Thankfully, he did not go commando.

Now we're heading north. Here are two handsome kilted men, walking up to the entrance. I thought that Dad's canvas tote was a particularly nice touch to his ensemble.


Bobby and I had a small triumph in that we snaked purchasing my parents' tickets for them. My parents always end up paying for stuff wherever we go. We always try but either get shut down or a very mean look from Dad. So, when the opportunity presents itself to return the favor, we try to. We ordered the tickets online the night before, and they had no clue. Hee.

Now I will wax all sentimental and Elf-like about how things change. Bobby and I did not make it to the PA Faire last year because just about every weekend rained straight through. We had purchased tickets early and everything, so it wasn't even our poverty that kept us away. So much has changed! Most of the acts that we knew are gone or different. Much of the cast has changed. Acts are on different stages now than they were. It was weird.

We had lunch first, then saw the Tribal Circus acrobats who replaced the Barely Balanced acrobats we knew and loved. Tribal Circus was good as well, but it was clearly the first weekend--so many shows were rough around the edges! Having once upon a time performed myself, the first show is always the worst. I used to tell people not to come to the first show. (Bobby went because he went to all of my shows. Awww.)

We browsed some shops and saw a glassblowing demonstration, then went to see the adult-rated Sultry Sirens of Sin. Three of the four Sirens were different from two years ago! This must have been how Galadriel felt as she watched time exert its effects on Lothlorien ...

We ended the day with the Final Joust. Unlike Maryland, PA's jousting is staged, and it is very melodramatic. We always go because it is kind of fun, if hammy. It always involves someone making some great threat against Elizabeth, her being hustled off the stage, then a massive down-in-the-dust battle in which someone inevitably falls through the breakaway railing on the castle and there is a burst of fire seemingly from nowhere. They added cannons this year and some pyrotechnics, which was surprising. Probably how Celeborn felt upon finding invasive weeds from Rivendell amid the niphredil.

Here are Bobby and Dad after the joust:


People really liked Dad's T-shirt, which came free with the kilt. They kept stopping him to read it, and one guy even took a picture of Dad in it. It's kind of weird to think that my dad ended up in some stranger's photo album, perhaps being posted on LiveJournal as we speak ...

And me and Bobby after the joust:


No, I was not wrestling with Gollum on the verge of Orodruin. I'm not sure what happened to my finger.

Ren Faire days are always over too quickly. Mom got a milkshake on the way out (ice keem), and we stopped in the wine shop, then it was time to head back south and stop for supper in Cracker Barrel. Two men in kilts and an Elf and a normal-looking-but-not woman got some odd looks from some of the other patrons, but having been out to eat many times after Ren Faires and SCA events, it's become par for the course by now. The staff, working in a restaurant on the interstate, didn't even blink. I'm sure they see much weirder than us on a pretty much daily basis.
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    • Lol! Oh, Kenobles ...

      (Yes, I did just nickname your dog I've never met! :D)

      My mom and I had to remind the men at times about proper sitting posture while wearing a kilt. And they both got a taste of the challenges women face when wearing skirts and dresses! :D
  • Meant to say this on your SWG post, but - you make an awesome Elf, Dawn! And it's pretty awesome that it was a family outing to the Ren Faire for you. And I feel you on things changing, it's always disconcerting to encounter...
    • The Ren Faire always changes a little but in tiny increments so every year is a mix of the classic and the new. But this was like an overhaul of everything we knew ... disconcerting indeed!

      Meant to say this on your SWG post, but - you make an awesome Elf, Dawn!

      Lol--thanks! :D I'm going to get delusions of an actual Elvish heritage at this rate!
  • Yes, you can also see how messy my desk is.

    I feel a lot better now, every day I shut the lap top with a clean desk (my desk upstairs is crowded with mending stuff again, and I didn't put it there!), but with the girl wanting to share, toys 'n stuff pile up. :D You also have quite a wonderful tan!

    They kept stopping him to read it, and one guy even took a picture of Dad in it.

    Hehehe, what is on the back, I can make out Bag Pipes, The earth, My Celtic something, the monster of Lochness (LMAO!), Socks & Boots, McNuggets (*mad giggle*) and then Freedom!?
    • You also have quite a wonderful tan!

      You are the first person to ever tell me that--thanks! :D I'm normally depressingly pale. Bobby and I returned from ten days in Florida once, and I was very proud of my tan ... but two days later, people were saying to me, "Weren't you in Florida? How didn't you get a tan??" I guess all those hours in the garden and at the nature center have done something. :)

      Hehehe, what is on the back

      I think it's

      The Earth
      My Celtic Pride
      The Lochness Monster
      Socks & Boots
  • Nawwwww....you make an adorable Elf. Arwen should watch out!

    You know, OK has some big Renn faires, but we've lived here over three years now and have yet to make a single one?
    • Oh noes! We've been pretty ridiculous with them in the past. One year, we went almost every weekend! :D
  • Great photos! Your folks rock. And I love the sporrans!*

    *My mother made a woman's kilt for me out of her family clan (Hay) tartan that she bought in Scotland in 1980 or thereabouts. Unfortunately, I am too fat to wear it now!
    • Your folks rock.

      They do! :D We are probably a minority among young adults because we like hanging out with our parents. We know people our own age much more uptight! We always have a good time.

      Unfortunately, I am too fat to wear it now!

      Ai, the pain of change indeed ... ;)
  • I love your blue dress! It's pretty similar to the one that I imagined for Celebrían's wedding dress in Not By Blood Alone, except that yours is sleeveless. But it's basically the same cut and shade of blue.

    How much material do the guys have in their kilts? They look flatter in back than I'm used to seeing.
    • Thank you! The original design did call for sleeves in a very light, filmy material, but we left them off since it was intended as a Ren Faire costume. Since it's not unusual to get 90+ degree days into late September, something sleeveless seemed like it would be much more comfortable. Also, that light fabric would have lasted about all of two hours on a crowded day brushing against chainmail and spiked armor!

      How much material do the guys have in their kilts?

      I have no idea. I was present for the measuring for and ordering of the kilts but don't know much of the nitty-gritty details. I just checked the website too, but there isn't information on the amount of material used. They're casual kilts, so I'm sure it's not near what is used on the formal varieties!
  • Probably how Celeborn felt upon finding invasive weeds from Rivendell amid the niphredil.

    Best. Thing. Ever.

    And the Ren Fest sounds like it was fun, though i can't imagine ever going to see something "adult" rated with my parents. Unless they didn't go with you to that bit. Ahahahaha.;;;
    • My family is weird. People used to be horrified: "You talk that way in front of your daughters??" and my parents would say, "It's no worse than what they hear in school!" We shared a room with them in Ocean City not long ago, and they told us, "If you guys are going to have sex over there, that's fine; just try to keep in down."

      And the adult content is mild. The Sirens are very suggestive but nothing more than that. As they say at the start of the show, "If your kids know what we're saying, that's not our fault!"
  • It looks like you had a great time. And thank you for sharing the pics too. :)
  • You make a lovely elf, and them's some snazzy kilts!

    I have my great-grandmother's (Ross), but unfortunately haven't been thin enough to fit in it since I was in about 9th grade. But man, your post is making me wish I still could. XD
    • Your icon is awesome! Yet again! :D

      Thank you! I'm sure if the men knew how much admiration their kilts were getting, they'd be happy indeed. (Actually, as soon as my husband found out I'd written this post, he ran off to read it. Hmmm ... ;)
  • Bobby looks great in a kilt. I know, I'm really awful, always admiring your husband. You make a pretty elf princess also.
    • Lol--I hope you know I don't care! He's a handsome guy! I don't care if other people notice it. ;) Now if you were commenting on here all the time, "Ewww ... that ugly man you married again!" then those might be fightin' words. ;)
  • I do love men in kilts. And you look fabulous too. Although hailing from Pennsylvania, I've never been to the Ren Faire and out here where I live, I've only been once. Thanks for sharing your day.
    And the SWG themes are great. I've really been enjoying them.
    • Thank you--I'm glad the themes are going well! :D Though I can't take credit aside from putting them together. (Well, I can take credit for "Who?" ... that one was mine!) I think people had some awesome ideas and have been sending in brilliant work for them! :)

      What is it about men in kilts? Here, for so long, guys have been trying to impress us by being uber-masculine when what it really took was putting on a plaid skirt. ;)
  • I love kilts! My daughters spent a few years of their elementary education wearing a Royal Suart kilt (the owner of the school was of Scottish descent), then the school closed down and the new uniform was much more boring.
    Your desk is nothing compared with the geological ages depth of papers on mine. Then I complain that I can't find things!
    • My daughters spent a few years of their elementary education wearing a Royal Suart kilt

      Oh! That's so cool! Plaids are common for school uniforms here (luckily, I never went to a school that required a uniform), but I doubt any are cool enough to rock the Stuart tartan! :D

      Then I complain that I can't find things!

      Now when I clean my desk, I lose stuff! :D
  • Please tell me they still have the mud wrestling! The PA Ren Faire just wouldn't be complete without that.

    (I can't quite believe it's been over a decade since I last attended it. Where did the time go?)
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