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Monday, March 13, 2006


This weekend I'd planned to go to the Calaveras Celtic Festival with the Merrie Pryanksters. As the week wore on, it became increasingly clear that the weather was aiming towards some unpleasantness. But I was determined, and had a warm place to sleep regardless of what the weather was doing outside. So I tried on my faire costume, packed up my things, and headed to Calaveras. I met up with Rick in Stockton. (He was returning from Sacramento.) We dropped a car at the Stockton Inn (where thankfully they were very generous and let me park even though they were no longer an official Park & Ride location) and headed the final 52 miles to Angels Camp. By the time we were crossing the high point in the roadway, the rain had turned to snow. Rick found this surprisingly stressful to drive through as the lines made by the falling snow were at an odd angle to the lines on the road, and being an unfamiliar place, it took more than a little concentration to stay on the road. Luckily we had cars ahead of us making their way as well, and as long as we could see their taillights, we knew they were doing okay ahead of us.

We arrived, and boy was I giddy. Snow! I think it's been 3 years of no snow for me, so this was a treat. I just wish I had a disk to go sledding on. Erik and Marissa had arranged a condo at the Trendwest resort. It was pretty nifty, with a nice Murphy bed in the living room that became ours for the next couple days. I dove immediately into playing Fury of Dracula. It's a bit like Scotland Yard that I used to play with my dad as a kid. We called the game at 1am for the sake of sleep. At 7:15 the power went out and the smoke detector battery backup was failing so it was chirping every ten minutes. This woke me up. Then Jennifer called and the whole household was up. What I hadn't noticed for those few minutes was the winter wonderland that had emerged outside. Six to eight inches of fluffy white snow was covering everything outside the window and it was still falling. I commenced jumping around like an 8 year old.

So I had to be to faire site to check in by 10. I rode in with Steve and Erik and Jennifer. The snowing had mostly stopped by then, but everything was covered. The only way to find where to park in the parking lot was to line up on another car. We trudged down to the check in where I was very happy to bump in to Laura.

Funny story - at the girly clothing swap, I gave away my old faire cloak thinking I never much used it when I did faire regularly, and I certainly wouldn't be going to faire if it was cold and miserable. In the Karma Fairy's relentless cause to show me that I don't know jack, here I was standing in six inches of fresh snow getting my cloak back from Laura before she put it in the loaner box.

After check in I headed up to the Pryankster's area where we proceded to start unburying one of the pavillions that had gone up the night before. With a broom and a bowl and an iron skillet and finally a sledge hammer we managed to right the tent. I took a moment out to call my dad and say, "Yes, the faire is happening, and it will likely be interesting as our shows have moved indoors for the most part, but make sure you have chains." While trying to leave this simple voicemail, I started getting pelted with snowballs. Ah yes, snow cannot stay mere snow for long. It must be pounded into balls to rocket through the air to explode gloriously on the back of my head. The inevitable snowball fight ensued, made slightly gentler than average by the certain knowledge that we needed to stay in these clothes for at least another four hours.

So faire opened at 11, and surprise! There were actual guests showing up. We danced. A small but intent audience applauded. Go figure.

By 1:00 the sun was shining bright in the blue sky and the snow was starting to melt a bit. I got to see an interesting band I'd not heard before called Stand Easy. After the 3:30 Pryanksters show, I headed inside to see the Tempest show. Others kept trickling in and by the final number we had a polka set running. It was great. I danced myself senseless. So we packed it in and headed back to the condo.

Truly, Marissa is a wonder. She had planned a feast for some of the Pryanksters after faire. With the other cabin snowed in (20 miles away and another 2500 feet up), she was feeding pretty much everybody. There was veggie lasagna and lemon tarragon chicken and chicken pot pie and curry carrot soup and spinich potato salad and baked zucchini and well heck, the food just kept coming. Eventually, everyone was fed. And everyone meant 30 people crammed into the living room. It was too crowded to really play games, so mostly it was just chatting and telling stories. It was really nice.

The next morning I woke up just before 8 and peeked out the windows. The snow channel was on again so I opened the blinds and lay in bed watching it fall and accumulate. It was sticking less this morning, so only a couple of inches on the ground. But again, it was still falling.

We fixed breakfast of many leftovers - eggs, bacon, biscuits, potatoes, and spaghetti. Then we headed back to faire site and did a couple more dance shows and I found the most wonderful heater vent in the back building. This led to seeing the Black Brothers perform for a while. Finally headed back to camp for some root soup - garlic, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes, etc. This was great with some crusty bread soaking it up. After lunch I headed down for another Tempest show and finally made it out of the faire to meet up with Rick. He'd spent the morning off-site checking email and wandering around. He went to an old local cemetary where one of the biggest monuments was to the Snow family. He showed me the photo he took of the Snow headstone covered in snow. I laughed a lot.

I made it home just before 7 to start my week. This week is going to be a big adventure. The electricians arrived this morning and started tearing up the place. Meanwhile, my dad had arrived last night and had dumped half a lumber yard on our deck. He's planning to install floor joists and a plywood floor in our attic while the electricians work. So I made dinner and we watched the season finale of Battlestar Galactica.

I'm surely planning to go back to Calaveras Celtic Festival again. It was really great having a combination of Ren Faire and Scottish Games and Celtic Music festival all in one place. And they had really good corn dogs too. And you know what? It's wacky but I've missed English Country Dance at faire. I think I'm going to hang out with the Pryanksters more often.


  • Sounds like it was tons of fun. I was thinking about going at the last moment, but the weather reports and probable lack of sleep made me think otherwise. Ironically, on Saturday, I got my coupon from Avis for a free 1 day car rental.

    By Blogger Chris S, at 6:42 PM  

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