Going to try a new color type today as I sip my coffee...it is an overcast, slightly humid day here in Southern Florida. I'm having one of those days where you feel logy and nappish-but I have things to type so no napping now!
We are going into the first weekend of the Florida Renaissance Festival-the biggest of the three ren faires Jay and I perform at here in Florida-and it is also the longest at 5 weekends! Wheee!!! However, our tour really began back in January...cue flashback music
January 8th...8:30am. It was reasonably warm at Lindemar as Jay and I hauled the boxes, bags and pillows down into the loading area...our breakfast invite was for 9am next door-my wonderful sibs and family planned a big breakfast together before we hit the road...the girls went over for 9, I think I got there at 9:15ish...it was a grand send-off and it was hard not to overeat...one more waffle would have made me too sleepy to drive!
Everything we needed for this year's tour fit into the van quite well...Jay is a master packer and we had the cooler strategically placed for easy access...our first stop was at our friends Davyn & Vesta's house in Hazleton, PA. The drive was idyllic...and we breezed our way through New York without a hitch (perhaps because we left the camper behind? Ha ha!)
It was grand to hang out with Davyn & Vesta...the time passed too quickly! We were fortunate to also have 2 gigs at the nursing facilities nearby that Davyn set up for us-yay!!! Davyn also had the recording mics set up for one of our jam sessions while we were there and I am curious to know how they came out! It all sounded great from where I was sitting! Too soon, we had to pack up and hit the NOT snowy trail again (we really have been fortunate this season to not be driving thru snowstorms!)
Our next stop-Virginia-to stay with a new friend-and Cello teacher~!~! Brittany had students when we pulled in but after dinner gave Jay a cello lesson-he was soooo appreciative that she was able to do that...he talked about the pointers she gave him for quite some time on the road the next day.
We made it from VA to Northern Florida the next day-we had PLANNED on staying the night in Georgia, but I was distracted when Jay said "take this exit...exit 3...THIS exit...UH ABBY???" Sigh
Needless to say I passed it by and we ended up at a Florida hotel. Oh well.
The following day we made it to Ft. Meyers, checked in and then zipped over to Max & Dre's lovely house for a wonderful stay...they are excellent hosts and also hosted our friends Harry & Merlyn of Merry Mischief...there was a wee bit of drinking and jamming over the weekend and beyond! : )
Highlights of Ft. Meyers-and there were many-included the excellent pub singing with Merry Mischief and having Lady Phoenix sing along with us...and Rob's Mead!!!
We said our goodbyes with a sigh...we are looking forward to seeing Max & Dre at Flarf this weekend-and will be doing the Silver Kingdom Ren Faire with Merry Mischief this spring. Huzzah!
Our next faire was in Gainesville...for the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire...we borrowed some camping gear from Star & Mikal and headed up the turnpike. Just as I was saying that I missed stopping by the Russell Stover Chocolate outlet (a tradition!) there was a billboard saying it was the next exit!
$24 later we had quite a collection of great chocolate to ship up North to the family. I am sure it is all gone now!
Tenting went fine...the first Sunday night was the coldest-weather got down to the 30's...we were pretty bundled up and I was a bit stiff and sore in the morning from sleeping in one position all night.
We planned a fun day with Howie & Anita on Tuesday-past years we had gone to St. Augustine but we all wanted to explore something new this year so off to Micanopy we went!
Micanopy's claim to fame-the movie Doc Hollywood was taped there...there were many antique shops there and Jay and I had fun trying to find instruments...there was a Russian Ballilika that looked waaaay too fragile to play but the only Harp we found was only on a coffee cup.
I bought a couple of books and Jay bought a new teardrop shaped Mountain Dulcimer. : )
He has played it a couple of times with a bow and it has a unique haunting quality...
Thursday night we played at Satchel's Pizza and Lightnin' Salvage. What a fun pizza joint! The decor is fabulous-all recycled bits of EVERYTHING! Bottle cap mosaics, chandeliers made with odd keys, you name it! The pizza is excellent-best in the area-and the beer is cold and inexpensive with great brands to choose from. Many of our faire friends came out and made it a really great gig!
The student day at the faire started off slow for me...it was very loud in the beginning as the thousands of kids came in...but all day long the kids were pretty well-behaved and asked us pretty intelligent questions about our instruments and such. Jay had a fun little interaction with one student-I will let him tell that story-just ask him and he will be glad to!
My favorite interaction was with some delightful little princesses in the ladies room line...they were bored and fidgity until one asked me "what's that" (pointing to the divergent flute on my belt)...and I played her favorite tunes for her until the line moved in! I can now play "Old MacDonald had a Farm" on divergent flute. Whoohoo!!!
Sunday-the last day of Hoggetowne-we packed up the tent and all our various and sundry belongings before coffee in order to miss the rain that threatened to come down later. It did-during the last parade! Giacamo, Jen, Jim and I were playing 'the Rakes of Mallow' faster and faster as the first drops hit...and I ducked into the S.C.A. tent as the skies opened up! Phew! The rain did not last long and thankfully the patrons stayed. : )
Rebecca and Brad offered to house us Sunday night at their new home-and we gratefully drove over with some beer and a fresh bottle of Christian Bros. Honey liquor (my new favorite!)...those went down really well with fajitas! We enjoyed our all-too-brief stay there and are really looking forward to spending more time with them next year...oh dear, that means no tenting...YAHOO!!!
Not that I mind camping...or staying in a tent...it was just the 1/4 mile walk to the bathroom that was challenging...since after all, I'm a girl...
Jay just called and our first rehearsal for our Early Morning music with the musicians will be Friday!
Yay! It was an excellent time last year to start off the day with a Renaissance music jam-and I am really looking forward to it this year! I have some new tunes for us to try and am also hoping to perhaps sing a couple of Cantiguas with Misti B.
I think that pretty much catches up our adventures to date...I will post again next week after the faire!
This blog has been brought to you today by Alan Anapoo-a musician that apparently all musicians should know-according to the strange gentleman who accosted Mikal today at the Thrift store!!!!