Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Maryland Renaissance Festival 2012

On August 25th we went to the Maryland Renaissance Fair with my Mom and Sister. It happened to be opening weekend, but it was the only time we would be able to go before the kids start school. We have been able to go to the Renn Fair every year since Mason was about a year and a half, except last year. We missed last year and it was a total bummer, so Mason was excited to find out we would be going again. Sophie doesn't remember going since she was only a year old the last time we went, but she took her cues from Mason and was jumping up and down the night before. I too, was excited about going back. It's such a family friendly, fun place and I really enjoy dressing up. Only, this year I was also real nervous about going. Having a food allergy to manage makes outings like this a real stressor. You have to plan, plan, plan and then hope for the best.

In the weeks leading up to opening day, I contacted the MDRF staff asking about their food vendors and ingredients, letting them know our situation. They recommended that I bring our own food as they could not 100% guarantee the safety of their foods for those with severe food allergies. That made sense and I was glad to know they allowed outside food in their venue (most places don't and you are just screwed). So I planned accordingly, packing lunch and snacks for both the kids. Mason made it easy when he asked to have his lunched packed too. He really looks after his sister these days, never wanting her to be left out or feel different than the rest of us, and I love that.

I ended up taking the backpack diaper bag; it comes in handy at festivals, parades, and other events, because you can pack a lot of stuff and carry it easily. I made sure to pack a change of clothes; the portable potty seat, as they only have porta potties and no way am I letting my kids butts touch those nasty seats; Benadryl and Epipens; baby wipes for hands and lysol wipes for tables and seats. People may think I am totally paranoid when they see me wiping down chairs, tables, and benches, but when your child runs the risk of having a reaction after touching any surface with traces of peanut and other nut residue, you would be doing the same.

The weather ended up being really nice. After the scorching Summer, it wasn't too hot and only raining towards the end of the day, but not too hard; especially not hard enough to spoil the kids fun. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of childhood and not having to worrying about adult issues. We arrived around 10am and didn't leave until around 4pm; having had a fun filled day. Here are a few of the highlights throughout our day.
The Rouges celtic band. They are awesome and so much fun to hear play.

After The Rouges the kids were hungry, seeing it was 11:30pm and their usual lunchtime. We packed lunchables for the kids and made sure we bought food that was the least likely to be made, or have come into contact with nuts, for ourselves. Pizza seemed the least likely to be contaminated and of course I made sure we all wiped our hands with baby wipes afterward.

After lunch we headed to the clothing stores to take a peak. We have never been able to get Mason to dress up, despite that fact that Grandma, Aunt Jenni, Fred, and I ALL dress up. I thought especially with Fred dressing up that he would concede, but so far, no such luck. Sophie is a different story. She immediately picked out a dress or two that she liked and we tried them on. After finding one in her size and a color she liked, she wouldn't take it off. Then we bought a matching head piece and Sophie was running around the rest of the day saying she was a Princess. I knew we would be able to get my little girl to dress up.
This is Sophie in her garb just after Grandma bought her and Mason a sword and shield set. She, of course, got a bejeweled purple sword and a shield with a Purple Unicorn painted on the front. Mason picked out a black sword and a shield with a phoenix painted on front.
These photos crack me up. How fierce Sophie looks here.
Fred and I in our garb.
Waiting for jousting to start, we took the kids through the maze. Fred and I both thought this was going to be an easy walk through, but still fun for the kids. We quickly learned that it was not going to be that easy to find our way through. Each turn around a corner was met with excitement that this would be the way out followed by laughter when it wasn't. After a while Fred and I began to get really nervous we would never find our way out. Mason suggested that Grandma start yelling so we could follow her voice. Eventually we found the exit; all smiles and laughter, happy to finally be out. It really was fun, especially watching the kids run ahead of us, laughing and smiling, hoping to be the one to find the way out.
Sophie and I then rode an elephant. Being opening day, I totally expected there to be a really long line, but we got to ride immediately as there was no line at all. Woohoo! Sophie loved it and I was glad that she would actually remember it this time.
Mason was really into the jousting.
During the joust was the only time I seriously got nervous and paranoid about Sophia's food allergy. I was sure to steer clear of the Roasted nuts stand, as there seemed to be only one. However, at the event, there were vendors walking around with packages of roasted almonds, cashews, and the such. Sophia tested positive to a severe allergy to cashews along with peanuts and as the vendor made it's rounds I fixated on each of the people sitting around us, praying that none of them bought a bag. We got real lucky.

We shared a treat of strawberry flavored Italian ice stuffed into a hollowed out orange. I remember Sophie devouring the thing, her face stained red the rest of the day.
The kids got knighted and princessed. (If that is even a word.)
Had some fun in the many picture cuts outs.
The adults enjoyed the local brew.

It was then that it started to rain, and I mean really pour. It didn't deter Mason from playing in the pirate themed play area. He loved it, running in the rain. Sophie sat in the stroller, snacking, while we took shelter under the trees and archway.
After the rain stopped we took the kids for pony rides. Mason was old enough to ride on his own this year and absolutely loved that. Because of the rain, there was a small line and the kids got to ride (for free) three times. This was Sophie's favorite part.
Before leaving we got to see Squire on the Wire. This guy was walking this tightrope directly over the crowd, in the rain. It was amazing.

We had a great time and look forward to next year!
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