Hovering on the borders of Wisconsin and Illinois, Bristol has been home to an annual tradition that dates back more than 30 years and, for just a few brief weekends during the summer months, people flock to this extravaganza by the thousands.
It used to be called King Richard’s Faire, then the name changed to The Bristol Renaissance Faire, but whatever name it goes by, it all adds up to an expensive day out. As with most amusement parks and fun fairs, there are parking and entrance fees, but it doesn’t end there. Once inside, you are confronted by hundreds of opportunities to part with more money; face painting, kiddie rides, exorbitant prices for food and drink, not to mention those quaint little stalls that sell everything from jerkins to gherkins. So be prepared!
Don’t get me wrong. Despite complaining about the expense, I still love visiting the Faire. The opportunities for photography are excellent and the entertainment value is well worth the price of admission. Sword fights, bawdy comedy, juggling, jiggling and jousting are all part of fun at the Faire.
And it isn’t only us who keep coming back. Many of the performers and artisans are the same people we encountered years before, as I discovered when I compared a picture of our daughter, who was then in junior high, having her arm decorated, with a similar shot taken last weekend featuring her daughter having her face painted. I’ll swear it’s the same guy doing the artwork, and a very nice job he makes of it too.
Then there’s Broon. I always wonder if he’ll still be around when we return after several years’ absence, and there he is, that popular performer, doing his thing with the bowling ball, fire brand and apple. Huzzah!!
They’re all there, all the old faces, everyone from Moonie to the Mud Show with lots of new acts in between. Most of them are hilarious and some are just plain creepy, like Gabriel Q, a puppeteer who, amongst other characters, appears as a most bizarre baby.
Trading insults with the knave in the stocks, or cheering the villain in the joust, it’s all good fun; stepping out of reality for just a few hours, into the make-believe world of the Faire. Just bring plenty of cash. Gadzooks!!!