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2011 Four Winds Renaissance Faire - Thoughts/Suggestions/Comments

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MrHyde:
I have visited most of the Faires/Festivals in Texas multiple times but this was my first time visiting the Four Winds Renaissance Faire with my family.  My reactions/suggestions in pretty much the order they happened were:

1. I was not aware when I arrived that the Faire does not take credit cards nor has an ATM available so my family missed the opening having to go back to Troup, Texas to get money from an ATM.  I was fine with that but my thoughts are that toward the end of the day we were running low on money again which did affect what some of the vendors could of made that day both vending for the Faire and vendors that lease space in the Faire.

2. I can understand a smaller Faire not having a program available for purchase.  I am sure the cost of a program would not be justified in their situation.  I would of loved though a xerox'd copy of the daily schedule of shows though.  I inquired and they did not have them available.  This could really be an issue for the entertainers with the layout of the Faire being that most of the entertainment is on one side of the property and the vendors on the other.

3. All of the vendors were wonderful with the exception of one.  I thought the prices were excellent and the people were friendly.  They successfully got over $600.00 of my money Saturday throughout the vending.  I always watch how a vendor handles the people and that as well as the quality of the merchandise affects how much I spend with that vendor.  I have 5 kids who all have mental issues ranging from autism to ADHD to bipolar disorder so they are different than your average everyday child and some of the vendors were excellent.  I would like to commend Celtic Armoury, Fairies and Friends, Leather Man, Peasant's Rest, just to name a few.  There was also a pottery store, a wood store with staffs and wooden flasks, and an amazing trinket store that was in a tent with bamboo steampunk goggles.  This fine woman should be named 2011 Vendor of the Faire.  She was incredible.  One vendor could not handle my children being in her store, yet she had beautiful merchandise and would of been able to make a huge sale.  She sneaked around her booth watching my family like we were going to rob her.  Then she found a broken set of horns in her booth and chased my wife down in another shop to make a scene about it.  All of our children stated they never touched her horns and I am a huge person on not lying so I know they did not touch the horns but we agreed to pay for her merchandise and then in front of other patrons and another shop owner she proceeded to tell my wife to watch her children better.  I think the largest tragedy of this person is that her shop is the very first shop when you enter the gates and her attitude and actions left a very poor taste in my mouth even up to 3 days later.  If I was Faire management I would consider this when looking at renewal contracts for Ye Merry Olde Hangman and especially when considering placement of the booths.  Many vendors in the back were much nicer to your Faire patrons.

4. The entertainers we were able to catch were really good.  We were able to see Dream Harem Bellydancers, the Four Winds Cast, Iron Hill Vagabonds, Knights of Four Winds Joust Team (AMAZING), Leghorn the Piper, Trey Cromwell, Triskelion, and a few others and all were top notch shows. 

5. The food was really good and extremely good for the cost.  Cost was kept reasonable for reasonable food. 

I can see that if someone was able to frequent the Four Winds Renaissance Festival the experience of family would keep them coming back again and again.  Small things like people teaching my children to throw rats at targets, seeing someone that taught them pottery at Sherwood Forest Faire, having a gypsy make my wife her first Scotch Egg made this Faire extremely enjoyable for my family.  In the end it was worth the 9 hours my family spent in our vehicle round trip to see the Faire and we would be likely to put it on the calendar again next year.

Lady Kett:
Thanks for the great write up MrHyde! We've considered going to Four Winds for a few years but haven't made it quite yet. Hopefully 2012 will get us there. I've heard amazing things about their Joust Troupe and it's nice to have it confirmed!

Craigmeister:
Four Winds Fair is my favorite faire in Texas!  I admire their family-oriented approach.  Everyone there makes you feel quite welcome (well, almost everyone apparently).

Leghorn the Bagpiper is a great guy!  If you get the chance to talk to him, take the time.  He can tell you lots of great stuff about the inner workings of Renfaires, bagpipes, Scotland (he's been there) & a myriad of other things.  I have a mundane friend who doesn't like very many people at all.  He met Leghorn one afternoon last year & even he likes him.

MrHyde:
Lady Kett and Craigmeister.... I agree that Four Winds is an awesome faire.  It is small if you come from having Texas Renaissance Festival as your home faire but I did like that as well.  I will tell you that this faire is THE place to go for Renaissance shopping.  The prices there were wonderful.  There was one lovely woman in a tent near Celtic Armory that had all kinds of items that was AMAZING!  She had made bamboo Steampunk goggles and was selling them for only 10.00 a pair.  You can't find that anywhere at the bigger faire's.

Merlin the Elder:
We very seriously considered diverting and stopping there and spending the day on the way to the Scarby preview event this year. Will have to actually do it next time.

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