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Trip Report for Pirate Invasion Weekend


Nor Cal 08 Trip Report

Short version: Went, saw, ate, drank, walked, talked, shopped, slept, and repeated on 2nd day.

We decided to go on the second weekend (Sep 13th and 14th) for the Pirate Invasion.  We have recently met some new friends that like all things “ren” as much as we do, so we starting planning this weekend during the summer.  Things started with the arrival of the wife’s cousin from Colorado (we took her to her first faire last year and she decided to fly out to hang out with us on a faire weekend) on Friday afternoon.   We left directly from work and headed to Gilroy stopping in Morgan Hill to eat dinner at the El Toro Brewing Company (http://www.eltorobrewing.com).   A very large list of brews (bigger than most craft breweries).  I had the taster set (2 flights of 4 beers) and chicken nachos.  We made it to the Comfort Inn about 8:00 PM and got settled in and opened a bottle of wine.  One of the other couples (Clueless and Lady Libertine) were already there and the last to arrive were 9 Fingers his wife.  This makes 7 in our raiding party (party will be a recurrent theme in this is report).  We “prepared” for the raid until almost midnight (that is when the wine ran out).

Obviously everybody was excited because most of the party was in their garb by 8:30 AM. We left about 9:15 for the 15 mile drive to the site.  Being that we had 5 in the truck we opted for the close in parking and paid the $10 for the privilege.  While trading in our 2-day tickets ($35 from the website, single day is $25) for 2 paper tickets (one for each day) we watched the opening ceremony and the heard the opening guns go off.  The main gate is much smaller this year, we later heard that the county made them take down all 2 story structures because the faire is defined a temporary facility and therefore can’t have 2 story structures (go figure!?), so the big pirate ship in the food court is also gone. 

Now, every other time at faire we ALWAYS start by turning right after entering through the front gate and heading down the lane towards the Jousting, but this year, NOOOOO, we head left because the wenches have urgent business at “Hearts Delight” , “Tickle Thy Fancy”, and “Pendragon”.  Alas the trials we must face, but what do we find that is between the main gate and the wenches destination is the Rusty Cutlass Ale stand.  Being that it is 10:00 in the morning, only a Guinness will do (it’s what for breakfast), ale is $7 this year but the selection is good (Guinness, Harp, Bass, Newcastle, and Stella Artois) as well as Rabbits Foot mead (sweet and raspberry).  Water is $4 for a liter bottle (a little too large of a bottle for me because it gets warm and is a pain to hang on to).    Rabbits Foot Meadery has their own stand this year with several more varieties of mead.  The men got to hang out the ale stand for the next hour while our Colorado visitor got fully decked out in a new wench outfit.  What she had on was OK just not very wenchy (is that a word?) 

Anyway, we finally got headed the CORRECT direction (you know that there are certain things that a pirate should be able to depend on).     Up the hill towards the Queen Court and the Joust we go.  “Avast, ale stand dead head” so we pull up to “The Lance and the Shield” for another ale (who would have guessed).  We has a nice chat and flirt with a most lovely and sassy wench named Maxi McLicker or McLiquor (not sure but either one works for me) who extolled the virtues of joining “Friends of Faire”.

I was a member last year, but we might not make it back this year, so we passed on the invitation.  I picked up a fun little item at a winery in Angels Camp a few weeks ago (another good pirate party story for another time), it is a small rubber chicken keychain, yes I know, it ain’t period or even close, but it is fun.   I hung it near my ear and I got more comments about it than any other thing (most of the comments only appropriate for John’s Inn) and had a LOT of fun with it.  I need to work on my comebacks and banter as several times I was slow.

<soapbox mode = on>
I got turned on to a new technology from Microsoft called Photosynth which is a totally awesome way to post and view panoramic/3D photo sets.  I am a total geek and not a lot of things impress me in the gadget and internet world very often, but this technology is amazing.   So I REALLY think that folks need to go to the site and download the software at http://photosynth.net/default.aspx (the installer is a little quirky, you DO NOT need an account to view, just to create your own).  The site hosts the pic sets for free (20 GB limit per account). 
<soapbox mode = off>

A Synth of the Queens Court area:


Next was the dreaded saunter down jewelry row and amazingly, not a single wound to thy pocketbook.  We catch a good portion of the MooNIE show as several people in our party had not seen MooNIE or BRooN perform.  We did come back and catch the 5:00 PM show for “adults”.  After the end of the show we made a slow progression forward to the next ale stand.  A good stop at the harp vendor for my wife where she sat and played for a few minutes (this stop last year caused the appearance of new harp at home for Christmas).  I looked for Valknut at the fencing booth, but never saw him. Down to the Amethyst Arbor stage for some of the “Dirty Laundry” show (and privy stop).    Here is a Synth I took there:


Everybody was hungry at this point (how did it get to be 1:30 already), so we quickly went directly to the food court for the obligatory turkey leg (medium is $8, large is $9) and another ale (of course).   We got a steamed artichoke as well for $7; it was excellent, but sort of small.  Saw the BBQ oysters, but they were 3 for $7, so we passed this time.

We bumped into the last of the folks at the turkey leg vendor that were suppose to join us this day (taking the party to a total of 9)

From here, we started our 2nd lap around the faire (this faire is basically one single giant winding lane).

I did stop inside the main gate and did another Synth of the washing well:


The rest of the day was filled with watching people, wenching, flirting, strolling from hay bale to hay bale (bad back so by the end of the day I need a lot of time sitting rather than on my feet), and the sipping of ale (duh).  The weather was perfect, it got into the low 80s with a slight breeze and it felt a little warm in the sun, but not bad at all.  I was looking for a rum tot and found something that fits the bill on jewelry row.  I had two shopping objectives, a rum tot and a baldric, but I did not find a baldric so that was acceptable.  As we left, we heard the closing shooting of the guns so I would say that we made the best of the day. 

Being that somebody drank all the bloody wine last night we required a stop at BevMo to restock the rations.  The gang went to Chevys for a late dinner then back to the room to dispense with the wine we bought.  Another late night that included and attempt to reopen an ear piercing and the use of an electric razor to re-shape Clueless’s beard as it was determined to be in an unacceptable state.  Lots of laughter and giggles.  Sunday morning was a little rough, but a pirate must endure and I did indeed rise from the dead (just barely) go back to faire with the rest of everybody.

Sunday morning I made the last Synth.  I made of the entrance to the food court but did not stitch together very well, so check the different groups within the Synth:


I was told to mark the calendar because I passed the 3 ale stands in row without filling my mug.  I finally caved to pirate pressure (being the only one in the party drinking just water up to that point) around noon and had a Guinness.   Three of the wenches went to the 11 AM Joust while the rest of just watched people at the ale stand.  Lunch was a toad in a hole for me (very good and I grabbed another one later). 

I met another lovely lady and had a nice chat, but me being so brilliant, didn’t even manage to get her name, just that she is from Scotts Valley.  (If she ever reads this she should let me know).  Anyway she had this silver sort of eye liner that really made her gaze alluring.  The rest of the raiding party just waited patiently while I spoke with her.   

I think it is my favorite thing about faire is meeting new and interesting people.

The final strike on Sunday for my wife was a new hat.

The raiding party as we were dressed on Sunday.

We left about 3:45 on Sunday and made the 2 hour trip home.  Overall, one heck of a weekend.  Both days were well attended, we heard that was much better attendance than the first weekend.

A few of the more fun images I took.

  Hey that photosynth viewer is AWESOME!  And now that I know what you look like, I'm pretty certain that I did in fact see you at the Moonie and Broon show and am sorry that I didn't give you a nudge and say hello!   :)  Ah well, maybe the next time if I should run into you again I shall.  Anyway thanks for the report, it looks as though you had as much of a good time as we did, perhaps some day we can meet up and enjoy the faire together!


Next time nudge! We are planning to attend the Folsom faire on Saturday Oct 18th, are you?

NorthBayDreamer, thanks for the trip report. I've added a link to it in a comment on this week's NorCal post on FaireNews.

I am glad that you enjoyed it.  The honour is mine to be granted a link by you.



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