26 May 2008
Closing Day of Scarborough Renaissance Festival 2008
Despite the sticky, nasty humidity, we survived the final day of faire, and thus the 2008 Scarborough season comes to a close. East Wind Games ended up with a darned good Monday, making for a very good weekend. Pendragon on the other hand . . . not so much. It was a good solid weekend, but not the type of weekend we hope for from a final, three-day! Oh well, the good news is none of us got sick from the heat the way so many other folks did!
There were many highlights in the day . . . hugs and kisses and farewells. One high point in the day was the beautiful Memorial Day Parade. Now, all renfaires have a daily parade. At the very least, it’s a display of pretty costumes and a way to move Nobles across the fairesite. At most major festivals, it’s also a spectacle of banners and samples of wares—colourful and entertaining. But, at Scarborough, on Memorial Day Monday, it’s even more. It’s an amazing pageant of American pride. Yep. American. Not very Renaissance-period correct, but who the heck cares?! No one. Not on this one day, anyway!
The parade is led by a giant American flag, and a flag corps of vets who have been chosen to carry the flags representing their respective branches of the armed services. What follows is a heartwarming and sometimes heartwrenching march of literally hundreds of people wearing yellow ribbon sashes. People are offered these yellow ribbons as they come into the faire on this day—all veterans are invited to wear them, and to march in the parade! All veterans. And lately, I’ve noticed a trend toward there being representatives of fallen service-folk marching as well. One beautiful woman I know marched on behalf of her son who was killed in Iraq. Another vet, carried a framed portrait of a friend. And, our friend, Cat, who is still recovering from the terrible car accident that claimed the life of her husband—walked—yes, walked, despite doctors’ opinions that she’d never walk again—on his behalf! To say that it was a moving, emotional event, would be a gross understatement. Each year, it is an amazingly incredible promenade, and this year was no exception.
So, in the middle of one of the hottest days of the year, to date, I stood on the bench I place in front of our shoppe, and waved my little American flag and cried.
Another highlight of the day—this day marked the final performance of the beloved singing pirates known as The Corsairs. These guys started performing in 1996—almost as an afterthought. What started as an experiment developed quite the fan following, and thirteen years later, the guys are tired, they don’t all still live in Texas, and this chapter of the book of Scarborough has come to a close.
Kyle and I carefully arranged our day so that we could leave our booths, and go to the final show. Many thanks to Marcus and Bill and Donny and Wendy and Garry and Lisa. The guys sang beautifully, and moved their audience to tears more than once. In fact, I’m pretty sure that each of them shed a few tears, as well. The inclusion of Gregg Csikos, the Shantyman, in their show was a very special touch. Gregg helped to start the group, and sang with them for the first half dozen years or so. He led the guys on this day in a perfect rendition of what they call “Minstrel Boys”—a melding of two different songs each titled “The Minstrel Boy.” Wow! And on Memorial Day, it doesn’t get any better than that—unless it’s their flawless version of America, The Beautiful . . . or maybe Sailor’s Prayer? And during that encore, there was a totally constant stream of fans walking to the tip jar! What a fabulous sight! These very talented men will be missed, indeed, in future seasons of Scarborough Renaissance Festival.
I was hoping to attend the Memorial Day Memorial service that happens each year in the rose garden after closing. The service honours all those who have been a part of the Scarborough family, but are gone, now. I know Roger’s name is on the list, as are Tiny, Cecily, Terry, Ed, Jeff, Rita, Cecil and many others whose memories live in my heart. Too many. But, with the extreme heat, and my booth being short-staffed, I opted to simply have my own moment of silence. We packed and loaded and headed home, grabbed a quick dinner and some trivia at No Frills, and were home by about ten-thirty.
So, another run of faire ends—a long, emotional day—my tear ducts are well-flushed. Tomorrow Lisa and I will run amuck!