Festival Season

Festival season for Texas Renaissance Festival runs for eight weeks. Longer, if you take into account the work weekends in September. Mr. Magick Man works full time during the week and I take classes. As a result, this time of year we rarely have time to bring our heads above water. The little things go by the wayside. The first thing I always notice is the housework. This shows up in the first week. It’s easy to spot; we have furry children. By the 8th week, the mess has migrated into my office.

My office is in a constant state of organized disorganization. A cluttered desk is a sign of a creative mind. However, the current state of my office has surpassed that, crossed the borders of Chaos and gone into Disaster. It looks like we were hit by Hurricane Renfaire.

By the end of Renfaire, I’m gearing up for finals. Next week is my last week to work on the final projects for my graphic design classes. The InDesign project is eating up all my time. But it will all be over December 10. I’ll have time to breathe again. The first thing I’m going to do is clean this house.

You may ask why I work festival every year if a) I know house cleaning is going to go by the wayside, and b) I can’t stand it by the end of festival. The answer is simple. The crew we have is like another family, and this is the only time of year I get to see some of these people. We have a blast. I’m not on cast – we have a couple of shops at the faire. It’s hard work, but we have fun doing it. And, it seems, every year I have a new little gem from my festival experience.

One of the items we sell is a hand-bound leather journal. The paper inside is a handmade paper, cotton fiber. These were quite popular this season, but customers kept asking how the paper took the ink (whether you chose to draw or write). I happen to have a couple of these at home, one of which I haven’t used yet, so I brought one up to put on the counter. I didn’t bring up my good calligraphy pen (although it is nice to use on these journals), but I did bring one of my good art pens. The result was breathtaking! I had customers come up and draw the most amazing sketches in my book! They would sign their pieces and just chat with me! Most would then proceed to buy their own journal, but the “people watcher” side of me enjoyed seeing the vast array of customers we truly have. My favorite, and the one I will never forget, was the gentleman who came in and drew the most breathtaking mountain scene in under 10 minutes, just off the top of his head. He said he’d been drinking and he left his glasses at home, so this wasn’t his best work. I’d post it but I don’t have his permission. He said he’d come back and show me his sketchbook.

We hear “I’ll be back” quite frequently in retail. While I hoped he would return, I didn’t count on it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw him the next weekend. I took time and sat down to look at what turned out to be three years worth of artwork. These were just random drawings. He said the paper speaks to him and he draws what comes to mind. It took him three years to fill the book. The images he drew were so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes.

Moments like these are why I love working festival. And these:

Alas, I’ve procrastinated long enough. Time to get back to work on my final projects. Good day, everyone!

A friend in need

Many of you know Sholo the Nubian (Hilton) from Texas Renaissance Festival, and other renaissance festivals. We’ve seen Sholo at the front gate, throughout the faire, and heard the warrior speak poetic words of war and of love, moving our hearts and our spirits.

Those of us who know Hilton know he’s a kind-hearted, gentle man. He has a great laugh, and this world is a better place with him in it.

Friday of last week, Hilton had a severe asthma attack that shut down his lungs, putting him in the ICU. It was a close call there for a while. The good news is he’s breathing on his own now and he’s out of ICU. He’s been moved to a regular room and, with healing energy and prayers, will hopefully be out of the hospital soon.

This has taken an incredible toll on his family’s finances. Due to health reasons, his wife, Ellen, is unable to work; so their funds are rapidly being depleted while he is in the hospital.

A PayPal account has been setup to take donations for the family, to help offset expenses. If you can, any amount donated would help Hilton and Ellen in their time of need.

Direct Link to Sholo’s Recovery Paypal Account: