Why in Hekate’s name would I get up at 7:30 on my one day off to drive an hour to the Michigan Renaissance Festival? Is it because this was an official Grove outing, and I always try to show up to those early? Maybe a little. But more so because I love ritual, of course, and that includes the opening ceremony and processional of the Queen and her court. And since I haven’t been to the festival since 2003 or so, I wanted to get the full experience today. Kestrel and I drove up at the same time, and looked around at the stores and took in a few shows (including Bocca Musica, whom I’d never seen before and was very impressed by!) before the Kellers and their friends arrived at around 1.
After wandering around the Celtic section of the Festival (hey, we’d chosen this weekend because it was Highland Fling Weekend), we all took in the Washing Well Wenches show from the booth of Nethercraft, owned by my old friend Tomak. After that, I went to see Ded Bob, my favoritest show there, with the intent to meet up with everyone after, since they’re not into Bob as much as I am. After the show, I called Sean and found out that everyone had gone home because of the heat. Well, yeah, it was pretty bad by that time of the day. This was the first time I’d ever been to the Festival in August, and I don’t see myself repeating that. Still, my new job seems to have inured me to the afternoon heat, so I stuck around for more shopping and two more Bocca shows. I was shocked to see Richard, who’s been a Grove member since before I was, in the audience as well! After the show he introduced me to some friends of his before I left Hollygrove at 6:30, over eight hours after I’d gotten there. Well I can’t say I didn’t get my money’s worth out of the ticket!
Obviously I’d have liked to see more Grovemates there, but I know how badly the local economy is affecting us all these days, not to mention the usual reduced attendance of pretty much anything we do in July or August. Next year, we schedule the Grove outing for October. I’d rather deal with the cold than the heat. But I’m certainly glad that I did go today, Id forgotten how much I missed so much of the experience. (And how little I missed other aspects of it – two dollars for bottled water, and all of the booths ran out in the mid-afternoon!) And I’m even gladder that at least a few of my Grovemates were there, we spend too little time together these days outside of ritual. Let’s hope we can find more ways to keep this new trend going!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
PS – Speaking of festivals, it looks like I will indeed be doing a Hellenic ritual and workshop at Midnight Flame in a few weeks. If anyone from southeastern Michigan is needing a ride there, let me know!