Gentle Reader, the Faire continues for three weekends. As I said last Friday, this is my last year, but I thought it would be fun to continue with Faire-related posts each Friday, while I’m on site doing the sorts of things described. Therefore, Gentle Reader, I shall craft you a tale, of the origin of something called Fancy-Time, which takes place at seven o’clock sharp, whenever you need an extra bit of joie de vivre.
At Faire, unless you’re working it, there’s no real division between day and night, such as cocktail hour. You’re in a field, and drinking begins quite early*. The days are broiling hot; you’re dehydrated, you’re tipsy, you’re in a field in a costume and nothing makes much sense, except a sense of passion and history. It’s hot and chaotic and combines all the thrills and tension of being backstage at the theatre with the dangers of the savannah. Sometimes, people collapse from all of this.
It came to pass that, when dear Miss Ward dropped in from South-East Asia one day, it fell to me to entertain her. She’d been abroad, and her former haunt surely wasn’t fancy enough any more, and we were all too exhausted/stressed to tidy up. Nonetheless, We’d have to class the joint up before she arrived. I dashed into my tent, where there was a profusion of finery, and madly started tossing outfits to the people lounged about. I decided that we were going to host a formal dance in Miss Ward’s honor, at seven sharp, and people had damn well better dress up. Time period wasn’t important, and mixture of elements was encouraged; fanciness and frippery were the only requirement. Once attired, we took some photographs, and went on a tour around the field, inviting the other households to our little ball.
Miss Ward arrived; our household was attired in splendor to greet her. Unfortunately, no guests showed up. We posed for a group portrait, deciding that our fanciness was an end in itself – the whole point of having nice things is to use them.
A trifle cross, we paraded once more around the field, resplendent. People saw us coming, and dashed to find their own finery, throwing whatever silks and velvets were handy onto their weary frames, joining the procession. Soon we were thirty strong, and the strange combinations of outfits made a peacock look monochromatic. The heat was beginning to get to us, though – but wait! What is that, in the distance?
A water-buffalo. Which, in this context, is not the animal you are familiar with, but a truck with a large tank, hired to spray water over the dry, dry, field, so that people don’t burn the place down. As one, we broke into a run, heading for the cold, clear, water.
When we reached the gorgeous spray, we danced and cavorted in it. Our followers joined us, reveling in the cool refreshment, not one of us giving a damn about the water on our fancy clothes. We followed the truck, and had our formal dance, drenched, in its wake.
* Morality is rather… different at events such as these. It’s more shocking when you don’t invite someone to share your tent of an evening; drinking happens early, and often, and nobody thinks anything of it. It’s a bit of a roman holiday, truth be told.