Hi Friends, I have a story about the Minnesota Renaissance festival that
happened to my mom many years ago. She like to tell this story on occasion at
the dinner table over the years.
So, it goes something like this. A long ago in the year of 2011 my mom and
me decided to get a weekend job at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival to save a
little extra money to put towards a newer car.
For 7 weeks every weekend my mom and me would spend 13 hours a day making
fish and chips for minimum wage. It was exhausting hours for both of us. My mom
was used to working at a software company writing code all day, and I was used
to relaxing at home. Our co-worker was quite the drama queen, and by far the
most dramatic person we had ever met, even to this day.
Our co-workers only job at the time was working during the weekend at the
renaissance festival. She was staying in a motel with her husband who also only
worked at the renaissance festival. She, already in her 40s, choose to stay
with her abusive husband and give up all rights to their teenage children. She
met a 21-year-old man staying at the same motel complex and decided to have an
affair with him. Several weeks into the festival her husband found out about
it. She was very proud of the fact that two men were fighting over her. These
were just a few highlights of what we heard about or witnessed.
During festival days, we would get an hour lunch break. Sometimes we would
go and look at the elephants. Sometimes we would sit and listen to some of the
musical entertainment or find a quiet corner and relax quietly away from most
of the people.
On one of the days, we went to see the elephants, we decided to get an ice
cream treat. There was a crowd watching these majestic animals. My mom was
about to take a bit of her ice cream, but suddenly, an elephant grabbed it with
his trunk. My mom tried to pull it back, but the elephant won. My mom was in
shock, the elephant ate my mom’s ice cream and spit the spoon on the ground.
All the spectators were surprised, and some laughed. It was probably the most
memorable and a highlight of our time working out there.
After the season was over my mom decided, she didn’t think working out at
the festival in a food booth was for us. The long hours, the dirt, the weather
was quite exhausting. She liked most of the people she met, they were artsy,
musical, theatrical, and creative, but we also didn’t feel like we exactly fit
in either. We were not really the party type, and while nice some of the people
liked to party a lot more after hours than we were comfortable staying for, especially
because we were new, and a lot of regulars knew each other.
The one thing for sure that did change though, was the following year when
she returned as a spectator, was a sign that said, “Do not feed the Elephants”.
My mom always wondered if that sign was put there because the elephant ate her
ice cream, but she will never know.
It had been 10 years since my mom and myself have been back to the Minnesota
Renaissance festival, and we were lucky enough to go on opening day this year.
The weather was cooler, and perfect. This year we went to see the elephants,
and the “Do not feed the Elephants” sign was still posted. We didn’t have ice
cream this time, but I finally got a picture of myself with one of the elephants!
That alone is super special, and I am glad that after 10 years I got to enjoy a
beautiful day in a beautiful fantasy land!