As the academic year crawls toward its close, the campus becomes busier and busier. This is great because there are so many exciting events, speakers, films, and activities to go to. This is terrible because I have so much work to do that I’m missing a ton. Today, however, I managed to drag myself away from my econ paper and head to Whitman’s 43rd annual Renaissance Faire. I have a few friends who have been planning and assisting with Ren Faire, and heard a lot about it before it actually happened. I thought it sounded pretty cool, but I didn’t expect it to be as amazing, entertaining, and impressive as it actually was. Because wow.
Ren Faire’s intense schedule included performances by students, professors, jugglers, dancers, musicians, magicians, singers, fencers, fighters, and, of course, unicyclers. And a blacksmith. What was truly impressive was how often these groups coincided, and I saw classmates acting, jousting, fencing, and generally gallivanting around in impressive (but rather silly) outfits. I’m still a firm believer that every Whittie is particularly good at something (well, besides academics), and I found out today that for some, this area of expertise is in Renaissance reenactment, which is awesome. I was so thoroughly impressed that I can’t even think of anything to say besides “It was awesome.”
The Faire went all day, but due to academic conflicts (read: multiple papers to write) I only managed to make it to a small chunk of the Faire. It began with the most impressive sport I have ever seen: unicycle jousting. Yes, jousting. On a unicycle. Riding a unicycle while holding a (fake) lance and shield. Riding a unicycle towards somebody else with a lance and shield. Trying to knock somebody off a unicycle with a lance while they do the same. UNICYCLE JOUSTING. Needless to say, it was highly impressive, especially because four people participated. It drew a sizable crowd too!
After unicycle jousting was a performance by a troupe of Morris dancers (check out their website here!), then a juggler (she had knives!) and a group of Celtic musicians from the nearby Tri-Cities. It was an afternoon filled with much merriment and laughter, to say the least. But the unicycle jousting was definitely my favorite, because it was such a Whitman thing to do. A group of highly intelligent nerds with intense levels of coordination trying to hit each other with duct-taped poles while fighting for glory while a group of fellow students and community members cheer them on. It was unique, exciting, impressive, and truly, truly awesome. Go Whitman!