weekend review: festival extravaganza edition

better late than never right?! – this little lady has been swamped at work and prepping the house for dear friends arriving tonight at midnight for a quick but sure to be wonderful weekend visit. so, while we’re off making more great memories, here’s a look back at what we did last weekend!

Friday night found Mr.C working late and me having dinner with a colleague from work. I made some delicious apple dip and my go-to favorite: garlic lemon chicken/green beans/potato dish.

Saturday Mr.C and I rolled out of bed and made our way over to St. Paul for their Festa Italiana celebrations. Every year over Labor Day weekend, Mr.C’s hometown of Clinton, Indiana, throws a huge Little Italy festival but since we couldn’t make it this year – we figured we’d try out the one here!

(p.s. click photos to enlarge)

It’s only the second year they have done this festival but the turn out was good and despite the crisp weather, many people were out on the sunny Saturday enjoying Minnesota’s Italian culture, cuisine, and music on Harriet’s Island.

Highlights of the festival included…

– mouth watering food: we enjoyed a canoli, focaccia pizza, san pellegrino limonata, and the most amazing pumpkin cookies with brown sugar icing (seriously, to die!)

– music by cover bands/ lounge singers doing italian classics and a little dean martin of course

– watching the gondolas go up and down the river

– striking a pose with all the fun photo props

– taste testing different types of olive oil

– hearing all the organ grinders that came from far and wide

– the Wheels of Italy exhibit featuring some fabulous rides from Ducati, Ferrari and Lamborghini

– checking out all the census records and neighborhood lists/maps of the Italian families in the Twin Cities from the 1900s

– snagging free parking and shuttle service from Alary’s Bar

Sure, it was pretty chilly but we had a great time and ended up staying for over 2 hours! We’ve already decided we’ll be going back again next year.

Saturday night we found ourselves relaxing at home and enjoying big bowls of this heavenly concoction: crock pot potato corn chowder 

Make it! You will not be disappointed.

Sunday we jumped in the car and headed south to Shakopee for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I’d been to a “Ren Fest” in Illinois a few times when I was younger but Mr.C had never been so we knew we had to go. Plus, we scored cheap tickets at Costco (w/ coupons for free turkey legs) and our buddies, N + B were going too.

(p.s. click photos to enlarge)

I’ll get my negative complainy bit out of the way first – Ren Fest gets super crowded, the food lines can be long, and you will trip over the rocks that are everywhere, because lets face it, this festival takes place in the middle of a field.

But other than that it was pretty fun.

There is so much to see and do:

Everywhere you go you are greeted by semi-authentic and very fantastical looking people, pubs, wares, buildings, etc.

The food is pretty good and varies from buttery corn on the cob to cheesy beer soup in a bread bowls to turkey legs as big as your arm to that traditional “ye olde” pizza. You can try different types of mead or stick with your usual beer, wine, and pop.

Amid the wannabees, wander die-hard Ren-Festers who go all out for these fall weekends. Dressed in authentic, expensive outfits they truly embody the spirit of the faire – with many sporting swords and accents to boot! And let us not for get the great King and Queen that rule this grand jubilee.

There are people being classy and people being trashy (ahem, bar maids freezing in skimpy outfits just to show their tatas – I’m talking to you), But it is great people watching for sure! Oh and where else will you find pickle vendors around every corner shouting, “Eat my pickle!  I know you want my pickle!  It’s juicy and verrrry firm and only costs $1.00!”  Double entendres anyone?

Entertaining acts are on every corner, with 7+ stages scattered around the grounds. You can see people being tossed in the stocks and verbally abused, pirate shows, jousting, juggling, fire eating acts, comedy troupes, and the always great Danger Committee (which you might remember from America’s Got Talent…or performing at the Brave New Workshop where I used to work).

There are shops aplenty – where you can pick up candles, goblets, outfits, and other neat wares or gifts. There are also many cool demos going on like glass-blowing, belly-dancing, snake-charming, metal-work, etc. You can ride an elephant, test out your archery skills, or even toss a battle-ax or two (like Mr.C did!).

There is a Hobbit Hole, a secret garden, and a mermaid cove too.

So, all in all, a little something for everyone!!

And that was our fun-filled festival weekend!

Hopefully you enjoyed reliving it with us.

We don’t have much to update in terms of goings on this week – I’ve gotten a bunch of extra responsibilities/projects at work, Mr.C is being trained to help out the “wire” team at the warehouse, and we were able to pick up our Minnesota plates & registration finally.

So it’s official! Our little white Lumina is now a true Minnesotan. Haha, we won’t be until we get our licenses in the mail – but getting rid of our Illinois plates sure does make it seem more real.

North Star State we are here to stay!

This weekend I’m looking forward to photographing the colorful fall foliage, playing euchre, being with hometown friends again, going on a historic cave tour in St. Paul, checking out Fort Snelling, and getting up to some good ‘ol fashioned shenanigans!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

xo, meg

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9 thoughts on “weekend review: festival extravaganza edition

  1. Those festivals look like SO much fun! :) I love Italian food and culture because of my own Italian heritage. And I’ve been wanting to go to a Ren-fair for a while now. :)

    What kind of apple dip did you make?! :)

    • thanks – it was a jam packed weekend but we had a good time! next year I want to make it to the Greek festival! :) but definitely add a ren-fest/ren-fair to your bucket list. it’s pretty cool. and great costumes!

      apple dip: 1 pckg of cream cheese, softened. few dashes of vanilla extract. cup (or more if you want) of brown sugar. mix it up. let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so. and enjoy!

  2. Pingback: 2012 in Review « Mr.C & Me

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