Siouxland Renaissance Festival

It had been a few years since we’ve been to the Siouxland Renaissance Festival in Sioux Falls. While weeding through my clothes, I came across a couple of T-shirts I’ve gotten from the event, the most recent being in 2012. Five years? I guess it’s time to visit the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds again.

The temps were in the mid-90s this past Saturday, but there were plenty of cars in the parking lot as we pulled up around 2. Despite the warm temperatures, there were quite a few people in Renaissance garb. Me? I was in shorts and a T-shirt, I get warm. Our first stop after the restroom was the food vendors. Ross found his usual turkey leg, while I opted for a corn dog and lemonade, your typical fair food. We plunked down in the pub tent and listened to the band 4 Pints Shy. It’s a Twin Cities-based band that plays Irish music, and “sometimes bluegrass, too,” according to its Facebook page. We’ve listened to them at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and enjoyed their music. We sat for a few songs while we ate before heading into the exhibit building to check out more of the vendors.

There was a bit of a variety in the vendors, from garb to jewelry to organic soaps. There was also pottery, needlework, wooden crafts and performances off to the side. Some of the performers included the Tortuga Twins, a comedic act that mainly performs at Ren Fests across the country, and Zilch the Torysteller (Terry Foy), who tells fairy tales with a twist.

After purchasing a couple of soaps, we roamed the fairgrounds. We watched the trebuchet in action as it launched water balloons. Kids loved the chance to trigger the trebuchet. And on a hot day, it didn’t matter if you were near where the water balloons landed.

While Ross looked at rings and jewelry made from U.S. and foreign coins, I watched the tail end of a demonstration involving swords. Then it was time to enjoy a performance by a band we’ve listened to for the last I-don’t-know-how-many years, the Dregs. They’re another Twin Cities-based band that performs Irish music. They also do requests, even if they don’t know the song. One of the requests thrown at the band was the opening theme to the musical “Hamilton.” Um, well, we’ll give it a go, and one of the band’s founders came up with something off the cuff and, well, it actually worked.

We wandered through the children’s area and a couple of the encampments and cooled off in a mister before we checked out a couple of acts later in the afternoon, Topsy Turvy and Cirque du Sewer. Topsy Turvy is an all-female acrobatic circus group. The two women who performed Saturday used humor, Hula Hoops, amazing acrobatics and even a bull whip in their act. The duo was followed by Cirque du Sewer, a rat and cat circus. Yep, you read that right, a rat and cat circus. According to the Cirque du Sewer website, Melissa Arleth started booking the show at the end of 2009 at ren faires, outdoor festivals, etc. She added her cat, Pad Kee Meow, in 2015. The rats did a variety of simple performances, but Pad Kee Meow wasn’t having it during the last show of the afternoon. The show was entertaining and a nice end to the day. I’m glad we stayed for those last two acts.