Thursday, April 5, 2012

Miami Renaissance Faire at Cauley Square

Casey Martin and Rob Williams
Kamikaze Fireflies
You would think that I would be Ren Fested out by now. I know I thought I was. I have a friend who missed all five weekends at the Deerfield Beach Ren Fest and wanted to go, so we packed the cameras and headed south. I've been to Cauley Square before and I remember it as not a big place, so I was expecting a tiny event and a quick day. Wrong! We got there at opening and closed the place. My friend got pulled up on stage during the second show we attended (and luckily loved it), stared into the eye of a hawk on her shoulder, and fired a Ballista at a live and moving knight. She also bought me a couple of hard ciders and a cup of mead which left my camera focusing a whole lot better then I was. So how did such a fantastic event occur in such a tiny place?

Magic and a chain saw.

Intricately winding paths cut through the heavy ficus forest and were covered in gravel. Stages were strewn randomly throughout. It really helped to pick up a map and show schedule at the gate. Turn after turn down the paths I slowly began to realize this was a really big show.

You do not want to miss Celtic Mayhem, Masala Dancers and the Joust. All Florida Faire favorites. The Kamakazi FireFlies came all the way from LA just for these two weekends so it hardly mattered how far I had to drive to come see them. There was plenty of shade for the audience which really sets this event apart. The performers - not so lucky. Those stages get pretty darn hot. Even hotter if Casey Martin blows a 20 foot fire ball across it.

Masala Dancer
I was there Sunday and witnessed one of the jousters sustain an injury during an unscripted dehorsing. No matter if they are riding horses, battling in full armor, eating fire, stilt walking, or blasting out a wild fiddle tune on a 110 degree stage - every act is live, dangerous, and exists for the sole purpose of your enjoyment. A whole lot more enjoyment than you will ever find on your TV or Xbox. I never get tired of saying these performers work for tips and a buck or two is a small price to pay for the value of the experience you will have.

The Miami faire is open just one more weekend so don't miss it. I did not have time to revisit the Cauley Square shops but my friend was very interested in going back again to thoroughly check them out.

This is a very quaint and historic piece of Miami's past and I am so glad the Florida Renaissance Festival will be bringing thousands of new visitors to what I hope is their new permanent home.  I spent a lot of time at the Ren Fest in Deerfield Beach this year and a lot of the visitors at the Miami show were new to me. It's great to see even more people enjoying the last of the Vaudevillian style performances in America, and hopefully maybe even their first trip of many to Cauley Square.

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