Ruby has been to the festival every year since she was born, and so has Edward, although for him that's not as impressive. It is a family tradition in the grandest sense, and everyone was excited when we arrived at Revel Grove. I did notice a few differences between this year and past years, but that may have been due to the lateness of the season. We generally go in September, or even August, but this was the last weekend of the festival, late in October, and you could tell.
For one thing, it was super crowded. I have never seen so many people at RennFest, and as I said, I've been going for years. It was hard to wander around, with so many wanderers. Another noticeable different, was the distinct lack of skin. Generally, one can see all manner of people in ridiculous outfits, often heaving breasts upward and outward, and showing off a cornucopia of weird tattoos all over the bodies of the resident population. This year, it was cold out. Everyone was all covered up. Even the people in costume were in lots of furs and robes and capes and whatnot. There was nary a midriff to be found, which I suppose is both good and bad, as the human scenery is of varying quality.
We always try to do something new and fun every year, and this time was no different. Some years we have ridden elephants, tried our hands at the strong man bell ringing game, or purchased cool outfits. This year, Ruby wanted to climb the wall.
The wall was fairly impressive, and Ruby had never done anything like this before, but she was excited as they hooked her into the harness. As she began her ascent, we shouted encouraging words to her and cheered her on. "Grab the yellow one!" we called out. "Move your foot to the left!"
When Ruby was about two thirds of the way up the wall, she fell off. As she dangled in midair, slowly twisting in the wind, she was clearly terrified. From the ground, we continued to shout up to her. We told her to turn herself back around and grab hold of the wall again. We told her that she was almost there, and that she should keep going. And so she did.
Somehow, this four year-old-girl managed to get herself facing the right way again and continued to climb, despite her fears. She made it all the way to the top, and when they lowered her back down to the ground again, she was beaming. I have never been more proud of my daughter.
She faced her fears, she accomplished her goals, and even though we were all screeching at her, she was up there alone, doing it on her own. I can't think of any better indicator than that, that she will do just fine in life. She was thrilled to have done it, and she kept talking about the wall all weekend. And I'm still talking about it now. It was the highlight of the festival for sure. And then we got macaroni and cheese on a stick.