This last weekend I began my summer book tour for my new book The MacKinnon’s Kandra. I was at the Buccaneer Bash at the Olde World Village in Augusta Michigan. I wasn’t sure what to expect during this tour. However, as a person who loves Renaissance fairs and other festivals, I knew that the people who do these seemed to be close friends and very nice. I didn’t understand just how close of friends they all are. Now after the weekend I spent, I hope the rest of my summer tour, is as great as this first weekend starting out.
I am generously being hosted this summer, by an older couple who own the MacDudley Dragon Games, and Coutie's Corner a very popular booth at these events. Alan and Bridget, are a childless couple who love children. Bridget is legally blind and has cerebral palsy. She is the sweetest person, and she has learned to overcome her disabilities in an amazing way. She runs their booth, selling t-shirts, Cds, Roses, and various other little things, all while running the pick a duck game, as well as walk the plank when Alan is busy with the air cannon and the ring toss games he created. Their system works amazingly well. I was shocked that she wasn’t over whelmed. People seem to be patient with Bridget and she adores the children. They both love making the kids laugh. Although, I think the parents have just as much fun with “Captian McScurvy and his First mate Sassafrass,” I couldn’t have asked to be hosted by a sweeter couple. They are becoming wonderful friends and I feel as if by the end of summer, they will seem more like family, than friends.
Saturday, I arrived about a half hour before the gates opened to help my wonderful hosts, Alan and Bridget, open-up MacDudley Dragon Games for the day. Within minutes, I had met more people than I could remember names. The people were friendly and welcoming. Everyone was drinking coffee chatting as they opened their booths for the day. Calling across the way and teasing each other. Bridget was making sure that every one their friends knew I was an Author they were hosting in their booth for the summer. She is currently reading my novel and told everyone how amazing it is. A little blush and embarrassment for her lavished praises. The musicians came by to grab donuts the couple had brought for everyone. They all promised to come back to sing and play music for their food. It was fun and friendly.
As the fair opened everyone went to their booths to welcome Festival goers and to sell their wares. Things were slow at first, but Alan assured me, this was not unusual, it would pick up as the day wore on, morning were usually slow, so enjoy it.
I spent the morning chatting with the few people who wandered through the festival, Bridget and Alan kept me entertained. We snacked on coffee and doughnuts. I told Alan if they kept feeding me doughnuts every weekend, I would have to start doing laps around the fairs! However, it was really very sweet of them. As more people came by the booth, I watched as this adorable older couple played with the children, making them laugh and giggle, even the parents we laughing, and smiling about the couples' pirate antics. Bridget has a unique spin on the duck game, where the children are blind folded and pick ducks then put them where she taps on the rim of the container, each duck they pick they had to count and say for example, "One RRR," and so forth. She is hoping this will help children to understand the challenges that blind people face. The children seem to enjoy it greatly, as to the parents.
By afternoon, things had truly begun to pick up, I was talking to so many people, my head was spinning. Then in between their stage performances a very popular group called the Pirate and Wenches, came by and sat around singing and playing music for Bridget. The Leader or “Captain” of the group is Ed Swathout, explained to me that not the all of the band was there today, but would be for Black Rock and most of the other festivals. They quickly seemed to accept me as a friend, and included me in everything. I have to say, I was surprised at how amazing their music is. Even though their music is geared toward Renaissance faires, in a pirate theme as well as for other such festivals. It has this old world, and rock-ish feel to it at the same time. I feel in love with it. Ed played and sang a bunch of different songs for Bridget, while Dave, taught her to play the mandolin. The whole thing was really, great how sweet they are to her, they seem to dote on her. For one of their songs, she wanted them to do, Ed explained to her he needed his electric guitar, so she would have to come over to the show and he would play it for her. She readily agreed, Bridget loves their group. For their last show of the day, I walked Bridget over to the stage area they were on, and they sat her in the front row, and played all her favorite songs. I laughed and cheered as one of their fans Tina who knows Bridget as well, got her to get up and they danced to the music. I think the best part of it was seeing Bridget enjoy herself so much. She sang and clapped along to ever song they sang, and just made everyone around her smile and have a wonderful time.
By the end of the day, I may not have sold out of my books, or made a bunch of money. However, I got something much more valuable, I met many wonderful people, some of my readers and new reads included, I got to experience the reason why these people do what they do at these faires, and festivals, year after year. They have great friendships, and love history. I made some incredible new friends that I can’t wait to share the rest of the summer with!