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Spend a Day at The St. Louis Renaissance Festival!

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Whenever I think of the renaissance, I think of the greats like Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Botticelli. None of them are Ninja Turtles either. I’m talking about the time of kings and queens. When pirates did more than set their sails on the internet superhighway. Some of my favorite movies are set way back in ye old time.

stlrenfest3Surprisingly I have never been to the St. Louis Renaissance Festival in the previous 18 years it has come to town. This year I was invited to bring my family out and see all of the fun I am missing and then write what I thought. I’ll just cut to the chase and say that if you have never been to the festival, you should go, if you have been, you should go again. There is so much to take in that I hope I can do it all justice here.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see more photos from the festival that didn’t make it into this post.

The festival is located at Rotary Park in Wentzville. Parking is free but there is admission to get into the renaissance faire. There is so much to do that you could spend an entire day experiencing it all. When we entered the festival we were greeted by an absolutely amazing atmosphere that takes you back in time, except you still have cell service. The setup for the faire was interwoven between the trees of the park. The setup crew did a fantastic job putting everything together. Various shops and food spots scatter the entire region. Everything is separated into areas based on a theme. Pirates, gypsies, royalty such as kings and queens, knights, fairies, mermaids, and more all makeup the cast of characters you can find.

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Stage performances, magic shows, dancing, music, and even jousting all take place at the St. Louis Renaissance Festival. Each event is just as cool as the next. The stage performances are interactive with the audiences and are hilarious.

One of the cooler things that the festival setup for the young kids is a quest for them to become knights and princesses. All they had to do was look out for these little signs and then visit with a pirate, wench, wizard, etc in the booth and from there they would show a trick, act a certain way, or give some history about their heritage. The kids would then get a stamp on their checklist and once they completed the quest at the end of the day they would meet the king and become a knight or princess. It is a great way to navigate through-out the entire faire and visit various spots and really experience the festival.

stlrenfest2My favorite area in the festival was the petting zoo. There was a huge snake that Mrs. St. Louis Dad got to hold! It was so cool. The kids pet the snake and ponies and several other animals as well. They even got to see a real life dragon. It was a bearded dragon but it was still a dragon nonetheless. The food was fantastic and the turkey legs were plentiful. I had my fill of one right when I got there. My heart was set on one and I made it happen. Fried pickles, nachos, funnel cake, and much more were all on the menu. I would recommend bringing cash as most food booths only deal in cash. Most of the merchandise booths do accept card so save your cash for food and card for stuff if you must. There is all sorts of things to buy. Clothes, swords, jewelry, shirts, mugs or would those be goblets? I’m not sure but they had all sorts of cool things. We allowed the kids to pick out one thing a piece and they chose a sword, a flower headpiece, and a unicorn headpiece. We also picked up two small swords for our son and nephew just because.

The jousting event was incredible. It looks like it can hurt pretty bad getting stabbed with that joust and falling off your horse. Big props to both of the knights on all it takes to do what they’re doing. They had the crowd going wild. It was a great sight to see and the kids had a nice view seeing it all going down.

After spending several hours back in time the kids were tired and we headed out.

There was a few things that we missed out on that we would love to check out at another visit. We didn’t get to try out any of the meads (beers). Since we had the kids with us we didn’t want to drink any alcoholic beverages, but maybe on a kid free visit we can try out the pub crawl that they have, or just drink at our leisure. Also, just in case you had not realized, the Renaissance Festival isn’t just one weekend. It’s gonna be happening for a while and each weekend is a themed weekend. This weekend was Pet Fest. So attendees could bring their pups! We seen so many cute doggies today it was dog overload for my canine obsessed wife. Be sure to check out the website for more details about all of the event that are scheduled during STLrenfest!

The St. Louis Renaissance Festival is open weekends September 16 – October 15, 2017 10am-6pm Rain or Shine. Check them out at www.stlrenfest.com and on social media at @stlrenfest on all social channels!

St. Louis Dad was provided tickets to The St. Louis Renaissance Festival in exchange for an honest review.

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Mature Audiences Only

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When I was a very young kid I remember watching some of the greatest action movies ever made. Movies like Robocop, Terminator 1 & 2, and Total Recall. As an kid in elementary school these movies were amazing. The profanity and violence and all around bad-ass of the lead actors kept this He-Man / Ninja Turtle fanatic in constant awe. Looking back and knowing I was in elementary school makes this even weirder. In Robocop there’s a scene where Robocop shoots a criminal in the no-no’s. Should a 7-10 year old be seeing something like that? In today’s standards, no they shouldn’t, but back then life was different. I was never sheltered as a kid. My grandparents would let me and my cousins watch Serial Mom over and over again. We were just kids watching a funny movie, but when you actually watch the movie it is filled with stuff that is clearly for adults only.

Watching these movies as a kid, at least from what I can tell have not caused any psychological issues in me or my friends and family that watched them with me. We are all normal, in whatever ways normal is considered normal. Now that my own children are old enough to start picking movies of their own to watch I have to think about what it is they want to see. More often than not they want to pick a cartoon movie, LEGO Batman is still pretty popular in our house, along with Moana and many other Disney Princess movies. However, there are times when the kids will surprise me with a request that I wasn’t expecting.

ZombieAbbyWith Andy Muschietti’s IT being a box office smash hit I thought it would be nice to re-watch the original made for TV series. Typically, I will watch something like IT later in the evening when the kids are in bed, but I have seen this one before. It’s long but it’s not really that graphic. There are only a few scenes that are pretty tragic but as a whole based on today’s ratings the original IT movie is maybe a soft PG-13. Stan’s death and a few blood filled balloons are about as bad as it gets. So anyways, I started re-watching the movie and the kids wanted to know what I had on, so I told them and they sat and watched almost the entire movie. All 3 plus hours of it. I was very surprised that they made it through such a long movie but they loved it. To them IT is a pretty scary movie but it wasn’t scary enough for them to come crawling into our bed at night. We have actually gotten a few more requests to watch IT again and while I’m not opposed to another viewing, I think it might be time to introduce a few other mature movies to them.

Alex, just like Abby when she was his age, is starting to become obsessed with zombies. I think Minecraft helps with that in some degree but Alex is all about wanting to watch a zombie movie. After looking through my collection, I knew I had plenty of options but I wanted to show him something that wouldn’t be too graphic but still satisfy the zombie request. So first I went with Michael Jackon’s Thriller music video. Just to give him a taste of something scary without it being too scary. Him and my daughter loved it. They started dancing and trying out the routine from the video, but apparently that wasn’t scary enough for them. They recognize that the actors are just wearing costumes and makeup. I feel like that is a good indicator of how well they will handle a real zombie movie. The fact that they know they are actors in costumes helps bring them back to the real world if ever they do get scared from a more graphic scene. So with the kids begging for more zombies I figured it’s time to start a re-watch of The Walking Dead.

You may be thinking that was a big mistake, it wasn’t.

ZombieAlexThe kids are now asking to watch movies that arn’t cartoons. Which helps mom and me to not go crazy watching LEGO Batman for the 200th time. The other night I let the kids pick a movie for us to watch as a family. They picked Peter Jackson’s rendition of King Kong. A three hour epic was the movie they wanted to watch. I told them it was long and that there were dinosaurs, bugs, and many other exciting creatures in the movie, that’s all it took to hook them in. It is fascinating seeing my kids react to King Kong. First they were scared, then they felt sympathy for King Kong when he was getting bit by the dinosaurs and then finally empathy when they saw the humans take him down. They were sad when he finally succumbed to the pain and died. Alex and Abby both seemed to understand why King Kong was doing what he was doing. He was in love and knew he had to sacrifice himself to protect his human and they picked that up, which to me is awesome.

daddyandsonKing Kong isn’t a horror movie, but it does hit some mature tones and has some creepy parts in it, but my children just loved it all. With that being said, I feel like they are ready for more options when it comes to movies they watch. Don’t get me wrong here, I wouldn’t let them watch Saw or another very graphic movie in the same vein. Some other movies that show a lot of hanky-panky will be kept off the list for now as well. I do not think they are ready for those. They probably arn’t ready for Robocop or Serial Mom either, but maybe Terminator. It’s just a judgement call, how mature are the kids, can they handle the visual imagery, the story, and emotional tones found within the movie? If I feel like they can, then I don’t mind them watching. I’m always right there with them anyways. If they get scared or have questions, I do my best to answer them or show how it’s just movie magic. You can tell they appreciate that because when you explain something is really a puppet or a costume then they start thinking about how they can create their own.

Both of my kids are very imaginative and I’m not worried about showing them some safer mature movies. There are plenty that they won’t be allowed to see until they are much older, such as Serial Mom, but I think Terminator and many others are good to go with these creative kids. Plus I am excited that I can finally sit and watch The Good The Bad and The Ugly with my kids around. I like the idea of my children being ready for whatever and have a good understanding of how the world works. I know movies are not real and I want these two kiddos to know that too. They are not going to be sheltered from the finer things in life and honestly I don’t think I can watch LEGO Batman again for at least a few years.

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Country Camping at Bass River

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When my wife and I started dating we were all about camping. We went a few times a year and always had a lot of fun. Except that first year when we shared a canoe. There are a lot of relationship tests out there, but in my opinion you can take as many paper or computer tests as possible to see how compatible you are with your significant other, however, my relationship advice is… If you wanna test your relationship and possibly hate your significant other for a few hours, then don’t ever get a canoe to share. It’s just bad news. Since then we have only dealt with tubes because everyone knows, that’s the best way to go floating.

IMG_4721Last year we found ourselves back camping. It had been several years but we setup our tent without a problem and we were back at it like we never stopped. It was rocky and rainy but we survived and pushed through like true campers.

This year we switched locations and included a fantastic group of friends. The one thing missing from our group this year was kids. They were not there last year either, but I think they will get a taste of camping soon enough. It was incredible having a couple nights to ourselves without the kids. My wife and I were able to relax and just have some adult fun. Drinks, beer pong, and a lot of laughs. With kids there is bound to be a little yelling and crying at some point. I’m happy we didn’t have to go through that, at least not yet. The first night camping is usually the funnest. We get out all of that energy from driving, setting up the campsite, and anticipation for the float. This trip was no different.

I am a little surprised we all woke up at the crack of dawn when we didn’t go to sleep until 2AM or later the night before. I learned some new rules for beer pong that I’ve never heard before but ya know it makes like interesting when you switch things up a bit. That’s something I definitely learned this trip, try out some new things. The float itself was awesome. We all had tubes and 1 raft for our coolers and if someone wanted to get out of a tube for a little while. I myself tied up a my portable speaker to my tube and floated all day jamming out to some country tunes. I also like usual had my GoPro out and got a little bit of footage. Check out the video below to get a glimpse into our float.

After the float we all got cleaned up and continued our fun at the camp site. We started up a nice fire and turned up the music. Slowly but surely the days float took it’s toll on our group and one by one people went to bed. A few of us had other plans. The night was still a little young and since the group was dwindled down to just a couple of us, we decided that it would be pretty funny if those that went to bed early woke up and we were all gone. So that’s exactly what we did. We broke down our campsite under the stars and headed home. It didn’t take too long to get there and then we still had plenty of time to have fun in the comfort of our own home! That’s how we knocked camping out of the park this year.

Next year it would be awesome to have a camper that we can pull with our new van, or maybe just convert the van while we camp. I’d love a camper, but we’ll see where we are at next year. DCIM100GOPROGOPR0980.

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A Seven Year Dad

IMG_0361Well it is official. I have been a dad for seven years now. My beautiful baby girl is only getting older and there is not much I can do about it. It doesn’t really make me sad, because I know that she’s going to grow up regardless of me wanting her to or not, it’s just going to happen. But what it does do is makes me happy that my little girl is growing up to be a respectful and intelligent person. These past seven years are all pretty much new to me. Aside from taking care of our nieces and nephews when they were little my wife and I are still just figuring things out all on our own.

So here we are, seven years later and still having a lot of fun. This 7th birthday party sleep over was no different. Snacks, silly string, playing, outdoor movies, and a sleep over all were on the agenda for our little girl. We got her what she had been asking for over a year now, a bunk bed, but it was the JoJo Siwa hair bow from her cousin that brought the house down with excitement. I mean I could have bought hundreds of bows for what I bought the bunk bed for, but maybe she wouldn’t have gotten as excited. Either way it is a treat watching your kids go crazy while opening up gifts from family and friends.

Being a dad to this little girl has been an emotional roller coaster. So far I’ve watched her grow into a spectacular young lady and I could not be more proud as a dad. My little doodles is growing up too fast and there just isn’t anything I can do about it except love her even more.IMG_5378

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