Such Happiness In Thought Happens

April 25, 2013

Elf Fantasy Fair at Kasteel de Haar

Filed under: Holiday — Duane @ 11:56 pm

Every year Kasteel de Haar is host to the Elf Fantasy Fair. Wim and Jola have been every year for the last few years and this year they wanted to take us to show us what it is all about. The kids had fun shooting bows and arrows, while I found a replacement for my lost pendant.

The best way of explaining the Fantasy Fair is that everyone is in a large cosplay event. Cosplay is short for costume playing. People dress up as realistically and closely as possible to a specific character from fantasy, anime, sci fi, etc or to a particular theme/genre. The people mingle and take photos of each other and browse the stalls of goods on offer. Joining us on this day was Wim, Jola, Robert (Agnes’ brother) and Natasha, a friend of Robert, who took the time and effort to dress as a hobbit – with furry feet and all!

For more information about Kasteel de Haar, look here. Agnes and I once went to the castle when we lived here back in ’99/00. I can’t remember much about it myself. While the castle is impressive in its difference from “traditional” castles, the castle lands are quite large and impressive.

For more information about the Fantasy Fair, look here.

Utrecht is about an hour’s drive south of Zaandam, so Saturday morning saw us driving down in convoy to Haarzuilens. The first sight of the castle is through the trees and over the wall that surrounds the castle lands. On the way to the parking you could already see a lot of people in costume. The weather was great – a nice sunny day, without a lot of wind. The wind came up occasionally, however I was able to have my jacket opened most of the day. We did not have any costumes for the kids or ourselves as time had not permitted us to organise anything either back home or during our stay.

Once through the castle gates, the kids wanted to make straight for the castle. The cost of the tour was 7.50 euro per adult, and kids under 5 are free. However looking at the castle was not our main priority – looking around at people and experiencing the fair was.

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The people! A guy dressed as a dragon, people in steam punk outfits – particularly with clock work equipment, princesses, barbarians, everything was on offer to see. The bravest were two guys dressed as satyrs/fauns – furry vests (no tops) and wearing something on their feet that resembles cloven hooves that made it difficult for them to walk.

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After lunch in the castle ground walls (to get out of the wind), the kids spent some time chasing bubbles blown by a couple of princesses with coloured hair. We then braved the crowds and started looking through the stalls. The first set of stalls were dedicated to LARPers (Live Action Role Players) and cosplayers – equipment, clothing options (lots of corsets), fake weapons, etc. All was on offer. We made our way to the food stalls and continued to more stalls. But not only stalls to buy things were to be found. Caitlin found an area where people could shoot bows. Even better they had a kids area to shoot arrows. They had a small cardboard castle where kids could shoot a small crossbow, but Caitlin didn’t want that – she wanted to shoot a bow! And so she did!

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Emma also got into the action:

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Even Lucas took a turn at shooting a bow:

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All kids were able to hit the target. So something they will probably wish to practice more when we get home.

Another fun activities was an area dedicated for kids to practice circus acts or just blow bubbles. All attempted the high wire and required assistance to get across.

Looking at different stalls is how we finished the day. A lot of jewellery was available and seeing all the different earrings made Caitlin decide that she did want to get her ears pierced. Couldn’t do it there at the fair, but something we would do early the next week.

My day ended in a highlight as I was able to find a pendant virtually identical to the pendant I lost shortly after we arrived. The only thing it is lacking is the blue crystal/glass in the centre of the pendant. Apparently the type of pendant I have is called a Celtic Trinity Knot and it does mean something. For the longest time I thought the pendant was unique and didn’t mean anything. The Celtic Trinity Knot symobilises the natural connection of all organisms and the union or male and female energy.

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So a nice day overall – lots of walking at a leisurely pace, interesting surroundings and people, lots of overpriced things on offer.

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