Friday, August 19, 2011
We are heading up to Delavan, Wisconsin to visit with our buddies, the Mathers. Sarah is heading off to college in northern Wisconsin and we have to see her before she gets too entangled being a veterinary student. We love visiting Janet's garden and perhaps we'll browse through Lake Lawn Lodge and Lake Geneva while we're there. I have to pick up some farm grown goodies ~ corn on the cob and blueberries are on my list. Some interesting facts about the area, where we spent lots of good times.
Circus History: Delavan has a storied history steeped in circus myths and legends. By the middle of the 19th century, the nation was continuing its westward expansion, bringing circuses from the east to the young territories in the upper Mississippi Valley. In 1847, Edmund and Jeremiah Mabie, proprietors of the U.S. Olympic Circus, then the largest traveling show in America, chose Delavan for their winter quarters, a year before Wisconsin attained statehood and 24 years before the Ringling Brothers raised their first tents in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The Mabie brothers chose Delavan due to its ability to support the circus horses and other animals. These animals were the most important assets to the 19th century circus, both for transportation and performance. Delavan’s abundant pastures and pure water provided everything the Mabies required. The Mabie Circus stayed at the present site of Lake Lawn Resort on Delavan Lake, where it created a circus dynasty that survived in Wisconsin for the next 100 years. As time passed, the circuses grew in strength and numbers; hundreds of clowns and circus performers from over 26 circuses set up their winter quarters in Delavan from 1847 to 1894. The P.T. Barnum Circus, “The Greatest Show On Earth”, was founded in Delavan in 1871. But, as times changed so too did the circus era in Delavan. It came to an end in 1894 when the E.G. Holland Railroad Circus folded its tents. Except for a handful of local performers, who continued the tradition, the circus vanished from the community. Within a generation, the familiar ring barns and circus landmarks were gone. On May 2, 1966, the U.S. Postal Service selected Delavan to issue the five-cent American Circus Commemorative Postage Stamp. Today, more than 250 members of the old Circus colony are buried in Spring Grove and St. Andrew’s cemeteries.
Sunday we continue our weekend adventures attending in fantasy. Having read over 4,000 pages of George R. R. Martin's novels of Ice and Fire, my head is filled with this era and it will do me good to re-enact the Medieval times in person. We first discovered this magical place when I was dancing with the Stormdancers founded by Greg Gale. He is the master of fantasy and a large group of us dressed up and went here in our costumes, blending in with all the characters on the grounds.
Set in a vast wooded area, we spent most of the day interacting with these characters and pretending. We visit a plethora of craft stands, sample the foods as they were eaten back in those days, such as huge turkey legs and lots of ale. Throughout the day we can see royal parades, jousting, comedians, falcons and all sorts of entertainment. My favorite time is at the end of the day when they all gather and perform a drumming circle whereas everyone can dance and feel the mesmerizing beats in celebration.
All day the characters refer to you as "my lady and my lord" never stepping out of character and it makes you feel as if you are living in that world. I enjoy browsing through the crafts and collecting crystals and candles and unique artifacts from this era. I already purchased our discounted tickets at Walgreens, so rain or shine, Steve, Erica and I are on our way.
To fantasy and beyond! xo