the most beautiful moment at the renaissance festival. EVER.

I saw the most beautiful moment last weekend at the Ren Fest and I have to share it with you. It involves children and green giants. (stay with me for a moment…)

I started going to the Texas Renaissance Festival in either 1987 or 1988 while going to Texas A&M as an undergrad. I can’t recall the exact date. I went many times, but it was college so that might have been three times in one year or two times each year, or who knows. It’s lucky I remember my own name from 20+ years ago.

But I DO remember the texas renaissance festival. We were broke students so we bought the discount tickets from HEB and had to sneak in our own beer because we couldn’t afford the beer inside. In the late 80s my favorite renfest-shows were, in priority order, the falconry show followed by the mud show. The mud show back then was a mud pit in an open field and people who would gather around said pit. Falconry on the other hand, always had the most beautiful arena. But that is probably an artifact of not wanting the birds of prey to perch on small children during the act. I gotta figure being the falconry guy at the RenFest is like being the lion keeper at the zoo; if you say you need something you might bump the queue over the guy who takes care of the armadillos. There’s only so much that can go wrong if an armadillo is on the loose. But a lion? Definite priority. Just sayin’

I love the Renaissance Festival. (Disclaimer, as of a couple years ago RenFest is a client. But that doesn’t change things. I still pay for my ticket and I still take my whole family every year.) I have so many great memories and so many great photos. But this year, a 10 second interchange, stopped me dead on all-hallows-eve. This is what happened:

An ENORMOUS green man was attacked by a small child. Or torpedo-hugged. I don’t know the guy, and I’m not small, but he was larger than me and commanded a presence with his huge frame. And this giant man was reduced to a puddle of love by a child he had never met. Until that moment. That man was Shrek:

Shrek hugged a kid.

2011 Texas Renaissance FestivalOr to more accurately state it, a tiny 3 or 4 year old little girl propelled herself out of her parents arms like an Olympic athlete and flew above the ground like a hydrofoil to Shrek. It was kinda like the “human torpedo” move in WWE.

Shrek knelt down on one knee and caught her. The young’un quickly buried her head against his enormous frame. The giant man, in costume of course, brought her to a safe position and looked up at her parents for approval. Mrs. Shrek right next to him.

The parents of the star of our story 5 feet away nodded approval and smiled. Myself 20 feet away dumbstruck.

And all of us were frozen. We froze watching this beautiful young lady who completely believed not only in Shrek, but that THIS was SHREK. And she loved him. It looked like this photo I took after I snapped out of it.

I can’t really explain it. It was just beautiful. It was respectful. The parents were smiling ear to ear. The actor-volunteer-Shrek was well aware of a responsibility that I had no idea he had; to represent honorably the image of Shrek and the dreams of little kids.

And the child demonstrated a complete lack of prejudice, she charged and jumped into the arms of a 300+ pound green man! How many of us could jump into the arms of a giant green man with complete faith that he in turn was a gentle giant?  I fear I have lost the ability to be that child-like and I miss it. I am working on that…

The shrek-hug was the most beautiful thing I have seen all year. God bless you Shrek. And God bless this child and her family for their wisdom to allow her to have this moment. And thank you that I was there with my family to witness it. ‘Cause my kids are pretty awesome too IMHO.



(this is a cross-post. To comment visit the shrek-renfest-post on and comment there please.)