I have to say that I've never been as well treated by anyone as I was by the Barony of Gyldenholt. As soon as I arrived, I was escorted into a private ready room, where I met with the autocrats and Their Excellencies, who were very grateful for my presence. After a brief chat with Lynn (so wonderful to see her at events again) and Cal, it was time for Father Christmas to arrive. The children (9 of them, all girls), crowded around me, eyes wide and mouths agape, as I passed out the gifts. The barony had supplied extra gifts, in case there were children whose parents had forgotten to put a gift into the bag, but they weren't needed. I was surprised, however, to find that some of the children had gifts for me! I received a paper crown, the kind you find in Christmas crackers, a hand-decorated cookie, a hand-made Christmas card, and a toy harmonica. After the gift-giving and the pictures, I was then escorted to where our feast gear had been prepared.
What a feast! They started with appetizers of tappenade, hummus, and a kind of aeoli sauce that was made with cream cheese and asiago(?) instead of mayonnaise, on pita chips, as well as a lentil and meatball soup. Then it was on to the main course, served buffet-sytle, of salad with pomegranate seeds and an olive viniagrette dressing, glazed carrots and almonds, a mushroom stuffing, a bread-based stuffing, a ham with a glaze to die for, roast turkey, and gravy. They also had an "experimental bread" made with orange and cranberries, fresh out of the oven. The brewer's guild was sharing some of their (non-alcoholic) beverages, including a white grape drink, a raspberry drink, and a fantastic ginger beer. In thanks, I gave the guild most of the empty bottles I'd collected from Wintermist's feast last week (though unfortunately I couldn't find them all in the back of the truck). Oh, and there were these marvelous cookies from Amsterdam that all the feast-goers had at their tables.
We weren't able to stay for the dessert, I'm afraid, which seemed to consist of all sorts of sweet goodness, because we had to high-tail it back to the apartment for a shower (to get rid of the white in the hair) and a costume change, so that we could make it to Angels/Altavia Yule as Cormac and Annecathryn, rather than as Father Christmas and helper-elf (who forgot her shoes under the feast table, and had to go back to get them with the phrase "...elves don't wear shoes").
All in all, a really great day. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do these gigs.
Next week: I cross State lines with gigs in Dun Or (Lancaster, CA) and Starkhafn (Boulder City, NV)