Saturday, April 25, 2015

Date with your dog: Ironfest

Ironfest performers hoops
Phil met some wonderful people at Ironfest.
How have you been kicking back with your non-human companions? Last weekend Phil and I went on a road trip, over the Blue Mountains and into Lithgow, home of Ironfest.

Ironfest is a festival of historical re-enactments, attracting people who spend their time re-creating moments in history, often centered around important battles. Participants are very passionate. Despite the fact that the temperatures dropped and there was a thunderstorm, so dedicated to historical accuracy were many of them that they slept in historically accurate (i.e. somewhat leaky) tents overnight.

Ironfest US soldiers
These lads are dressed as US soldiers from WWII and bravely slept in their historically accurate tents, although on detailed quizzing they fessed up that due to the torrential rain there may have been some sneakage into historically inaccurate vehicles during the night.
To our absolute delight, it’s a canine friendly event, although it should be said that the boom of simulated cannons and the pyrotechnics don’t suit every dog Dogs with noise or storm phobias should steer clear. As long as it’s not someone ringing a doorbell, Phil remains remarkably calm. Mind you, tents – historically accurate or otherwise – are not Phil’s thing, so we attended for a day only.

Ironfest steampunk
Phil meets a steampunk with an impressive prosethetic arm.
It’s the first time Phil and I have been to this sort of event together, and boy was he a crowd-pleaser. He doesn’t have a medieval outfit in his collection but he wore a royal blue number (we were thinking kings and queens and knights of olde).  

As we wandered around admiring the incredible costumes, Phil managed to draw smiles from hardened World War II soliders, knights, maidens, Mongolian warlords and steampunks alike.

Ironfest warrior
Phil is unfazed by warriors.
The most surreal moment was when my friend Carrie was placed in stocks by a gent who was playing a very convincing medieval hangman. He was taunting her while she was being whipped (for what crime I never found out) when he suddenly spotted Phil sitting quietly in my arms.

These guys were simulating some sort of medieval justice, and were quite scary, til the hangman (on the right) spotted Phil. You can see him break into a smile.
He melted and reached old, taking Phil and gently stroking him and reflecting on his own dog, a lhasa apso, whom he had to leave at home for the day. During this very touching monologue Carrie was politely trying to disengage from the stocks but this guy was so set on getting his dog fix that he was in another world. Such is the power of the human animal bond.

Phil at Ironfest
Phil brings out everyone's inner softie.
For more info on Ironfest, visit the website here.