Meeting Your Rennie Heroes

GARF represents at CONjuration

This past weekend I joined some friends at a small convention in Atlanta called “CONjuration” ( whose magical theme gives fans of the Harry Potter universe a place to gather and share their love of J.K. Rowling’s works. This was the convention’s 5th year and its first time at the Atlanta Airport Hilton. It was my second time to attend this con and my first time to dress up in a Potter-themed costume.

Truth be told I never read the books and only remember fragments of the films, so I was glad that my friends steeped in Harry Potter lore overlooked my weekend escapade as a counterfeit Weasley. Special thanks to the gentleman cosplaying as Ollivander for the gift of a proper magic wand – the one I’d brought along was carved from a fallen branch in the back yard and had a wicked bend at the tip.

The Best Moment

My favorite moment of CONjuration happened at the promotional table for the Georgia Renaissance Festival (aka “GARF”). My friends Kimberly and Lucas had been manning the promo table since before I arrived in late-afternoon. I had already said ‘hi’ to them, but after emerging from the dealers room theirs were the only familiar faces so I headed over to stand with them.

As I walked up I saw that a lady about my age was recounting a story from a number of years ago when she had brought some girls to GARF.  I couldn’t hear her well at first, but I think they may have been a troop of girl scouts.

Apparently, improvisations by Kimberly and several others on the cast made quite an impression on those girls, who are now young women. That was pretty cool.

I assume that Kim had been playing the Faery Queen at the time, as she has played that character for a number of years at the festival.  She was always so very popular among a lot of the little girls at the festival.

So last night Kim was beaming as this lady spoke, and Lucas had a big smile on his face too. They filled in blanks as her story unfolded.

Holdyn Twyst

Kim and Lucas just smiled and glanced at each other when the lady began to explain to them that there used to be an executioner character at GARF who crafted a unique and hilarious experience for each of the girls in the group.

The lady didn’t pick up their exchange of glances, but I did and it was killing me because it was all too apparent how much the cleverness of that executioner held in her memories of that day.

I couldn’t stand it any longer so interrupted the lady by addressing Kim and Lucas and demanding “Can I tell her? Can I tell her???

They both smiled and I took that as permission, so I turned to the lady who was now looking at me with curiosity at my interruption.

I pointed at Lucas and said “HE was the executioner!”

Lucas stood there beaming, as did Kim.

You could see the gears turning in the lady’s head, because she was remembering Lucas when he was a giant of a man in an executioner’s hood, back before he trimmed up and began dressing like a fashion plate.

As Lucas and Kim nodded assurance that he really was that very same executioner (whose name is name: Holdyn Twyst), our friend Molly walked up.

Hearing “Thank You”

Now Molly was at CONjuration as a vendor this year.  She has a business called O Christmas Geek, which specializes in holiday ornaments for the geek set. Check it out.

However, Molly is also an old-school GARF cast member and has known Lucas and Kim far longer than I have.

“Something is happening here…” she observed quietly, noting the emotional moment that had just started unfolding between the lady, Kim, and Lucas.

If this was on video it would have been shared a million times by rennies around the world and I’m glad I was there to witness the chance reunion in person and share it here in my blog.

Life rarely affords us the opportunity to go back later and say “thank you” to people in positions of service who take care of us at various points – like nurses or teachers. Rare is the moment that those people encounter a former patient or student who tells them how everything turned out, and what an impact they made on that person’s life.

Playing fictional characters at a Renaissance faire may seem trivial to most, but you never know what impact you might make on someone else.

I’m not sure which of my friends plan to return as cast members or musicians in 2019, but you should know that you have undoubtedly left similar happy feelings in the hearts of patrons over the years, most certainly mine.

The photo at the top shows Wade, Kimberly, and Lucas – all former cast mates from GARF.

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