Kat’s guilty secret #122:

My first summer job was as a drench-a-wench at the Colorado Renaissance Festival.

Yup. I was a goofy teen with braces, plenty of self-centered teenage angst, and a taste for the theatrical. It was a perfect fit. I sat on the board above the dunk tank and hurled 16th-century insults at people, who then paid a buck to try to hit the target with a squishy softball and put me in my place, so to speak. I loved it.

Eventually I graduated to working at a jewelry booth and later at a pottery booth and clothing booth — much more dignified positions — and those were my steady summer jobs up until college. (My parents lived in the then-tiny town of Castle Rock, so summer jobs were a bit scarce.) But now it’s been years since I’ve been back. Last time I went, maybe four years ago, it just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t in costume, and walking around as a “patron” felt weird. I no longer knew half the staff. My old buddies who had played Celtic music, worked the archery games, sold handmade crafts, or hawked turkey legs had long moved on to real jobs and real lives. Except for a small handful of craftspeople, who have found a permanent home as Rennies and travel the road from fest to fest, it had completely changed. It was a disappointing experience.

Of course, every summer when the festival returns to its home in Larkspur, I think about heading down again to check it out. Maybe this time, I can go as a just-plain-patron and enjoy it? Or maybe I should just let it be one of those fond youthful memories and not sully it?

I think I’m going to go this weekend. If nothing else, it will be something of a last huzzah.