One of the Spring traditions at the University of California, Irvine, is the Wayzgoose Medieval Faire. An integral part of the Celebrate UCI! festivities, the Wayzgoose Medieval Faire serves to highlight the school's cultural and social diversity, enhance the bonds between the university and the city of Irvine, and attract potential new students. UC Irvine cleverly schedules the Wayzgoose to coincide with high school Spring Breaks, thus providing prospective Freshman with an appealing view of the school as they tour the facilities with their parents.
As UCI alumni, Cat and I have attended the Wayzgoose Medieval Faire every year for the past nine years. It's a convenient bit of lighthearted fun and a chance to stretch our legs around the ol' alma mater. I have to admit, the fair food produced by the students is another reason for my devotion to this celebration.
Every Wayzgoose has a silly theme to tie the whole thing together. This year's theme was Narnia. The students did a pretty good job decorating the courtyard between the Library and the Commons.
There was even a plastic lamppost.
"Hello, I'm Panda Tumnus. Welcome to Narnia."
In keeping with the medieval theme, one of the booths closest to the entrance is the weaponry demonstration staffed by the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a group of people who like to dress up in armor, and other period garb, and play knights. Some of these guys actually know what they're doing. Most of them don't. Still, the ones I've met tend to be an intelligent, fun-loving group of people. Their concept of fun just includes a lot of "thees", "thous", and belting each other over the head with blunt instruments. I can get behind that.
Of course, you take that, add a visiting Ninjafuzz, a sick Cat doped up on cold meds, and a beer garden with a poorly worded sign, and you have a recipe for silly mayhem. I didn't know ninjas could also be Siths. Use the Force, Cat!
The overall food quality at Wayzgoose can be a hit or miss proposition, as the students running the booths change every few years. However, since the majority of the fare is homemade, it tends to be above average overall, particularly in regards to ethnic eats. The best part is the variety. There's always a lot of food at really cheap prices.
Take these tasty lil' lumpia, Philippine style spring rolls filled with tasty pork. Cat's favorite comfort food.
How about some homey pigs in a blanket, made using instant biscuit dough from a tin? Mmm... Just like mom used to make them. Seriously, I've missed these.
These are big grills all over the place, roasting up trenchers of tasty meats and sending fragrant smoke wafting everywhere. Don't these guys look happy? I know I was.
Spicy hot links for Cat and Ninjafuzz...
... and this savory, perfectly caramelized piece of chicken for me.
The whole event is hosted in Aldrich Park, smack dab in the center of the UC Irvine campus. When you're ready to sit down and eat, you just set up camp where you're less likely to get stepped on.
Even then, you're not safe from cute girls carrying cartons of cotton candy, particularly if your fiancée has gotten much too good at giving you the sad puppy eyes. Sad kitty eyes in her case.
Ninjafuzz spotted some tasty looking egg rolls being fried up fresh. Never one to pass up the tubular tasties, he stealthily ninja-ed his way over and scored some.
As usual, this led to the obligatory "big bite" or "money" shot. I'm really not sure this is safe for work.
I went for a frosty horchata at another booth, cause the panda, he does lovies the rice.
Coming down a bit from her sugar high, Cat went for some cinnamon coated, fried goodness in churro form.
Wayzgoose provides a number of fun diversions to work off some of those calories, including pony rides, video games, gladiator-like apparatus, a bounce house, and a petting zoo. There are also a number of student-run carnival games, like this one.
I normally don't approve of cruelty to pandas, but I made an exception for the cute Taiwanese girls staffing the Republic of China Student Association. I'll take a pin to the tail for the cause.
The large stage hosts a variety of live performances, from this indie rock band to dancers, martial arts demos, and taiko drummers. The band was enthusiastic, if nothing else. Watch Ninjafuzz rock out in the video.
You can also get educated on a number of worthwhile causes. This charming fellow's dance for the children earned Unicef a few dollars from Cat and a spot in this article. Support Unicef. It's a great organization.
The biggest event at Wayzgoose is the annual Classic Car Competition, which brings out dozens of gorgeous vehicles from all around Southern California.
I love working my way through the display. It's like walking through the evolution of the American automobile industry.
There are a lot of unique vehicles. Isn't this little guy the cutest car you've ever seen?
Scary demon car! Stay away!
No trip to Wayzgoose is complete for Cat and I without a stop at the Campuswide Honors Program Cookie Booth. Cat and I were both in the UCI CHP when we were students. We feel obligated to support them. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with their delicious cookies. Mmm... Tastes like academic excellence...
Wayzgoose Medieval Faire - For a bite of student life. Go support UC Irvine and have fun sampling all the good eats.
Wayzgoose Medieval Faire
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697