Who's Guarding Your Gate?
The TRF Beefeaters FAQ (Yes, we really are asked these questions. Constantly.)
Do you know where the bathroom is?
Where’s the nearest bathroom?
I love this one. Do you honestly think that after you come up and tell me that you have to go, I’m going to keep that little tid-bit to myself?
Are there bathrooms inside?
Well, there are lots of bushes. OK, yes, in addition to the one outside the gates there are ten more privies (bathrooms) inside with a total of 302 flush toilets, and 245 urinals for the guys. You can relax now.
May I take your picture?
Of course! It is what I live for!
What do I do if I need to go to the car?
This is usually followed by a lengthy explanation of why they need to go to the car. It’s OK; just get a hand stamp when you exit. Also, you are not required to tell us all the details of what you did when you come back either. (Unless it was kinky, Bartrand likes to hear that sort of thing).
Where’s the nearest place to get a beer?
I guess we just look like beer drinkers. Go inside. Stay to the right, it will be on your right side. It’s called Merlin’s Tavern. Tell the girls I said “Hello”.
Is that your real accent?
Is that yours?
Can I have a stub?
Beefeaters do not have stubs.
-but I need it to prove I was here!
We are required to take the whole ticket. Perhaps you can find something else to prove you were here. I have heard that if you write a nice note to the main office they will send you a cancelled ticket after the season is over.
Where’s the gin?
Out back. In a barrel. Where I drown people who think they are being clever by asking me “Where’s the gin?”.
Where is the chapel?
If I wear a costume do I get in for free?
-but I did last year!
No, you didn’t. To the best of my knowledge the TRF has never allowed free entrance if you wore a costume. I know for a fact that that has not been the case since 1978 because my predecessor Captain George worked the gate since then, long before there were TRF Beefeaters. (You might remember him as “Lord of the Gate”, or at the least you probably remember the codpiece!). About twenty years ago we let children in on Halloween weekend only, if they were in Halloween costume.
Is that pike (that you carry) real?
Yes, but the blade is a bit dull from bashing people in the head who ask silly questions. (When we patrol the courtyard we carry a pike)
May I hold your pike?
But my lady, I hardly know you!
Seriously- We never let patrons hold the pike; they might bash us in the head for being silly.
What kind of vine is that?
(The front gate area is covered with beautiful vines). Actually there are three different vines growing together. There is Jack Bean Vine, or Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine (Dolichos Lablab), which has the small pink or purple flowers and purple bean pods, Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus), which has small pink or coral flowers, and Filipino Morning Glory (Ipomoea), with the large blue flowers.
Where did you get your uniform (costume)?
It was issued to me by the King.
It’s great! Who made it?
The TRF Beefeater’s uniforms (costumes) were designed and created, by hand, by Mrs. Eulice Vail. You may also have known her as the Grand Duchess. The current incarnation of our uniforms are based on her original design.
What do Beefeaters have under their skirts?
Nothing you haven’t seen before, my lady, just a little bigger!!
-May I look?
Actually many “ladies” fail to ask first before they look. And for the guys out there :”I don’t do hairy knuckles.”
What’s going on inside?
A festival. (Yes, people actually come up to the gate and ask).
This ticket is for a whole group, see it says GROUP on it.
That means that the ticket was sold at the group discount. I’m never sure if I should be scared that someone really believes the ticket is for a vague “group of people” or insulted that they think I would believe it.
Is smoking allowed inside?
Boy, you smokers sure are getting paranoid. Yes, smoking is allowed, and no, you may not bum a fag.
Have you seen a guy in blue jeans and a white T-shirt? (you may substitute any description you like here).
Probably. Do I remember seeing them? Probably not. Our average daily attendance is over 28,000 people a day. I’m good, but I’m not that good!
How do I get your job?
I suppose it is a matter of your timing. Turnover is very low, so you never know when we might need a new Beefeater. We usually find replacements through friends and relatives, but if you’re really interested let one of us know in the off season, but I prefer referrals. There are, however, many other jobs to be had at the faire. If you have your heart set on playing one of the costumed characters you see, (the ones with the official performers medallions), you’ll have to audition. Auditions are held in the spring, usually May, and you have to be willing and able to attend rehearsals for eight weekends before faire opens. My advice to people wanting to find a job at the faire is to find someone who is doing a job you would like to do, and discreetly ask them who they work for, and how to find this person. If you can talk to their employer while they are not too busy during faire do it. If not, find out how to get a hold of them during the week. You can also contact the festival office; certain jobs are listed with them.
I need that ticket so I can get in tomorrow, it’s a two day ticket right? Is this ticket good for the whole festival? (or variations on the theme)
All tickets are good for one day only. They are printed with the dates that they are valid, and are good any one of those days. There are two day tickets, consisting of two halves, each half clearly marked for which one day, a Saturday or a Sunday, they are valid. All tickets are good for one day only. You must surrender your ticket to enter the festival grounds. Tickets are good for one day only. Yes, I know when you go to a movie theatre you get half the ticket back, but since movies haven’t been invented yet, we keep the whole ticket!
How long did you train to become a Beefeater?
15 minutes. No really- I showed up my first day, I was shown samples of that year’s tickets, told not to take any others, and not to let in coolers or pets. And “Oh, yes -Have fun!” That was the sum of my training, and it’s been downhill ever since!