Saturday, November 15, 2014

The River Thames Freezes in Second Life

 Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew -

Wanted to know what the River knew,

Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,

For they were young, and the Thames was old

And this is the tale that River told:

Rudyard Kipling


          The year is drawing to a close.

          Thoughts (at least mine) turn to the Holidays and their traditions.

          Second Life (SL) as does Real Life (RL) has its traditions for this time of the year.

          One of these traditions is a Christmas extravaganza put on by the inimitable Perryn Peterson, the Mayor of Mieville. 

          Folks still talk about his Christkindlmarkt that he put on last year and his A Christmas Carol before that. 

          True to form, this year Perryn has gone looking for something different yet original which will entertain his guests.

          Care to guess?

          Drum roll please.  (Significant Other rolls eyes and mumbles something about laying it on a bit thick.)

          This year’s Christmas celebration is derived from the 1814 Frost Fair in London which was the last time the River Thames froze solid enough for people to not only walk across but to throw a four day party because apparently with the river frozen there wasn’t a lot else for the folks whose living depended on its waters flowing to do otherwise. 

          Appropriately, Perryn has entitled this year’s event, “The Thames River Frost Fair.”

          (I don’t know how Perry digs up these little nuggets of history, but he sure can find ‘em!)

          The freezing of the Thames came towards the end of a period known as the Little Ice Age. The 1814 occurrence is also the last time that the Thames has frozen over so completely and solidly. (Please let’s not get into any arguments over global warming, I get enough of that in RL.) 

          The Frost Fair was an occasion for celebration with food, drink, and dance.  An ox was roasted on the ice.  Pubs and other shops were set up on the ice forming what was like a small town for several days.  Even an elephant was walked across the ice to show how frozen solid it was.  (Yes, I did ask Perryn if he’d have an elephant at his.  He replied he would if he could but not to hold my breath.  I tried!)

          Apparently, Perryn shared with me there’s even a piece of gingerbread left over from the original Frost Fair somewhere in a museum in London.  (I’ll bet it’s the Victoria & Albert.  That place has everything they don’t know where else to put in England.) 

Perryn’s Frost Fair is very much in the spirit of the original.

          Frost Fair is Perryn’s largest festival to date both in terms of size and participants. 

          Size wise, it’s almost an entire sim.  Regarding participants, over 150 merchants will be participating which is another record for him.

          Rezzing into Frost Fair, one is immediately hit by the stark, white reality of winter.  It even feels cold.  The landing zone overlooks the Fair and it’s big!

           A large frozen area represents the frozen waters of the River Thames and is bisected by London Bridge.  (What?  Did you expect the George Washington Bridge perhaps?) At one end is small group of buildings representing London itself.

          Frost Fair is divided into three areas, two of them on ice.  The third is contained in London proper.

          One area contains shops with spots for refreshments and relaxation.  This has been sponsored by Mountain Rose.

          The second area contains additional shopping as well as the amusement area with all the rides.  (Yes, Perryn may have taken a few liberties with the anachronisms but this is SL after all!)  BTW, watch out for the polar bear wandering around here.

          The third area located on terra firma (Or as terra firma as anything can be inworld) on a low bluff overlooking the river has shops for the merchants and their offerings.  The gacha building will be located here and there is a rumor that Santa’s Workshop may be here as well.

          Wandering through the fair, I see booths, shops, and barges (frozen in place) arranged for all the merchants.  When it opens, the Fair is going to be a very busy place!  As usual, Perryn has attracted the best merchants and the finest merchandise to be seen in one place inworld.  Definitely the place to go for Holiday gifts for your loved ones and friends.  (Or, just treat yourself if no one else does!)

Besides shopping there will be a full range of activities during Frost Fair.  Storytellers will be scheduled, and dances and parties will be held.  Check in regularly to see what’s going to be happening.  An Advent calendar will also be available in the town area dispensing a different gift for each day. 

Frost Fair will run from November 28th to December 28th and can be found here.

          This promises to be a fun event in the spirit of holiday festivals in SL.

          I’ll be around and hope to meet you there!

          Additional Frost Fair pictures may be found here.

          Happy Holidays!

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.         

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          Open roads and kind fires!

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