Manolete’s 1000th Show – Michigan Renaissance Festival

For those of you who have not seen his show: Manolete blends humor and action, with his boledoras (weights on rope) that swing too fast to follow but make a resounding crack on the wood stage, and his death-defying fire acrobatics with flaming ropes, torches, and even lighting the helmet upon his head.

We heard him announce (and saw the sign) that he was coming up on his 1000th show on that stage and knew we needed to be there, front row, to witness such a milestone.

First – he showed off the proper definition of Manolete.

With that much time committed to one location, it’s no surprise he has made a great number of friends within the festival grounds, and they showed up throughout his performance to wish him congratulations and partake in the celebrations.

First was Emrys Fleet, Ratcatcher.

Manolete tried to continue setting up for his show, but it appears there are some leftovers from Tartanic onstage…

and his hiding spot was ineffective. Giggling he ducks backstage.

Now that the riff-raff are off the stage –

let’s hear it for Manolete!

He describes the seriousness of using flaming rope as entertainment…

Laughs at the danger…

and as he swings the ropes back and forth, to shake them of any excess “highly volatile flame liquid”, he says not to be disturbed should you feel any drops… o.o

and proceeds to set them aflame,

before laughing maniacally again.

He’s soon in the swing of things….

Another friend drops by…

to deliver some good vibrations…

all around.

Then someone else drops off this “flame protective codpiece”…

someone must have taken his measurements. ;)

Manolete realizes the show has gotten completely out of his control.

Showing his Spanish heritage:

Along with his flirty side:

Hey, he’s secure in his masculinity!

On to the bolas part of the show. Despite their simple appearance, they can be very dangerous once he starts swinging. Should one hit something on the stage floor that makes it change trajectory unexpectedly, he could easily have a nasty head wound. They were traditionally used for hunting after all….

Cracking himself up, as he walks through the crowd:

The Washing Well Wenches are here with their water buckets for safety!

Still manages to find the ONE person in the crowd who is clueless as to what’s coming up….

One half of the Zucchini Brothers showed up as well (exciting the crowd, as I’ve heard they’ve retired).

Some premature flamage

Now for the big finale… setting up for the dramatic pose:

Ohhhh, be glad you did those morning stretches! :scared:

Quick! Light it and hand over the torches!!


The dismount is harder than the setup….

The “I didn’t set myself or the stage on fire” jig:

Needs more fire! :mrgreen:

Wait wait! The Wenches are on alert, there is a small flame to douse!

Finally – my husband managed a video on his cell phone (we had trouble with the full camcorder sadly):

Manolete 1000th show 09-22-2012 from Melanie Castle on Vimeo.

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