Hail and well met! If you’re looking for something off the beaten path and fun for the family consider the New York Renaissance Festival in Sterling Forest, Tuxedo New York. This year it is being held between August 7 and September 26.
The festival is a mixture of both organized plays and loosely based improv acting set against a 15th and 16th century European backdrop. A running story through out the day of the festival involves well known characters as Robin Hood, Will Scarlett, Little John, Ivanhoe and a whole host of other familiar names from the era. The characters participate in contests such as a living chess game where the pieces are the actors who engage in combat as a game of chess is played out. You may see the occasional whimsical reference or two to famous figures such as Leonardo DaVinci. A sign on the way to the privy states the flushing toilet was his greatest invention.
The most exciting contests that hold the most appeal to everyone would have to be the jousting matches. The vibrant colors of the flowing pageantry complete the fast paced action of various forms of combat such as jousting, maces, and swordplay. You can sit in the section of your champion and cheer (or jeer) him on.
Just a sampling of some of the things you’ll find when you’re there are, Shakespearean plays, comedic shows, acrobatics, knife throwing, falconry, and dancing. Periodically you’ll run into wandering actors spread through out the whole fair grounds who love to get you and the kids involved in the spirit of the festival. For example, there is a young woman who refers to herself only as “The Optomist” as evidenced by the cardboard around her neck that says “The optimist is in”. You can basically give her the worst sob story any one has ever heard and she’ll put the most positive spin on it you can imagine.
Festival goers can try their hand at games such as archery, ax and knife throwing, and even tomato tossing at some poor unfortunate soul who probably doesn’t get paid enough for the abuse.
Ever present in the background can be heard the singing of traditional madrigals, the trill of pan pipes or hammered dulcimers to keep your ears as busy and involved as your eyes.
When you’re hungry you can eat like they did in the good old days and have yourself a big chicken leg with nothing but your hands and grease dripping down your chin. You can sample various meats, meads and ales, typical of meat and potatoes fare and even the occasional eggplant sandwich or quesadilla.
Kids will love face painting, hair braiding, games and rides throughout the fair grounds. There’s a fun maze to help the youngsters burn off some of that energy from the cheesecake on a stick they just inhaled.
Some festival attendees come dressed for the occasion. Outfits range from highly professionally made accurate period costumes to the most hastily thrown together assemblies of whatever people happen to have available. All of it is in the spirit of participating in the escapism from everyday life it affords and a chance to walk freely among fellow enthusiasts for the fun of it. Who hasn’t picked up a tree branch or whittled a make shift wooden sword and went to battle an imaginary dragon or pretended they were a damsel in distress waiting for their knight in shining armor to sweep them off their feet and ride off into the sunset as a kid?
To find out more just go to http://www.renfair.com/ny/.