Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer and Medieval Festivals, Part 2; Mutton and Mead

As you remember my last post dealt with the New York Capitol Renaissance Festival, this past weekend, I visited the Mutton and Mead Festival in Montague, MA.  Attending these types of festivals has given me a chance to promote my novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights".
I had never visited this festival before, and I had to rile on my old GPS to get me there.  The way there took me one way, while it navigated a different way when I returned.  Either way I had a spectacular view, for on the way there I went through woods and next to rivers and lakes and was lucky enough to have a bald eagle fly over the car.
On the way back, my GPS had me travel over the Hoosac Range, which is a part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. It was near Whitcomb Summit that I saw the most spectacular view over a valley I have ever seen in my life. I am planning a trip back to that area, just to go sightseeing.
Now back to the Mutton and Mead Festival.  This yearly event is not put on as a faire to entertain people, it benefits local causes.  It hosts a food drive for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and alos raised money for the Montague Common Hall.
I noticed when I first got the fair that the parking was set in a large field, and it was completely full. Having this many people at a two-day medieval festival is rather impressive, and I soon found out why.

As many of you know, I have attended numerous types of medieval and renaissance festivals in recent years. Without any reservation, I can say this was the most fun I have ever had at one of these types of events. I was totally impressed with how this festival was run, and the entertainment, and vendors at this show.

The following are performers, or demonstrators and vendors, at this faire which deserve mention:

The Brotherhood of Arrows and Swords- This is a group which dedicates themselves in the living aspect of medieval history. They do demonstrations to educate the public about this era in history.  I was privileged enough to see one of their demonstrations, and they are very informative and educational. You can find more about them on Facebook.

CIRQUE DU SEWER- Is one of the funniest and entertaining shows I have ever seen. Melissa Arleth is the performer of this show, along with her trained RATS. As she stated in this show, “Her rats are probably the most accurate part of a renaissance faire.”

If you have ever get a chance to see her show, you will be impressed with her comedy, agility and flexibility, along with how talented and smart her rodents are.

I was lucky enough to get some pretty good leather at the faire, at a very reasonable price from Tandy Leather.
The vendors for them were Theodore Hinman and Armene Margosian.  The leather I purchased will be used by me to create one of my new wrestling costumes, maybe even something I could wear at these medieval faires.
The Mutton and Mead Festival is very impressive, and the promoters of this faire should be proud of what they have accomplished.  This festival has a large following and attendance, great vendors and performers; the patrons of this event should extend this faire to more than one weekend a year. With some planning and a couple extra of weekends, this faire could rival those that run all summer long.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer and Medieval Festivals, Part 1

It is a special time of the year for me, for now summer has arrived, and it is time for the Renaissance Festival Season.  As many of you know I am the author of the fantasy novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights", the premise of my book is that the Middle Ages never ended.

I live in Upstate NY; this area gives us several things, long winters and short summers. And it is during these short summer season that I like attend many events. These include the numerous town, and county fairs, and of course Medieval and Renaissance Faires. (I hope you noticed I spell fairs when I am dealing with the typical fair with rides and games of chance, and that I used the old English version “Faire”, for the medieval type).

I did not always attend the medieval style faires. I believe my fascination with this started with my marital arts/military training. I once taught knife fighting; I am not speaking of defense against a knife, but how to use a knife in combat. My interest this led to learn more about edged weapons, including swords.

When you learn about swords, you inevitably study about knights. Combine this with my interest in history, and it led to me to understand how people lived during the medieval period. Naturally this also led to the medieval faire.

My first experience at a medieval faire was attending the Sterling Renaissance Festival, in Sterling, NY outside of Oswego. (The name of this town is very similar to Sterling Forest N.Y., which hosts a renaissance festival, but is 6 hours away.)

Since my first adventure at the Sterling faire, I have attended numerous renaissance and medieval faires over the years. This past weekend I attended the New York Capitol District Renaissance Faire,
in Altamont, NY (just outside of Albany, NY).  This is the 2nd year that this has been held, and my first time attending it.

It is located at the Indian Ladder Farms,  which is set in a picturesque valley surrounded by hills and mountains. The farm is noted for its apple and strawberry picking and hosts other events throughout the year. Even if you never go to one of these annual events, take the time to go visit it, you will not regret that decision.
The price of admission was $12 for an adult. This is more than reasonable for one of these smaller faires. In the past, I have paid much more for a lot less for being offered.
At this faire they had the typical medieval entertainment at such as; Belly dancers, knights, performers, and different varieties of food. The following are some of the people I met.

SCA-(Society for Creative Anachronism, The Eastern Kingdom) I must say this group changed my perception of them. It may have been their name, but I had always assumed they were people playing medieval combat without any regard for historical significance of what they were doing. I will admit, I Could NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.  This group is not only dedicated to fighting techniques (and from what I saw, they did very accurately too), but are also committed to educating people about the medieval world. I was so impressed with this group that I am planning on getting involved with them in the future.
Three Pints Shy