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

Three Pints Shy- This is a very good medieval music group. They seemed like a bunch of great people, and I hope that if you get a chance, you should check them out.

Halderberg Meadworks- The produce a very good quality mead, at a very reasonable price. I bought a pint of mead from them.  If you are ever having a party, give your guests a chance to try out mead.

Teardrop Creations-Gifted artisans that produce some of the best jewelry I have seen at one of these events. They were very friendly, and we spoke for several minutes. This is a definite recommendation from me for anyone looking for beautiful custom-made jewelry.

In conclusion, I truly enjoyed this mediaeval faire. I hope it continues each year, and that it expands with more entertainers, artisans and shop keepers. I hope that in the future, it could be extended to more weekends. This faire could become a major attraction to the Albany NY area.

Next time: We continue our summer medieval adventure. (Weather permiting I may be attending this weekend’s Mutton and Mead Festival in Montague, MA.)


  1. I have never attended one of these Medieval Faires, but I've heard of them. There wis one just north of Chicago and I should have taken advantage of that when I lived a short distance away in Milwaukee. Looks like a beautiful spot with lots of interesting things to see.

  2. Hi William, this is Peter/Magnus, one of the SCA folks you talked to at the faire!

    It really warms my heart to hear that our demo - the goal of which was to show just how historically geeky the SCA is - did the thing I wanted it to do! Thank you very much for the kind words!

    And if you need more information about how to get involved, feel free to drop me a line. I think you'll really find a lot of value in our little slice of recreation.

    Thank you again!

  3. I attended a Renaissance Faire for the first time two years ago. It was very interesting and a lot of fun. That faire also had some beautiful artisan works.

  4. I've heard of medieval fairs, or renaissance faires - and you're right, participants are real sticklers for detail. I know a woman who made her gown, with the sleeves sewn with seams on the side, not like modern day sleeves at all. There's also a great attention to rank, and how that's displayed - crowns, and so forth. A whole world to itself!

  5. I've only been to one Renaissance Festival in North Carolina and I really loved it. I would probably have to go all the way to Seattle to find a good one now, and that's a full day's drive away. My favorite part was the jousting match.

  6. I had no idea there were so many medieval fairies around. I've been to the one at Sterling Forest but not for several years. New York State in summer is beautiful. I think the fact that summer is so short makes it kind of festive.

  7. I checked out a couple of Three Pints Shy's YouTube clips at:


    I'm not sure I would call them "medieval", but they were authentically folky and everyone seemed to be having fun.

    1. I am sure they have a vast repertoire, so at medieval faires they play medieval music.

  8. Years ago we went to one when my son was a baby (he's now 20). I'm thinking my daughter who likes theater would probably enjoy this. They do have them in NJ, and we are not far from upstate NY.

    1. It does seem to have a lot in NY, This weekend I am headed to the Mutton and Mead festival in Mass.
      I know in NJ they have Medieval Times, which is a dinner and medieval show. I have never been to one of them yet.

  9. I'm certainly not surprised that you would be interested in these! I love Renaissance fairs or faires of any name. I have enjoyed a number of them and look forward to the next.

  10. It's been a while since Ive been to a Ren fair, but they really can be a lot of fun. What a perfect event for you to go to. Glad it was a good day.

  11. hi william; first rate job bringing us with you on your journey to the renaissance festival. and a lot of these operations are run as part of a agri tourism or pick your own business. this october when its cold and nasty in new york you aught to head down to humble texas for one of the biggest there is. and that's not just because of my natural texas pride. : take care, max

  12. We have a medieval festival that occurs every year outside of Atlanta. I haven't been in years but it was very fun. I need to visit it shortly.