First, I want to thank Jeri Walker for making me the featured author on her wonderful site.
I hope you take the time out and check out this online interview.
You may know Jeri, for she is a consistent contributor to the comment section on this page, she is also a great freelance editor and blogger. If you need editing work done, check her out on her website and her wonderful blog.
This will be the last post I do this year about attending a renaissance/medieval fair. And I left the largest if not the best for last. As you know I like to go to these types of faires, especially since I use them as research for my novels, including “Legend of the Mystic Knights”.
The New York Renaissance Faire, is the largest in the State of New York. There are others, most notably the Sterling Renaissance Festival, which I was unable to attend this year. The Sterling Faire is probably more historically accurate, but for sheer size, the NY Renaissance Faire is larger.
The New York Renaissance Faire is located in Tuxedo, NY, a rural community in the Catskills. It is over a 2 hour drive from my apartment near Albany to Tuxedo. I will say that MapQuest is not accurate when it comes telling you how long it takes to get somewhere, so if you go make appropriate estimates about driving times.
The faire is located near, if not in, the Sterling Forest State Park. The park consists of 21, 935 acres of pristine woodland. When you drive to the faire, you will be surprised how it sits in such a rural untouched area.
The faire is described as a “rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th century games, rides, arts crafts, food, music and dance.”
The particular weekend I went was the last weekend of the event for the year; it was also the Oktober Fest Weekend.
First give you some background on the New York Renaissance Faire. It is located in Tuxedo, NY, in the heart of the Sterling Forest. Now this is going to be a little confusing. This Sterling Forest is located in Orange Country, NY, in the southern tier of the state; it is located next to, but not to be confused with the New York Sterling Forest State Park (I mentioned above). To add to the confusion, there is a Sterling, NY which is located near Oswego NY, way upstate and also has its own renaissance festival (also see above).
Now that I have totally confused you, let’s get back to the New York Renaissance Faire. This faire is located on 65 acres, which comprises of woods, and also permanent structures, including shops and stages built for this faire.
So now let me describe my personal experience of this fair. I first must say it is not an easy drive to get to, from Albany, or New York City. Either direction, you first take the New York throughway, which is fast traveling, but you then must take NY 17S. This is a very long, winding country road, for someone like me who grew up in a rural area, the drive is perfect; however, I could see someone having difficulties in they were only accustomed to city driving. I also would recommend you pay attention, because animals (such as deer) will travel across this road.
As for the day, I could not have picked a better one. Last time I was here it was late summer, and had a girlfriend that seemed not to drink water or eat when she should, and suffered a lot from low blood sugar. Once we had gotten to the fair, it was too hot for her and I could not stand any more complaining so we left about ½ hour after we got there. Now, by myself, it is early fall, clear skies and temperatures around upper 60’s to low 70’s.
Now let’s get back to the faire, the first I will speak about are the attractions.
The highpoint of any medieval, renaissance festival is the joust, and of course the New York Renaissance Faire had one too. It consisted of a contest where numerous knights jousted against each other. Before the competition they had music, mostly drumming and flutes, and a group of dancers moving to the music. This was wonderfully choreographed and very enjoyable to watch, even the two guys dressed as mermaids was fun to watch.
The jousting itself was impressive as usual. When you do see some of these events, you will notice sometimes a knight will fall backwards before he is struck. This is normal with any of these jousts, but the knights are well trained and put on a great show.
The booths and vendors at this event are too numerous to mention them all. I will say some have impressive goods, and food. If you wish to purchase items at an event like this, bring lots of money.
Here are several that I did visit and had time to talk to.
Skáldvik Viking Village- This was very entraining and educational. It was a recreation of a Viking encampment consisting of tents, a fire, and people weaving and cooking and of course the Norsemen warriors.
Skáldvik or Skalds means story teller, and this was also part of their encampment. A person at this encampment told stories throughout the day of the Viking saga, including Norse gods and great deeds done by the Viking people. In the olden days, this was how the legends and history of this people was passed on from one generation to the next. If it was not for these people who kept their history alive in their heads, we may never know anything significant about the Norseman or their culture and history.
I actually wished I had time to spend more time at this camp and to speak to them. They will certainly be a group I will follow and see during next year’s medieval faire route I take.
Catskill Mountain Moccasins- This was one of the first stops I made at the faire. This group is located in Woodstock, NY so I will definitely take the time to check them out.
They produce some wonderful products (check out their site for more information). This is not your typical buy off the rack shoes and boots. These are custom made moccasins made to your specifications and molded to your feet and calves. If you want something that is unique, well fitted footwear, check these people out.
Bullseye NYRF- They do produce some spectacular leather products. I enjoyed speaking to one of their salespersons while I was there.
There were many at the faire dressed up. This included those who pay attention to historical details, and those who dress up in any manner they want. I did see someone in a combination knight, Darth Vader outfit. There were several dressed up as Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones”. My favorite was someone in costume as the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975), he was dressed completely in black, huge sword and even had one arm missing,
I am going to address some complaints out there are this event. Mostly of these are concerns that this is one big money trap. I cannot disagree with that, prices are high, but so what? This event is located an hour from New York City, so it is not a small town or regional faire, like the ones I have addressed before in my posts. Prices here are going to be elevated for the higher cost of living, and if they weren’t, I bet it could not function every weekend as if does now during the late summer. And unlike regional faires, this is run by a corporation (Renaissance Entertainment Corp) ; everyone complains about the prices at Disney parks, but they still go to them.
Another year of renaissance/medieval faires has come and gone. It was a year of experiencing new faires, and re-visiting old ones. I hope you had enjoyed me speaking about them over the past spring and summer. I will miss this time, but as I stated before we are now entering Halloween season, and this will give me more topics to talk about. Speaking of which, the buildings of the New York Renaissance Faire will be converted into the Forest of Fear during October.
Nest Week: The world’s largest garage sale, and another Comic Con.