Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New York Renaissance Faire, and the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival

As I have over the last several blog posts, I first want to discuss the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival, this wonderful event will be held on September 17.
The team responsible for putting on this festival have worked hard and long to make it one of the best in the country.  I would suggest you check them out on their website.
The Saratoga Springs International Film Festival is striving to bring independent films of any style and genre to a diverse audience. Come to the Saratoga Springs City Center and Bow Tie Cinemas to become a part of the first Saratoga Springs International Film Festival.
New York Renaissance Faire.
I recently attended the New York Renaissance Faire (NYRF) located at Route 600 17A, Tuxedo, NY.  This is located approximately 45 miles north of the George Washington Bridge in NYC, and a two hour south of Albany, NY. I have mentioned in a past post that this is located in Sterling Forest in New York State and not to be confused with Sterling, NY which is the location of the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
As readers of my post, you will remember I visit many smaller weekend local medieval fairs. These events usually consist of many of the acts and vendors in tents. You will not see this at the NYRF, because it is actually a small medieval style village designed for this fair. There are renaissance style houses and buildings for almost every single vendor or artists. 
This is very similar to when I attended the Sterling Renaissance Fair; however, the sheer size of the NYRF makes it one of the largest and important medieval/renaissance faires in the country.  Being this large (it is located on over 65 acres of land), I will advise wearing the appropriate footwear, for you will be walking long distances if you want to see the entire faire.

Speaking of buildings, there were several new or rebuilt attractions this year. The Roselawn Tournement field was rebuilt, and now features VIP seating for viewing the joust better. In addition, a new Pirate’s Cove has been added where you can see and meet pirates, and even purchase pirate dress and loot.

The following are some of the people or acts I caught at the fair.  As I stated earlier, this is a large faire, and you could spend days trying to view everything they offer.
Vixens En Garde-  This is one of my favorite groups.  As you remember, I have written about their act at the NY Capitol Region RenaissanceFaire and the Mutton and Mead Festival.

The Vixens En Garde are a group of lovely ladies who will entertain the audience with bits of Shakespeare, combined with comedy, and of course sword play.  They are an act not to be missed. If you ever are responsible for an event, contact them and see if you can hire them.

Vixens En Garde entertaining the crowd

Skáldvik Viking Village- Had an encampment displaying how Vikings lived during the 8th- 11th centuries. They are a group of living-history re-enactors, and you will learn something about the people of the north when you visit them. I was very impressed with the dedication of this group, and their knowledge of the people of the era.
Skáldvik Viking Village
The Guild of St. Longinus - This group reenacts the era around 1528, which was the height of the landsknecht.  (Again, see my post where I mentioned the history of this group),they were a group of German pike man mercenaries.

The Guild of St. Longinus village
This is another great group, which has dedicated themselves in recreated the lifestyle of this period.  They demonstrate the fighting techniques of this group, including the use of the lance, or sometimes referred to as a pike. There was even a Tross at their encampment.  A tross (also referred to as Dross) refers to the camp followers, including the Landsknecht’s family, who were also the support staff for the group carrying many of the necessities.
The Guild of St. Longinus training

Red Dog Forge – Shane Staiton is a blacksmith artisan. He made some excellent knives; it was a pleasure to see him working in his smithy.
Shane Staiton working hard at his trade
The joust- This is presented by the RoundtableProductions.  As with most medieval/renaissance faires, the joust is the highlight of the festival. This faire certainly knows how to put on the pomp and circumstance of a joust.
Parade before the joust

Before the joust, there was a procession led by the queen and her court, followed by representatives of almost every merchant and artist at the faire. Next, was a spectacular display of entertainment, as drums, and people with whips were keeping a steady beat, as a color guard and tumblers did their performance across the jousting field.  The queen herself then rode out on her gorgeous mount, followed by the knights.  
The Queen riding her horse

Many of my readers will remember one of my first posts where I included a glossary of my novel, this included definitions of jousting phrases. This glossary might help when discussing the joust.
The first contest was to test the skill of the knights; it consisted of tilting; this is where a knight uses his skill to strike or pierce an object with his lance.

Later, they had the full joust. Two knights striking each other with their lances on horseback. The knights of the Roundtable Productions are truly well trained individuals, and put on a very entertaining joust. To understand the complexity of this joust, you must realize it takes a mass amount of training, not just for the knight but also for the horses involved.

I could imagine how difficult it is to train as a knight in one of these jousts. As a pro wrestler, I was trained and trained how to fall properly, this consisted of hours of falling inside the ring. I could imagine how hard it must be to properly fall, off a horse with armor on.
As for the horse, it must be even more difficult to train them.  They must fight their natural instinct and learn how to run at another horse, heading toward a large lance pointed at them; compile that with many of them wearing caparisons (again see the glossary).
The fair runs this year from August 6 to October 2, so you will have time to visit it. I would suggest you visit their links to the marketplace and entertainers to see more.  As I said earlier in this post, this is one of the major renaissance fairs in the country,  and with this many performers and merchants you may want to determine beforehand which ones you wish to prioritize to visit first.

The faire has rides (all manpowered)
and games

I will say, because of its proximity to New York City, and its size and popularity, the fair will be packed with visitors. Also, for these reasons you might also find the prices are higher than those of smaller local fairs.  Just remember that you are attending a large, commercial attraction; if you come prepared you will have a wonderful time.

One of my favorites, a sea monster in the nearby pond

I had a fun time at the fair, and it was great to meet new people, and rekindle some friendships that I have made visiting other faires. In fact, I may revisit this faire in several weeks, when I do, there will be an additional blog about it.
Next: It is almost time for the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival; I dedicate the entire next post to it.

W.A. Rusho is a professional wrestler and author of the novel “Legend of the Mystic Knights”. The previous publisher of this novel is no longer in business, and so he is actively seeking a literary agent or publisher. If you wish to contact him, email him, or visit his website.


  1. Looks like great fun! I never understood how complicated jousting was until I watched the behind the scenes of "A Knight's Tale." What a lot of work to learn to do that!
    I love the sea monster!

    1. There used to be a cement sea monster, and I liked it too. But this new one, his head actually moves back and forth in the water.

  2. I have to agree with RoseMary, until I read your comment about training it never occurred to me how they would go about learning to joust, let alone train the horses. Definitely helps one to have a greater appreciation of the event!

  3. Hi William. You certainly have attended an abundance of film and Renaissance festivals this summer! I'm not sure how the Minnesota Renaissance Festival compares to the NYRF, but it is incredibly good (or at least was, the last time I visited.) I'd love to visit the one in New York to compare.

    1. If you do you have a choice between larger ones like the Sterling or New York Renaissance Faires, if you want smaller try the New York Capitol Region one, or take a trip to Mass and see the Mutton and Mead one, these two are my favorite small ones. But all the faires have something to offer.

  4. I attended NY Renaissance Faire last year. Not sure whether I'll make it there again this season.. Have to admit I was a little put off by the crowds

    1. Yes, this is why sometimes I do prefer the local ones. But, if you go prepared, and expect it, then it is not too bad. Go early, stay late.

  5. What a coincidence. Am currently reading Bertrand Russell's book "A History of Western Philosophy" have got as far as the Renaissance. And here you are with a renaissance festival.

  6. Hi William,
    I found you through Marquita's blog. Nice to meet you! I live in New Jersey, we had neighbors at one time that used to go to these fairs, They look amazing@ The Renaissance is a favorite time in history for me. Being a Art History major in college some of the most beautiful works of art were created ...

    1. Welcome, Thank you for visiting. I hope you will take some time and look through some past posts, I write a lot about the medieval and renaissance periods. Again, thank you for visiting my post.

  7. Your description of the joust procession made me think of the intro to "Peabody's Improbable History", one of the greatest cartoons of all time:

  8. William -- to think that I lived in New York City all those years and never knew about the New York Renaissance Faire. These Faires are a whole subculture that you are introducing me too. You brought the Faire to life with your photos.

    1. You must remember I lived way upstate, over 6 hrs away. I had been to the Sterling one, but did not get a chance to go to this one until I had moved down to Albany.

  9. I think I mentioned last year that I performed at this fair. It was one of my first paying acting jobs and it was such tiring, hard but rewarding work. It would be interesting to go back some day...as a guest. I'm sure quite a bit has changed since I was there.

    1. That is so cool, but I could imagine how tedious and tiring something like that could be, especially if during the summer when the temperature is higher.