Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where Fantasy Rules - Tuxedo Park, New York

Why yes, they ARE wearing capes in 90 degree heat

This past weekend I took a road trip down to Westchester County, New York to visit my sisters. Yeah, okay so technically I don't have any but I grew up with these two since I was around 5 years old and they're as close as it comes. In one of our inspired (and not just by alcohol) moments, we decided to go to the New York Renaissance Festival in Tuxedo Park, about an hour away.  The last time I had attended one was sometime in the early 1990s in the Bay Area of California. It was hot, dusty, wacky and entertaining. A fantastic combination--let's go!

Now for those of you not familiar with the American style Renaissance Festival, let me try to sum it up. Americans like to dress up. We do. This is the whole point of Halloween, Civil War reenactments, the Freedom Trail in Boston, the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco and Mardi Gras (though those last two are more about not dressing at all).  

As far as I recall from my American history classes, we did not experience the Renaissance in the US. That stopped us never from dressing up in giant gowns, small corsets, codpieces, hats, and floral wreaths.  Seriously, it was 90000000000 degrees in the shade and people were in armor, velvet and furs.Oh, and one Storm Trooper who greeted any questions with "Long long ago, in a universe far far away" or whatever that folderal is.

Wait, so did I sum it up? No? Okay, get thousands of people together on 6 consecutive weekends in August and September in a tiny one-pub town in midstate New York, charge $29 ($19 for those of us with smart girlfriends who pay ahead of time), and provide entertainment such as a live chess game (awesome sword play, unintelligible dialogue), jousting (huge horse, funny Sir David against the Scot Sir Angus), Vixens en Garde (bad), belly-dancing (ummm?), Birds of Prey, and Rotten Tomato throw. The latter merits a moment. But first the food.

Live chess match.

Vixens en Garde spouting Shakespeare and bad innuendo

Sir David of the Blue & Gold. He won.
One of my sons entered the fair (or "Faire" if you will) chanting "Turkey Leg, Turkey Leg" until he got one. It was HUGE. Approximately the size of his thigh. He could not pick it up and I ended up picking it off the bone for him. Our whole strategy was to keep the kids so overfed and overdrinked (non-alcoholic please) that they would not notice how hot and sticky it was. So that was followed by ice cream, frozen lemonade, Root beer floats (VERY medieval), and who knows what else. I do appreciate that the fair was pretty well-priced--a lemonade for $3 was a lot less than we would have gotten taken for at Disney.

If you tipped the waiter or waitress, they would yell "Huzzah" and shake their parts. Some corsets are made better than others and that is all I have to say about that. Well, that and I think my 7-year old son just grew up very fast. 

Remains of the turkey leg

We spent some time at the Rotten Tomato toss where for $2 you could throw three peeled tomatoes at a man in a wood "cage". He would wait for your shots by insulting you very creatively. One of the "targets" was so creative and funny in his insults that I started crying laughing. Especially when one of my sons confused him by asking about his green eyes or why he was so mean. The other son wanted to throw the tomatoes but once I told him that he had to take the insults without crying, he quickly backed down.

The kids all invested in wooden swords and daggers and shields or floral tiaras. Some adults invested in beer. I did not have any chocolate covered bacon no matter how much I was tempted (not for one second).

Americans are very strange. I like it.


The Renaissance Faire is in Tuxedo Park, NY all weekends until September 21. www.renfair.com. Highly recommend, but go early!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. Glad the children got a good history lesson :)