I’ve always said that some time apart from New York can do wonders for my relationship with her; I come back sane again. But this weekend, when I ventured out of the city, I’m not sure I came back all that okay in the head.
Welcome to the Renaissance Faire.
This annual spectacle is held at Tuxedo Park, which is about an hour north west of the city. Despite the event being only on for a month, the structures and event space look pretty permanent – with vast stages, streets and ye olde buildings. It really is a wonderland.
And of course, there were the characters. Fairies, knights, actors and plenty of buxom ladies… all putting on some variation of an English accent.
I might have been a theater kid myself, but grown-up theatrical types who find it impossible to break character – especially those who look like they just walked out of Burning Man – can get my goat. But this weekend, all that changed. The actors were so fun and welcoming and silly… and now I kind of want to work there next summer.
But they were all just a warm up for the main event. Jousting.
We took our seat in the stands to support a cheeky swain named Sir Tyrone. He got us yelling, fists pumping in the air, before he cantered off to battle. The riders hurtled towards each other and with crashing blows, struck each others’ shields – sending splinters flying.
It was so exhilarating to watch and I screamed until my face was purple. When I shut up for a second, I also noticed how skillful the riders were – and most importantly, how the horses seemed at ease. I get really sensitive around events that use animals but the horses looked so healthy.
After that excitement, we needed to take it easy and we had one final wander down the olde streets, trying on elf ears and snacking on terrible fried food.
Apart from the questionable accents and the costly tickets ($24 each), this day was a really great surprise. I had expected it to be kitschy and a bit cringey, but it was so much fun. It was this silly little bubble in the middle of the forest and everyone was just there to have a brilliant time.
So if you want a mini bit of insanity away from the city, you know where to go (it’s on until September 21st). Just make sure you send my love to Sir Tyrone.