Up front: I despise Renaissance Fairs. First, they're hard to spell. Second, they’re typically designed to attract two types of people, troglodytes and cash-laden tourists, neither of whom I usually associate with. Here are the types of people I expected to see:
1. Twelve year old boys in the “Knights and swords are cool!” phase. That’s the one that comes after dinosaurs and trains, but before girls. Typically indicative of art school aspirations.
2. Dungeons and Dragons players. The actual game, not video games. These people crawl out of their mother’s pot hazed basement for an annual dose of Vitamin D.
3. LOTR fanatics. If you know the acronym, you are one.
4. Comic-Con rejects (if there is such a thing without being a tautology).
5. Grossly overweight faeries.
6. All of the above. Grossly overweight LOTR fanatic Comic-Con reject D&D playing boys.
Needless to say, I was not looking forward to getting dragged to the New York Renaissance Faire. So, in apology to all of the above, let me first say I was pleasantly surprised.
As she said, I did not expect it to be so big! Rather than a few ratty tents, a whole medieval town stretches across the Sterling Forest with permanent structures in cleverly designed themes. Most of them are stuffed with crap you’ll never need charging twice what it’s worth, but you already know that as a “mall”.
Here is who I actually saw: There were at least 30 grossly overweight faeries who realistically needed Dreamliner wings to fly. Bumblebees were laughing. There were plenty of Number 6 in attendance, but you have to admire their dedication! These were not amateurs in Halloween costumes. Some of them had spent thousands of dollars on elaborate costumes with period details. Bravo! And there were precious few of them. The crowds, reminiscent of Times Square on New Years Eve, were of a much wider demographic than I expected. Parents and kids, normal teenagers, even some old professionals (though with a distinct fetishistic bent). In other words, when you go, you’ll fit right in.
The entertainment is top notch. In five hours, I didn’t get to see it all. Professional entertainers made the price of the ticket a steal. Most of the fare is very much adult (rrrrribaldry!). The Washing Well Wenches are downright dirty. Arsene Dupin, who doesn’t say a word, will burn your cheeks with laughter. A word of advice, don't be late to his show. He has no tolerance for tardiness, or anything else for that matter. When I wasn't clapping because of the beer in my hand, he walked off the stage, pulled the cup out of my hand (not easy to do), set it on the bench next to me (this is called "withdrawal"), and forced me to clap.
I never thought I’d say it, but… GO! If you find yourself by accident in Tuxedo Park, New York in August and September, do yourself a favor and spend the day there. And look for me. I might even put down my polyhedral dice, dress up as Boromir, and go again.