Renaissance Faire

September 2006

Sterling Forest, Tuxedo, NY

Here are some shots of my visit to the New York State Renaissance Faire. It runs from August through the middle of September in Sterling Forest, NY.

The people organizing the event dress in period costumes and act out a series of day-long plot-driven skits, culminating in an impressive joust at the end of the day. Visitors are encouraged to dress in costume, but it's not a requirement. If you do, you can't help but feel drawn into the festivities. You get to be somebody else for a day, which is a nice way to get away from the strains of everyday life. It seems to be especially fun for kids. Little boys ran around with wooden swords. Girls wore flowers in their hair. And all wanted to help rescue Robin Hood from clutches of the evil Sheriff of Notthingham.

I would have like to have gotten more images, but my short focal length lens failed when my sister tried to take my picture (not her fault). So I can claim the dubious honor breaking the lens of a camera that tried to take my picture.

The images on this page are low resolution. High resolution shots (8 megapixel) are available. E-mail me. All are copyrighted according to the Creative Commons license described on my main photo page.

Arriving at the opening (10 am), we were greeted by assorted pirates who throw eye patches to the guests.
The main players introduce the day's story line shortly after the opening. Seated center is Queen Elizabeth. Various nobility surround her.
Guests can wear their own period costumes - as the woman on the left - or wear their standard summer clothes. Regardless, participation in the day's events is encouraged, which makes it fun for all. (Events that include weapons are the exception, of course.) Here Brother John of Robin Hood fame, secures the assistance of stand ins for the Mayor of Nottingham and Maid Marion. He sets up a demonstration of the portly gait of the mayor.
And here is the walk itself.
Lastly, here is the real mayor and Maid Marion.
This photo illustrates a demonstration that is not tied to the story line: EarthQuest's Birds Of Prey. Here, one of the trainers holds aloft a peregrine falcon. EarthQuest is licensed by NY State to house predatory birds that are judged not releasable into the wild.

And a closeup of the falcon. This species is the fastest creature on the planet, capable of diving at greater than 200 mph.

Some guests come to the Faire with parrots as part of their ensemble. The trainer asked one such participant to remove himself from the vicinity because peregrine falcons like to hunt small birds.

A barn owl that had become imprinted on humans.
The same shot, cropped to show the barn owl.
A southwestern harrier hawk. EarthQuest also houses an Andean Condor, which was not presented at the session that I attended.
This had to be the day's most interesting costume worn by a participant. Yes, that is a goose facsimile on her head, complete with the nest. She wore it the entire day and did not seem indisposed by it.
Gathering for the joust in one of the stands in the field corners. Most guests were dressed in normal summer clothing. If you look closely, you can see a few in costume.
Playing the role of a fire-breathing dragon soon to be slain by Sir George. Won 2nd place in the 2006 Photo Contest.
The culminating event of the day is the jousting. While measures are taken to protect the actors, this definitely does not come across as play acting. It's as real as a 21st century tourist can imagine it to be, except for the absence of blood and broken bones.
Wooden lances splinter on the force of impact. Some of the child spectators got to take a souvenir splinter home, as they were handed out after the event ended.

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