I remember singing on stage in an a capella choir in a beautiful Renaissance gown, getting chased by boys into the bushes and my brother buying me a hand-carved wooden ocarina, which I still treasure.
Fourteen years later, the Renaissance Fair is still holding court in Sunset Park, transporting children and amusing parents with a wide array of period entertainments and none of the questionable hygiene. The festival offers full-contact jousting tournaments, gladiator battles, black powder demonstrations, strolling minstrels, contortionists, magicians, storytellers, jokers, jugglers, flame eaters, belly dancers, trained parrots and pirates. If that’s not enough, there are also rides and old-school carnival games like bow and arrow and axe target practice. Buy three axe throws get the fourth free! The Renaissance Fair also exhibits historic technology with demonstrations of medieval barbershops and surgery techniques (rusty scalpels and leaches not included). In the 16th Century Village, German, Italian, Ottoman Turk, French, Celtic, Polish and British military encampments meet on the Field of Honor for battle.
Several stages will feature entertainment with costumed performers presenting more than 50 shows per day along with historical re-enactments, tournaments and medieval pageantry. More than 100 artisans – including blacksmiths, stained glass designers, jewelers, wood workers, toy makers, perfume blenders and armor craftsman – will be on hand to demonstrate and sell their wares. Consider the virtues of a wooden Renaissance toy over a Wii for Christmas this year. Actually don’t – crying children are annoying in any century.
As a child the fair felt like stepping into a story book or a Hollywood movie, but today my adult self is most excited about the no-holds-barred gladiator battles and the men dressed 300-style in nothing but a helmet, red cape and leather underwear, Well, that and the fish and chips.