Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sterling, NY

Sunday we made our way to the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
The festival has been in activity since 1976 and I recall as a child attending with my parents.
I found these adorable little booths located just as we made our way to the main entrance...
whatever could those be? Possible remnants of the 1970's.

Since the doors opened we have been a few times as a family as well. Our last visit was in 2011 and we always have a good time. Nothing says fun like stepping back in time to the 1500's old England.

The festival it'self was in danger this year of opening at all. Apparently it was short of the funding to start the event. We were so Glad it opened!

Throughout the Fare are costumed actors who will stay within character throughout the day often interacting with you as you walk about the grounds. So many more "common folks" or rather patrons will dress up themselves to attend the festival. Gavin choose to wear his viking hat and attached beard. (note that mom or dad eventually took possession of it despite the verbal reminder it would not stay on his face for long).
 The costumes that surrounded us were amazing. You can even rent a costume if you do not have one for yourself. As neat as it is, I think I will stick to my tank tops and looks hot under some of those outfits.   
If you don't have the skills to make your own costume or care to rent, you can always buy an outfit. Dress shops are scattered all over the grounds. This one is stunning (as is it's price tag I am sure)

Here is another beauty.
As we cross the gates and hand over our ticket we are provided with literature to read...
The brochure reads like this, "Welcome the year is 1595. You have entered the village of Warwick England, a small country town not far from the bustling city  if London. .....Villages both  fair and foul have left their work and worry to prepare for this festival day of a rare visit from Queen Elizabeth and her court..."
You are transported back in time, and swept up in the merriment of the time.
We stroll along the streets first making our way down Caliban way stopping to admire the array of sword shops and other such treats of the day.
The boys have games on their to do list and up around the bend are the axe and knife throw.

They take several turns at both.

The enjoyment was in their face...not on the bulls-eye. Not axe throwers these two.
We then made our way along admiring the several shops encountering an opportunity to buy your own dragon..

Or...not (they were slightly CREEPY looking).
There is a slight debate over who is the next in line for being the King at our house.

Ben won!
A little fun was had by this board dragon rider, as he awaited guests to take flight.

 We admire a few more shops before we see several people following proceeding down the embankment of the High Road, curious we follow. However, we stop short to try our hand at a game.

Gavin LOST mercifully.
To boost ones confidence after loosing we headed towards archery. Shooting arrows will always make you feel better.
I say hello to a Falcon as we pass by.

The boys LOVED the archery, and guess who is taking shots right on the other side....

It was the queen and her court.....

 A small improv of acting takes place as the Spanish Princess takes humor in shooting an arrow at this young man's backside. As a reward for her pleasure, she gifts him with a jewel from her ring.
 Here he is after the backside shot...Ouch!!
 and as the princess rewards him with a gem.
 Countess of Shewsbury...

Up next we continued along the roadways to observe more shops and more games...There is a use for those dreadful rats....
How about a rat throw?

Not only is there a rat throwing game, but we also observed a rat throwing competition. These villagers used hand made sticks to yielded the rats into marked areas.
 The women in the black nearly hit me with a rat while she was practicing in the woods..

Explaining the rules of the game..
Some of the beautiful artwork that one can purchase at the shops along the way..stained glass butterfly's.

 leather boots..
 glass blown bulbs.

I simply loved these little Fairy doors...

I think I may have to make my own fairy garden next spring

Gavin opens one of the Fairy doors...
.And we all cross Lovers Bridge....

I did have Mark kiss me once we crossed...

Up next we enjoy one of the many daily performances throughout the town. This sword fighting of Don Juan and Miquel

These Characters sword fight at one point blindfolded. (Can you see the blindfold)

 Speaking of characters...look at this one...

Yep..he is all mine Ladies!!!
A little more traveling entertainment is the Bag piper.

We all enjoy a cool drink in the shade and listen for a bit before heading on towards the perhaps most popular event the JOUSTING. 
Along the way we I stop to admire these beautiful metal fountains...Isn't this incredible?

I so wish I had a few extra thousand dollars laying around. I could easily break bank at this place simply in all of the neat items you can buy.
Across the way is Ye field of honor....home of the Jousting.
We found a nice viewing point out of the sun and waited for the Queen to arrive.
 This spot was where the boys sat, during the show one of the horses came in to close knocked down one of the handlers and off came the riding knight. The handler fell just at Gavin's right knee, the whole crowd had moved back in an attempt to avoid what looked like it could have been a disaster.  All I could envision was one of those caught on video moments where the audience is hurt by the escaping animal. Thank goodness no one was hurt and the show continued!

 The Queen has arrived. "God save the Queen!"

There is a bit of discussion/performance at the far end of the field where the Queen and her Court sit for the joust. I'll admit it was difficult to hear, and often the announcer would ask the audience things like.."What say you?" and several audience members would reply in a loud garble of a word that was unclear...I was still unsure what they all said. I simply screamed along anyways.
Finally we were introduced  to the four knights. Each under armor gear and ordained with distinguished colors. I think this was explained more by the old white haired announcer that I could not understand. 
Here comes the blue knight...

 The green knight and most handsome...

 The yellow knight...

I must have missed the red knight. BUTT...anyways, below was Ben and Gavins view of the show. Watch for falling horse poop!!!

Let the games...begin!!!

A few sword fights...

and the handsome Hero!
Up next we took a stroll towards the eateries and found a bite to eat at the Rose and Crown eatery where I ran into this couple...pretty neat costume..

Mark and I had The Queen, which was a grilled turkey and cheddar on marbled rye. The boys had chicken nuggets. We added some more junk to the meal, french fries, onion rings, and fried ravioli. After filling ourselves to the busting point we took a walk to Tye Dunke Pond, where a trial by dunking was proceeding by the sheriff.
We missed why this young women was being accused, but we did watch her get dunked..

 the tables turned when the sheriff was ACCUSED and he too found himself in the dunk chair.
He was accused of making inappropriate comments about the a member of the communities wife.

As he was dunked he continued his inappropriate comments this time about the enjoyment of the fish now swimming in his pants. It was very funny. After the show he was run out of town, we found him laying on the ground along the path out where the theatrics continued as he was teased by a boy.

Next we made our way UP UP UP the steep hill alongside gooseneck slide into the Merchants Bend, where games of skill surrounded us, as well as the Tomato of Justice.

The boys were fascinated with this guy's crude banter to the audience and spent a long time just watching him get beat with flying tomatoes.
As they stayed to listen and watch the tomato beatings, I came upon the queen and her court enjoying tea under the shade of some trees.

Feeling I would make a wonderful queen..don't you think. ( You can tell by my face I was irritated at the photographer...)

I then enjoyed taking in the amazing craftsmanship of the permanent buildings built on the grounds, along with the continued amazing art one could purchase.

 The amazing attention to detail and authenticity to the time period truly is incredible.

Upon my return I found the boys engaged in another show.

Years ago they were invited to participate in this show...(Wish I could find the pictures). As the boys watched and later returned to the tomato of Justice I enjoyed the time people watching, There were certainly some interesting characters.

We took in a few more theatrics, and headed towards the shops, where they boys hinted at gaining themselves some swords of their own, and instead took a jaunt into The Maze.

Time to call it a GREAT DAY and head home. We all really enjoyed ourselves, somehow I have a feeling there will be a return visit some summer in our future,