We just attended the New York Renaissance Faire this past weekend. I have to say that it was a very positive experience and I wish the location was closer. It was very crowded, as one might expect with such a large faire, but we were able to find parking for $10 without much issue. I believe there was also free parking, but we didn’t want to take the time to figure that out and then walk further in the 90 degree heat.
Andy wore his Pictish Fox cuirass and bazubands that he finished constructing on the way down. Yes, On the way down. With an anvil and ball-peen hammer. In the car. Such is life. I wore the ever-popular Asiatic Lily Armor that was commissioned about a year ago. Since it was commissioned by a friend of ours, we were thankfully able to borrow it for the day. It is such a striking piece that I’m really glad we had it!
The faire is in a great location, it’s squarely located in the 22,000 acre Sterling Forest in New York. The paths are unpaved but very easy to navigate and as you might expect, you’re surrounded by mostly woods. The faire itself can get a little confusing because it is so large. I would recommend using a map and when that proves useless, ask someone around you. When we were leaving, it took us 30 minutes just to find the exit because we had been walking in the wrong direction. Everything is pretty well spaced and the vendors are all in actual freestanding structures instead of the tents you see at a lot of faires. This allows them to lock up at the end of the night instead of having to move all of their stock to a trailer or other location until the next day.
The Viking settlement was one of our favorite things. People pay the NYRF to come and camp on-site in primitive tents and live a viking-like lifestyle. Here they dress in period appropriate garb and use tools that vikings would have used for everyday activities such as spitting wood. It was a quieter area than the main faire and a nice place to get away to when we needed shade and relaxation.
The vendors are better overall than I have seen at smaller faires. You still get your typical lower end faire souvenirs, but for more serious enthusiasts and collectors, there are plenty of vendors to choose from. We didn’t get to visit all the vendors, so it’s not fair to give an assessment of each, but if you’re interested, check out the vendor page. I will say that the abundance of mead and iced chai did not go unappreciated! Also the fact that their food isn’t done with a ticket system is also a check in the plus column.
Despite all the awesome, our two favorite parts of the faire were meeting up with our friends Heather and Jeff over at Chrononaut Merchantile and receiving unsolicited high praise from established and seasoned NYRF veterans and workers. It’s always fun to talk shop with the folks over at Chrononaut, and it’s nice to catch up and bounce things back and forth. If you’re looking for an established faire that has a tight act, the New York Renaissance Faire is not to be missed!