“Then you may take me to the Faire….”, 2022 edition

Last weekend we attended the Sterling Renaissance Festival for the first time since 1999! Huzzah!!!

Knights at play!

Obviously the Festival didn’t happen in 2020, and I’m honestly not sure if it tried to happen last year, but in any event we did not attend if it did. This year, though, we finally returned. Sadly, The Wife has to wait until next year to go back! She was unable to go this year due to recent foot surgery (everything’s fine, just a tendonitis issue that needed fixing). The Renfest does the best it can, but the nature of its location–it’s literally built onto a hillside–makes it very difficult for folks with mobility issues. We just didn’t want to go through all that struggle, unfortunately.

So this year it was just The Daughter and I. Still, we had a great time. There were occasional moments when The Wife’s absence was felt, none moreso than, of all things, the roaming pickle vendor. He’s a fellow who roams around with a wagon loaded with giant, juicy pickles, which are one of The Wife’s favorite treats. Usually at some point we see the Pickle Guy and The Wife says, “You should go buy me a pickle.” And I do. Alas, ’twas not to be this time!

(In an amusing moment, at the late-afternoon joust, the pickle vendor finally sold out, so he shouted “FREE PICKLE…JUICE!” And a couple of people actually took empty water bottles to take him up on the offer. I do not always understand my fellow humans.)

This year, I finally was able to partly dress for attendance at the Faire!

Note my pendant watch…I’m representing Renaissance dress, steampunk, AND modern workwear here. Were I a knight, I would be Sir Eclectic!

Yes, I know that this outfit is anachronistic to a Faire set in a faux-Elizabethan village. The shirt is a Renfest-style shirt, though, so I was only half a walking anachronism.

(I dressed like this as an experiment, too, regarding how to dress in high heat. I’ll save those thoughts for another post. Yes, I was hot…but I don’t think shorts-and-a-tee-shirt would have made me feel any cooler.)

The drive from home to the Faire is a long one, roughly two-and-a-half hours. The first two-thirds of the drive is a boring hundred miles down the New York State Thruway, but after that, it’s a lovely drive through the hill country north of the Finger Lakes and into the Lake Ontario watershed.

I love this house and I look forward to seeing it every year as we drive by. It looks like it’s been there since the War of 1812. I don’t know a thing about this house’s history.

A trombone in a Renaissance group? Yes! While the modern trombone didn’t exist yet, the forerunner instrument, called a sackbut, was quite common.

Daily parade. God save the Queen!

Acrobatics and such. I didn’t see this whole performance, but just the very end when she did this.

“You can’t tell a day from a knight without a program!”

I scoped out my spot to watch the joust early, 45 minutes early, to be exact. By this time I was glad to sit with a cool beverage and do some people-watching.

“A mighty whack?” “His skull will CRACK!”

In terms of food, we really didn’t eat much at the Faire! Our tradition is the big roasted turkey legs that are dripping in barbecue sauce. And when I say ‘dripping’, I mean, DRIPPING. I was almost successful at getting through it without getting sauce and turkey grease on my white shirt, but…yeah. Almost.

I’ve already got it washed out, thankfully! I know what to do in such events.

Later on, I enjoyed a wine slushie. This was my only alcohol at the Faire. That shit’s expensive, yo!

(On the way home we stopped for dinner, at a fried chicken joint we love in Webster, NY. We had chicken and waffles, which is a killer combo.)

Some candids I snapped:

These two had the best costumes I saw all day. The woman on the right had a stunning femme-fatale pirate thing going on. Magnificent!

The Queen and her Royal Party, taking in the jousting entertainment.

A knight addresses the crowd, encouraging lusty cheers.

One of the attendants for the joust.

I’ve seen Milady at the Faire before. Usually she is on horseback. This time she was not.

Not a great shot. I was trying for the stilt-walker, not the fellow in the hat or what might be his family.

A fine knight, astride his noble beast!

A pirate lass. Fantastic costume work here!

Another fine costume. That puppet on her shoulder articulates! There’s a wire that runs down through your clothes and you can twitch the wire in certain ways to make the puppet lift its wings, turn its head, and the like. I know this because The Daughter bought one.

At day’s end, we were tired and fulfilled and happy…but also sad because the Faire was over for another year. (I mean, we could go back, there are a few weekends left, but we have other happy events coming up as well….) I did my best to look reflective and melancholy at the prospect of returning to real life after a day in an Elizabethan England that wasn’t also a rather violent realm of short lives and many poxes….

There was still some beauty to be had, though. One of my quirks regarding road trips–and there’s a very good chance that I inherited this from my father–is that on any out-and-back-again trip, I don’t like coming home the same way I went out. In this case, that means that instead of driving south from the Faire to the Thruway, I take Route 104 along the Lake Ontario shore back to Rochester, and then I-490 back to the Thruway for the last 35 miles or so. This is a lovely road that goes over Irondequoit Bay…

…and through downtown Rochester.

Alas, there comes a time when our revelries are now ended. So, we shall see you again next year, people of Warwickshire!

Oh, and the title of this post comes from, naturally enough, Camelot:

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3 Responses to “Then you may take me to the Faire….”, 2022 edition

  1. Roger says:

    First, you should NEVER go back the way you came, if you have reasonable alternatives. I’ve been to a few medieval faires in my time, though not that one; mayhaps one day.

    • ksedinger says:

      The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I got my “never the same way twice” thing from my father. He had a really good sense of direction back in the day and would improvise routes on various road trips. Sometimes this resulted in some unfortunate detours…one trip that wound up on some old logging roads in the middle of Pennsylvania leaps to mind….

      • Roger says:

        Now THAT would be a post, mayhaps. “some old logging roads in the middle of Pennsylvania” – getting lost, or at least off course.

        On another matter, do yoiu like the group Steeleye Span? I bought a 12-CD set of theirs in July and have been listening since. It seems to be a group I’d think you’d like, if you don’t know them.

        But my favorite fair sonmgs are the title track to State Fair and Bonnie Raitt’s Too Long At The Fair.

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