Once a year, the Medieval Festival brings to life the traditions and spirit of the Renaissance days. Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park transforms into a medieval market town decorated with eye-catching bright banners and processional flags. Performers and festival goers dress in medieval costume and speak Old English. Visitors are greeted by medieval music, dance, magic, and minstrels, as well as jugglers and jesters. Costumed vendors will be on hand to demonstrate and sell a wide variety of medieval crafts as well as food and drink. The expected attendance this year is 40,000 people!
I’ve been fascinated by all things Medieval since I was little. I was brainwashed by tales of princesses, knights, queens, peasants, warlocks. Finally had the chance to go to a Medieval Festival was unreal. I whipped up the most medieval looking look (mind you, I’m not very fashionable): a scarf to use as a hood, a dark, flowy patterned dress, and a ribbon to braid up my hair. Good enough.
There was zero chance of rain, excellent; a perfect day wander into the Middle Ages. I was giddy like a child at an amusement park as we walked up to the Park’s entrance. Because the event was free, we donated at the wishing well that says “Prithee, Donate a Dollar!” The fort was a beautiful place to host a Medieval Festival, as it is surrounded by a lake, and in the middle the fort is a Medieval Museum. Since the museum is there year-round, we decided to save it for another day. Since there were events scheduled all day, we had no problems with finding things to do.
One of the most beautiful performances was this lady playing Medieval, Celtic, and world music on her harp. At one point, two people joined in with her singing. We sat on the ledge, listening to her relaxing songs for a long time. Beside her is a face painter, who paints children’s faces with butterflies, dragons, sparkles, etc. Everything about that moment was magical. <3 There’s something about medieval music that makes me feel light and wonderful.
This rowdy group of performers, Three Pints Shy, is the best. They performed upbeat music with lots of humor in their lyrics. They mess around and drank mead during their performance. They were everything I imagined musical performers in the medieval ages to be like. They told stories through their songs of their adventures. They danced, they laughed, they fought. That’s my kind of life.
Speaking of mead… We tried three different types of mead at the festival! I’ve always wanted to try out mead. Apparently, it is an alcoholic drink made of honey and water with a variety of spices, fruit, and grain. They were pretty expensive at $4 a cup. It tasted like a strong fruity wine. Yummy!
Jousting Tournament of the Knights
And finally, what everyone has been waiting for. The festival ends with a thrilling joust by four knights, mounted on their steeds. The battle gets heated as the crowd cheers on for their knight in shining armor. When I read medieval age books, knights were always admirable, honorable, and courageous. Seeing them in real life is an amazing experience. In one of the final jousts, the knight fell off his steed, and they begin to sword fight to the death. Funny thing was, kids were there and loving it.
There are wood carvers, artisans, storytellers, manuscript illuminators to demonstrate their craftsmanship.
The storyteller was very intriguing. I wish I have the ability to tell stories well. There’s an art to it; even I was hooked in her tales.
The jester was one of my favorites. He looked to be in his 80s, but juggling and jumping around like a child!
There was an awesome dragon right by the bonfire, but he was surrounded by people trying to take pictures with him that I didn’t get a closer shot.
There were tons of cool costumes that I wish I had.
Random Thoughts While Wandering Around the Festival:
- I wish life was as magical, carefree, and fun (minus the wars) like the Medieval Era. – Maybe I should join a traveling Medieval group! My parents probably won’t endorse that….
- Just saw Captain America… why??!??!?!!! It’s not Comic Con.
- There are so many Links from Zelda! I guess that’s better than a superhero, but it seems to be looked down upon by hardcore Renaissance lovers- noted.
- Those giant turkey legs look good… too bad I’m vegetarian. /sigh/
Thanks for reading!!!! Questions? Comments?? Let’s chat below! <3