I had never been to a Renaissance Faire until I met my husband, Hal. I thought they were silly and a world I didn’t belong in. I was more interested in museums and independent movies and reading and introspective walks. I sound totally snotty, right? I thought the costumes were silly and embarrassing, and the silly accents…c’mon.
Then we went to the New York Renaissance Faire for the first time about eight years ago. And it’s a good thing I can admit when I’m wrong. I found myself being fitted with a bodice and flower wreath. Hal suddenly was outfitted in a leather vest, puffy shirt, and scabbard. And the pickles on a stick?! Is there a more perfect food? I think not.
We went back for opening weekend this year with four year old Miriam in tow. The imagination is kicked into high gear immediately. It even started in the parking lot with meeting costumed cast members. Miriam was so excited to see a princess! Every lady wearing a fancy dress was a princess to her. And if nothing else happened that day, the excitement on Miriam’s face was worth it all.
But what struck me the most this visit was how kind the Faire actors and actresses were to this VERY enthusiastic little girl. And their quick witted comebacks to questions Miriam asked were happily answered. She left every interaction with a knight, princess, peasant, wench, or pirate feeling so excited. As any parent of a super talkative kid knows, it’s such a relief when someone just “gets them”. Miriam just wants to be seen and heard and part of it all. And this is wonderful place for that. It felt safe.
And what also struck me this visit was how friendly all the fellow faire visitors were. Miriam is a hugger. And she doles out compliments like a used car salesman, except she is 150% sincere. Just a sampling of her kind words of the day:
- I love your purple lipstick!
- I love your pink hair!
- I love your wolf ears!
- I love your scary knight clothes!
- I love your blue dragon! Can I pet it? (And everyone did let her pet their handmade dragon puppets sitting on many shoulders all around the fairgrounds)
Now in full disclosure, Miriam was not wearing her “listening ears” that day. And we had some challenging moments. But if you’re going to have a challenging day with your four year old, I highly recommend doing it at the New York Ren Fair. There’s so much to diffuse and distract. And while I didn’t get to indulge this year, there’s also mead and beer to lubricate ‘Ye Olde Patience.
Wilfredo running the dragon swing ride with brute strength was the friendliest pirate. Miriam is fearless but when one of the other children started crying during the ride, he was everything you wanted in a pirate. He slowed the dragon down and all the kids became supportive of the little girl until there were giggles all around.
Taylor at Rosie’s Posies was the loveliest wench ever. While only Miriam walked away with a garland of flowers, Taylor and I chatted about how fabulous the feather wreaths were. A little out of our budget this visit, hopefully next year or later this faire season (it runs into October) I’ll be sporting a headful of feathers.
Miriam was excited to meet a part wolf/part pretty lady whose ears actually moved!
We really enjoyed the Music of Duende! Amanda Kitchens happily took a picture with her newest fan after the show. What a treat it is to hear live music up close and you will hear plenty at the faire.
And while we didn’t buy any fairy wings this time, the fairy shopkeeper was gracious and huggable.
When Miriam saw Kathleen Finnegan playing her celtic harp, her eyes were wide with amazement. She knew it was a harp (not sure how!) and was mesmerized. Kathleen was practically angelic and invited Miriam up to play!
A few hours at the New York Renaissance Faire gave us some unforgettable memories. We suspended the real world for a while as we entered #wherefantasyrules…a very appropriate hash tag. Check out the New York Renaissance Fair website and facebook page for theme weekends and special offers for ticket discounts and contests!