August is here and that means it is time for the New York Renaissance Faire! The 33rd season of Faire opens on August 7th and runs for eight weekends through September 26th, including the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend. Complete with Queen Elizabeth I, Robin Hood and his band of merry men, games, shopping, a full joust, and plenty of swordfighting, there is something for everyone out at the Faire.
The New York Renaissance Faire is located about an hour away from Manhattan, on 65 acres of Sterling Forest near Tuxedo, New York. The Faire runs from 10 am – 7 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Labor Day Monday. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5. A Queen's Pass is also available for $100, which lets you into all 17 days of the Faire. Tickets are available online or at the gate. The Faire is open rain or shine, though in truly severe weather some performances may be postponed or cancelled for safety.
Easily accessible by car, see here for driving directions. For those needing public transportation, there is a Short Line bus from Port Authority that takes guests directly to and from the Faire. You can buy either the round trip bus ticket for $31.50, or a day pass which includes your round-trip bus ticket, Faire admission, and a Faire program, all for $50.50. The bus to Faire departs at 10:00 am and leaves to return at the end of the day at 6:45 pm. Please note: these are the only buses that go directly to and from the fairgrounds, so please be prepared to be at Faire for the day. With that in mind, however, it takes at least a full day to experience the Faire and you don't want to miss seeing the final joust or whether Robin Hood will win out in the end!
In case you are new to the idea of Renaissance Faires, the goal is a fun recreation of a Renaissance or medieval English village (or a mish-mash of both time periods), complete with costumed actors roaming the streets as villagers and historical figures of the day.
At the New York Faire, there is plenty to see and do – each day has over 125 performances, all included in the price of your ticket! Programs at the gate are available for $1 and provide show timetables and maps. You can choose to follow the unfolding drama in Queen Elizabeth's court, or the Robin Hood characters as they enact the famous English tale throughout the day. You can explore the many shops of the village — where else can you find yourself handmade bracers, fairy wings, pantaloons, marshmallow tossing mini trebuchets, or buy a "baby dragon"? You can get your face painted or your fortune read, play games, or catch a traveling trunk show. And don't forget the two live jousts and numerous swordfights throughout the day, including two real living chess boards with New York's top fighters. This much more than a trip to Medieval Times.
When you are ready for lunch, there are many food options to keep even the pickiest eaters happy, including the requisite giant turkey legs, of course. There are also a few open-air bars serving beer, wine, and the more traditional mead.
The professional actors set the scene, but you are also welcome to come in costume and many do, so be prepared to see some amazing…things. If your 16th Century weeds are at the cleaners, fear not! There is even a shop onsite where you can rent period gear for the day. Almost anything goes. Personally, I have seen everything from children re-wearing their Spiderman Halloween costumes to full reproductions of the king's armor from The Lord of the Rings to the more standard bodice or jerkin. So have fun! In this welcoming atmosphere, you too can pretend to be someone else in another time.
Whether you choose to dress up or not, the Renaissance Faire provides a chance to escape the everyday. Without traveling very far, you will not only get a break from the city and a nice summer trip to the woods…you'll end up in Renaissance England!
For more information on everything from wheelchair accessibility to food options to whether you can bring a sword of your own (yes, but only if it is peace-tied and checked by security), see the New York Renaissance Faire FAQ page.
And for an idea of what you can expect from a day at the Faire, check out these videos!