A Renaissance Fair In New York City


On one magical day in early October, Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan goes back in time to the middle ages to host a renaissance fair – the Annual Medieval Fair.

This time last year, I lamented that I’d followed my husband and his buddies to the Oompah Fest in Long Island, instead of the original plan for a quiet stroll through memory lane during the Medieval Festival in the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloister Gardens.

Long ago, twenty years at least, when we were courting, Dave and I attended the annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park.  In those days, it was a new event with a sparse crowd, where an afternoon was sufficient to marvel at all the activities, and still have time to explore the museum exhibits.

Lack-a-wit, Numskull, Mooncalf, Fool

In the category of What-was-I-thinking?, I thought I’d stroll into the park this Sunday with my family, pick up a smoked turkey leg, and proceed to watch the jousting tournament.

Flashforward twenty years in New York City, and the Medieval Festival is no longer a quiet affair.  New Yorkers in splendid, and not so splendid, attire amass to see (and be seen) as they stroll between the various stages, workshops, and craft booths.  The events are jam-packed so that it is no longer possible to see everything there is to see.


Even with all that is offered, it seemed that everyone still wants to cram into one place at one time – the King’s Joust on the Tournament Field.

Instead of a leisurely meal and show, I ended up huddled behind the bleachers with my turkey leg while the kids climbed up to sneak a peak.


When the joust was over, I was able to make my way up to the bleacher seats.  I watched displays of falconry, a living chess match, but most of the time, I just looked down at the sea of humanity strolling by.  Fair maidens, unicorns, wizards, brawny men, etc….


It wasn’t a quiet stroll down memory lane, but it was quite an interesting memory nonetheless.

Go See It!

The Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park
When: September 30, 2012  – 11:30am – 6:00pm
Where: Fort Tryon Park Riverside Drive to Broadway, West 192nd to Dyckman Streets, New York NY
Cost: Free
Contact: (212) 795-1600
Website: http://www.whidc.org/home.html