Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Favorite Magicians at the Renaissance Faire

Do you like to play dress up? I do. Sometimes I want to be Peggy Oleson on Mad Men. Other times, it's hippie fare for thrifting on the weekends. Nature inspires me, and I love flowery prints and earth tones. When the mood strikes, I bring out my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder with calico prints. I love color above all else. Playing dress up is something as young girls we loved when we had a more innocent attitude towards fashion, before the media and marketers jaded us with body images we fret far too much about.

Two events I went to again this summer validated how much adults love to play dress up. One was the 1920s Jazz Age Lawn party on Governor's Island. View my photos from a past soiree here. Another was the Renaissance Faire in Sterling Forest, which we received complimentary tickets to from one of Steve's colleagues. I've never dressed up for the Faire. I had a thrifted black Free People dress which would have been perfect which I realized only after I got to the event. I love the freedom and festivity here of the costumes. We should dress up more often for fun, don't you think?

Costumes aside, we were entertained by merrymakers in the past, but this year, I had a different perspective. I was taken by the artistry and craftsmanship on display, perhaps because we live in such a mass production world. To me, these craftsmen and women are true magicians just as much as anyone on stage.

These were my favorite magic makers.

Those who turn delights from the garden into nourishing, pleasing-to-the-palate meals. My vegan "Nights in Tunisia" vegetables in couscous which I savored with (not pictured) mint ice tea.

Storytellers, of course. Signs for Wanted: Robin Hood posted in this forest tavern. I sipped on some mead (honey wine) pondering his whereabouts.

Those who entertain us with visions of the future, true or not. In one of my favorite storytellers of all time, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Owen sees the date of his death on a tombstone during a school play. Imagine if a fortune teller would be able to tell you your end. Would you want to know?

Those who turn the 21st century woman into a maiden.

Those who create beautiful garlands. I loved the fragrant eucalyptus.

Those who create quality, artful fabrics. I believe in the power of dressing artfully and using your own imagination, not listening to someone else's vision for you.

Those who shine a light on the world. Ever notice how many candles are imports?

Those who make art out of commonplace items.  I purchased a small hummingbird looking glass for an extremely reasonable $10 and it sits on my night stand. We are so hard on ourselves when glancing at our reflections in the looking glass (I am too). Let's try not to do that to ourselves.

Those who create beautiful glass baubles in a rainbow of colors.

Those who repurpose the unexpected.

Those who make us believe in wishes. A wishing well here. Ponder your innermost wishes. If you had three wishes granted, consider what they would be.

Those that make us believe in romance. A kissing bridge invites those to share a kiss with their sweetheart.

Costumes, food and crafts aside, I think these events are what we all need - a fun escape. Hands up those tired of our tabloid media with "celebrities" famous for no talent, the bad economic news and world events. I'm glad the Renaissance Faire swept me away from all that. These types of events are what I consider a "healthy escape" - not about numbing our minds or putting others down. 

Now, I'm off for my bedtime stories (never too old for that, either), maybe from a sonic storyteller.


  1. As always, I love your posts. I am envious that you have a Renaissance Faire near you to attend. I have never been to one, but longed to go. I love your take on the beautiful offerings from the many talented and skilled people you encountered. Also, the book you mentioned, A Prayer for Owen Meany, has now come to my attention several times in the past month. Methinks it must be time for me to read it! Also, I am planning a brief trip back to NY in the near future, and part of that plan is a visit to Tea & Sympathy based in part on your high recommendation! Happy Autumn!

  2. Hi Amy. Thank you so much!

    My friend Cate was the one who recommended that book. She and her husband pen a wonderful book blog called Elephants for Bookends: A Prayer Owen Meany is just one of those stories that always stays with you, and particularly the character of Owen. It's quite long but worth the journey.

    Oh I hope you enjoy Tea and Sympathy! I was there twice this summer with two friends enjoying elderflower cordials, chilled pea and mint soup, spinach and goat cheese savory pastries (on the specials), strawberries and cream, among other goodies! Make sure you mind the nice china, Mrs. Bucket (Bouquet!) insists. ;-)