People always say to do what you love, granted it isn’t life threatening and/or dangerous to those around you. I love history, so why not do it? I had the privilege of living during the Renaissance at the third annual Mayfaire on the Green in Holland Patent, New York.
Central New York offers a multiple Renaissance Faires throughout the warm weather. Mayfaire on the Green occurred from 11am to 7pm on May 11th and 12th. Despite morning showers and a few clouds, the days were packed with visitors and volunteers. The air vibrated with laughter, shouts, and music. No matter where you looked, someone played an instrument. Whenever I heard a drumbeat, I couldn’t keep my feet still.
For those unfamiliar with what a faire is, picture organized chaos. The fun kind. Shops erected under tents and around tables line the area. Workers dressed in period attire stroll the grounds, pretending to live “back in the day” through dialect and mannerisms. They pull you into the adventure through communication and improvisational acting. You literally become part of the show. Live acts occur on stages throughout the day.
Attending the faire afforded the perfect opportunity to wear my Renaissance costume: a handmade blouse and skirt, a hat purchased at last year’s event, and a gown from the Sterling Renaissance Festival. The compliments abounded. It was great fun to see others in similar garb. Don’t worry about being historically accurate – wear what you can, be it an over-sized shirt and dark pants, or a long skirt and boots. Part of the excitement is being one of the gang. Some of the shops at the faire offered clothing, in case you had trouble tracking down some for yourself.
The faire was a perfect family get-together, whether you’re bringing everyone to visit or volunteering together as a group. It was great to see families working together to make the experience more energetic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince my family members to attend with me (oh, won’t my future children have fun playing dress up with me!), but the other workers did feel like family. You will see most of the same people at the various events. I’m now able to say hello to them by name and ask about their personal lives. You can never have too many friends or contacts. I even saw my cousin’s daughter wandering the faire with a group of friends. You never know who you’ll meet.
When I first arrived, I stopped by the palm-reading tent. She offered me a brief reading. I had never had one done before and was curious – looking back, I highly recommend it. Oftentimes we are jaded when we see ourselves and it takes a third party to point out what may be obvious. The things she pointed out were very spot on. For example, she said I have an inquisitive nature. Indeed, I’m forever asking questions and seeking to learn new things. Among other statements, she mentioned travel. A travel proposition had recently been made to me.
Mayfaire offered a variety of shows. When I first arrived on Saturday, I got to witness Coco the Clown. The laughing audience drew my attention to the gazebo. Oh my, was it hysterical. I laughed along with them. SHAKESPEARE! happened to be another hilarious show. “Shakespeare” yanked people from the audience to help him tell a tale. I’m sad to say I didn’t recognize which play it was from, but it was lively enough to entertain the children and adults.
Other shows involved Samurai Martial Arts and Morgan Eagle Falcony, which I got to witness throughout the day outside their booths, besides their actual demonstration shows on the stage. Tea with the Queen was a favorite amongst the children. I especially enjoyed watching the Irish dancers, since I’ve always wanted to learn those steps. Adamo Ignis took my breath away – literally! Picture belly dancing, walking on glass, and eating fire. Many, if not all, of the shows are available at each of the faries throughout the year.
The Maypole Dance is an event exclusive to Mayfaire. Everyone gathered around the pole to cheer and clap. Music was played, children laughed, and the young and old grabbed a ribbon. The air vibrated with excitement as the volunteers and visitors wove around other in a colorful pattern. Visiting the faires are a highlight of my summer, and the best part is that they last all weekend.