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October 4th, 2009

Medieval Faire

It was one of those beautiful Indian-summer days the Northeast sometimes gets in October (our wedding was one of them, 13 years ago), warm, soft, and bright.  I'd spent the weekend battling confused flour beetles (not nearly as confused as we were, let me tell you) and changing the drawers over, and was more than ready for a break.  So, around 3:30, I put on some actual clothes and hied me up to Fort Tyron Park for their annual 1-day Medieval Festival.

I knew I was late when I only saw one costumed couple on the A train--a fairy/goth/medieval kind of girl with Doc Martens and a violet silk blouse with slit sleeves and a fluffy little skirt and a black bustier.  And violet fairy wings, which she very wisely waited until she got to Fort Tryon to put on.  And I was right.  The joint was jumping--in the case of several small boys who had bought plywood swords, down from rocks and out from behind trees, usually screaming lustily.  The fact that they were wearing tabards and little helmets made it more startling, but somehow more okay.

There weren't a lot of stray costumes--fewer than I remembered from the last time I was there, maybe 3 years ago.  There were plenty of SCAers in garb, manning (and womaning) booths on weaving, spinning, carving, potting, and so forth, and millling around the swordfighting arena and the jousting links.  There was an extremely bored-looking unicorn in a pen, with a very young virgin astride, her electric blue skirts spread over its spotted grey rump, both of them guarded by a resigned gentleman in full armor with a pike.  There were monks singing an introit (I recognized it from my choir days, although I can't for the life of me remember who wrote it) and an exotic Eastern-garbed woman with a fiddle, accompanied by a man on an electric lute (!) and a smallish girl on a largish drum, and three women with Ulian pipes.

And there were retail opportunities galore.

Judging from the crowd, the two booths selling decorated circlets with ribbons all down the back did the best business.  I think 2 out of 3 girls I saw between the ages of 5 and 25 were wearing one.  Face-painting and henna tattoos were popular, too.  And all the food stalls had long lines in front of them.  Ye Olde Barbeque Shoppe ran out of turkey legs.  Booths selling things that smelled good seemed to be doing well.  There wasn't much jewelry, and what there was, mostly undistinguished.  Except for parrish_relics , of course, from whom I bought a pair of earrings that just exactly match a necklace I bought from her at the Somerville Arts Festival, oh, maybe 15 years ago now.

How time flies when you're having fun.

Home again just as the shadows were lengthening, the booths were beginning to pack up, and the temperature to fall.  Ellen was curled up in the big chair in her study, nose-deep in revisions to Act 1 of The Golden Dreydel.  We heated up some leftovers for dinner, she went back to work, and I put off doing anything useful to my story for yet another day.  If it hadn't been for those confused flour beetles. . . .


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