Sterling Renaissance Festival

Sterling Renaissance Festival
Renaissance fairs, also known as Renaissance festivals, are extremely popular in the United States. Most states host at least one major Renaissance festival held on a regular or semi-regular basis. For example, the Sterling Renaissance Festival is held every summer in Sterling, New York. Founded in 1976, it is one of the longest-running Renaissance fairs in the country.

The Sterling Renaissance Festival was founded in 1976. The event is set in the fictional English village of Warwick during the Elizabethan era. The festival grounds are divided into several areas, each offering first-class entertainment.

As soon as attendees step through the gates, they are welcomed by entertainers in the Upper Shire Gate Area. The Upper Shire Warwick Commons Area is the heart of the festival where artisans, vendors and performers come together in the center of Warwick. The Lower Shire Wyldewood Area is the place where the Grand Joust, Royal Feast, the Queen’s Tea, and some other events take place. Finally, the Lower Shire Bogges Area has several stages for special performances.

Attendees are entertained by Queen Elizabeth herself and her Royal Party that includes the Knights of Warwick, the Earl of Warwick, and various real-life figures, such as Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Reighly. The citizens of Warwick are a colorful and diverse crowd that includes the town revelers, pirates, wenches, thieves, beggars, artisans and craftspeople. They interact with patrons and improvise various scenarios to keep people entertained.

One of the Sterling Renaissance Festival’s main attractions is the Grand Joust held twice a day. Other attractions include shows by numerous performers (musicians, bagpipers, dancers, comedians, jugglers, illusionists, fortune-tellers, sword-swallowers, and more), royal performances involving the Queen and her court, archery displays, Highland Games on Highland weekend, the Royal Feast, fun and games of skill (available for an additional fee), and more. The daily program closes each evening with a pub sing.

Of course, the festival also has an Artisan Program featuring artisans from all over the country. The Royal Marketplace is known for its high quality and diversity. It offers an impressive selection of goods such as armor and weaponry, clothing and costumes, dolls and puppets, footwear, games and toys, hats and masks, jewelry, leather goods, metal goods, pottery and sculpture, specialties, wooden items, glass items, and more. Experienced craftsmen (glass-blowers, blacksmiths, potter) demonstrate their skills to the public.

Food vendors offer an assortment of various foods and drinks. They serve turkey legs, meat pies, shish-kabobs, bacon-wrapped scallops, hot pretzels, pickles, pastries and desserts, delicious vegetarian and gluten-free items, french fries, sandwiches, steak-on-a-stake, sausage. Beverages served at the festival include bottled water, soda, lemonade, coffee, tea, light and dark ales, birch beer, mead, and wine.

Sterling Renaissance Festival

Photo: Penny Higgins




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