Elizabethan Progess

Some of you may wonder – why is Queen Elizabeth I arriving in the small shire of Sterling, also known as the New York Renaissance Faire? Well, traveling the realm was something Her Majesty did every couple of years to see her subjects and the lands she presided over.

These trips – or “progresses” took her to towns and manors throughout southern England and the midlands, where she was able to see—and be seen by—a broad cross-section of her subjects. Crowds turned out to cheer her passage, church bells rang, and as admirer Thomas Churchyard observed, she was able to “draw the hearts of the people after hyr wheresoever she travels.”

Why Royal Guests Have Always Been a Royal Pain - HISTORY

The logistics were daunting. A baggage train of between 400 and 600 horse-drawn carts groaned beneath the weight of everything the monarch and her entourage might require on the trip: bedding, furniture, clothing, food, dishes and kitchen equipment, and even the documents and office supplies needed to conduct the business of the realm. Members of her court accompanied her, as did a full household complement of grooms and pages, wardrobe ladies and maids, guards, chaplains, cooks, and court musicians. Travel was slow and difficult. Even on the main highways, the Queen’s caravansary averaged only ten or twelve miles a day.

Music, dancing, banqueting, and fireworks were de rigueur. Special songs, poems, and masques were commissioned, with costumed players enlisted to perform them. Happily, numerous written accounts of these visits have survived—the Folger has some half dozen written accounts. In Sandwich in 1573, for example, the Queen was reportedly “very merrye” and so impressed by the banquet prepared by the wives of the town mayor and judges that she tucked in without first calling upon the services of the royal taster and asked for several dishes to be carried back to her lodgings.

Despite various political crises and dangers, she travelled nearly every summer of her 44-year reign, staying at some 241 different places from Hampshire to the Midlands. She did so partly to escape the diseases that could descend on London in the heat of summer. But she also genuinely wished to meet her people. Few could resist her charm, and even fewer have been able to match her brilliant sense of public relations.

In later years, in response to courtiers’ grumbles over the customary seasonal upheaval, the ageing but undaunted Queen bade “the old stay behind, and the young and able go with me.” In 1601 she broke her progress to hunt at Castle Ashby, Northampton. Even in her late 60s she rode 10 miles a day and refused to give up her sport.

Only Elizabeth’s death, on 24th March 1603, prevented her from embarking on that summer’s royal progress. She was mourned by a people who felt that their Queen genuinely cared for her subjects, a belief created in no small part by her travels among them.

We’re Going Home: RenFaire Documentary

Such a great video, I had to share! – Ariq

In 2020 when the Covid-19 virus struck the United States, the impending pandemic caused the delays, closing, and inevitable cancellations of events and festivals across the nation. This is the story of those who work the festivals, and those who patronize them, and what they went through during the course of the year and a half. Through this emotional telling by their own words, you will discover the heartfelt passion behind the family and comradery, of these communities, and what people went through when it was all of the sudden struck from their life.

Brought to you by Award-Winning Filmmaker Errol Jud Coder of Wicked Eye Studios


words and music by Jay Michaels
performed by The Harper and The Minstrel
Abby Michaels: Vhttps://fb.watch/v/1d2I0axMM/ocals, Bowed Psaltery
Jay Michaels: Vocals, Guitar, Viola da Gamba

performed by Aleksander Shamaluev

Working at the New York RenFaire 2021

Want to work at the Faire and be a part of the magic?

Audition to be part of the cast

In-person auditions will be held on-site at 600 RT. 17A Tuxedo NY 10987, Saturday, June 19th, and Sunday, June 20th. Fight Call will be on the morning of the 19th, with callbacks that afternoon.
Additionally, we’re accepting video auditions*! Please, send us a video of two contrasting monologues (no longer than 45 seconds each) and sing 16 bars of your favorite song acapella. If you play an instrument at performance level please include a 30-second demonstration.
We are seeking:

  • Martial artists and SAFD combatants
  • Sketch comedy and improv actors
  • Dancers of all styles
  • Musicians
  • Singers

Email your video, a headshot, and a resume to nyrfentertainment@renfair.com
*All persons interested in joining the Robin Hood Scenario Fight Cast must take the fight call in person on June 19th.

Positions are also available for non-cast members!
The following is a list of departments and positions that may be available:

Food – Servers & Prep
Front Gate – Ticket Sellers & Ticket Takers
Hospitality – Guest Services & Information
Parking – Attendants & Crossing guards
Grounds – Sanitation
Beverage – Servers & Runners
Marketplace – Salespersons & Hawkers for Vendor/Merchants
Security – Must have a valid NY Security License

Positions, wages, and hours vary depending on the department.

You must be present at the Job Fair to complete an interview. Please dress comfortably for the weather. It is not necessary to attend the Job Fair in costume nor in office-professional attire.

At the Faire office across the street from the Faire’s Front Gate.
600 Route 17A, Tuxedo, NY 10987 (map)
Phone: 845-351-5171
Make sure you bring proper identification – a driver’s license or other state ID, a social security card, a birth certificate, or passport.

Some positions may be full-time and therefore require up to 40 hours per week. They may include working weekends during the Faire season. Start dates and salaries depend upon the position.

Want to be part of it all, but don’t feel you have the entertainment skills and don’t want to work a booth? Be a part of our Company! Join us!

2021: The Year of the Renaissance!

Tickets for New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park from ShowClix

After the Plague, comes the Renaissance!

That’s right folks; the New York Renaissance in Tuxedo, New York is back for the 2021 season.

Here’s what to know before you go.
[Current as of: May 19, 2021]

Welcome back to the New York Renaissance Faire! As you prepare your return, please note that we have made a few changes to our fantasy world by incorporating updates from the CDC and appropriate governmental and local agencies. A few things may be different from the last time you visited, as our goal is to keep you, our valued guests, our participants, entertainers, and staff safe. This commitment of creating cherished memories, entertainment, and fun is what drives us. We could not be more excited to invite you and your family back to the Faire.

Some images shown throughout this website, our social media channels, and other promotional materials do not represent current operational guidelines or health and safety measures such as face coverings. Please check this page before you visit as it will be changing weekly as we react to the defeat of the dreaded COVID-19 disease.

2021 Entrance Requirements:
1. Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask.
2. Some experiences may be modified to reduce physical contact.
3. For the protection of everyone, we encourage you to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccination offered free of charge through your local Health Department, and various pharmacies in your area.
4. Please be mindful of keeping your social distance around other guests.
5. If you have flu-like symptoms such as a cough or fever, we encourage you to stay home.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

By visiting the New York Renaissance Faire, a Renaissance Entertainment Productions event, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

Help keep each other healthy.

The Oak King and the Holly King

The story is told that in the beginning, there were two gods who were brothers. And like many brothers, they struggled with each other for ascendance and power. One brother was the king of the forces of life, light, and warmth. He wore a crown made of green oak branches and brought with him all growth and vitality, fertility and abundance. He was called the Oak King.

His brother was the king of the forces of death, cold, and darkness. He wore a crown made of the prickly holly branches and brought with him all withering and decay, stillness and hibernation. He was called the Holly King.

Pagan illustration of the Holly King and Oak King

The brothers were identical in strength, and so year after year the same pattern was repeated. Each year, the Oak King would grow strong and mighty and during his time of dominance, the light would gradually increase, bringing with it warmth and abundance. But each year, at the height of his power, he would be thrown down by the Holly King. In the wake of the Holly King’s victory, the light would gradually wane, and as it did, cold would come and the land would go dormant. But at the height of the Holly King’s power, he would be challenged again by the Oak King and would fall. And the cycle would repeat again and again and again.

Alone, the brothers were equals, but soon there came a race of beings known as people. The people watched this cycle, and pretty soon, they began to take sides. The people loved light and warmth, and they feared darkness and cold. And so, each year, they would celebrate the victory of the Oak King, but they would mourn the victory of the Holly King. When the two struggled with each other, the people would lend the strength of their voices and their bodies, their minds and their spirits to the Oak King, but the Holly King was without their support. And so time went by.

Over time, the people’s adoration of warmth and light only grew, and so they began to invent ever-new ways to find light in the darkness and warmth in the cold. And finally, if they wished it, they could spend all of their time in the light they had created, and they could be warm all year long. But their efforts to stay always in the light and the warmth were not without consequences.

Generations passed and generations again, and the people did not at first notice the shifts in the balance. But finally, they could ignore it no longer. The people began to notice that darkness was disappearing from the land, driven out by millions of lights the people had created. Animals, birds, plants, even people began to suffer the effects of light unbalanced by darkness.

But it was not just darkness that was disappearing. Cold began to flee, too. The whole world began to get warmer. Summer began sooner and lasted longer. Ice that had been frozen far longer than the longest memory of the oldest person in the land began to melt. Migrating birds and animals began to be confused about when to begin the migration. Plants found themselves rooted in climates that no longer supplied their needs. The air was changing, and the winds that had brought rain and taken it away again began to flow in unexpected directions, causing drought here and flood there.

The people began to see that their support of warmth and light over cold and darkness had altered the balance of the whole world. They began, slowly, one at a time, to realize that the Holly King was dying. And for the first time, this thought filled them with fear. What would happen if the balance continued to be destroyed? Could they even survive in a world without the Holly King?

And in the world of the gods, the Oak King realized it, too. And though they had been competitors all these many centuries, he also realized that he loved his brother deeply, and could not live without him. The longest night came, and the Oak King and the Holly King met again, but this time, the Oak King had no heart for the fight. He lay down his sword and spear. He came, openhanded, to his brother, who was struggling just to stay on his feet. The Oak King wrapped the Holly King in a tight embrace, and he promised to set aside their enmity and to help his brother heal.

On the night when he usually claimed ascendance, the Oak King realized that the world was already too warm and too light. And so, he laid the great oak crown on the head of his brother, took his hand, and each supporting the other, they went out into the world to see what could be done to restore balance.

from Yule Story

Yuletide Greetings!

So now is come our joyful’st feast,
Let every man be jolly.
Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
And every post with holly.
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.
–George Wither (1588-1667)

It’s December 21st, the day of the Winter Solstice; also the longest night of the year, when the Earth is tilted the furthest angle away from the sun. From here, we look forward to the days getting progressively longer until the summer solstice arrives.

So what does it mean? Why is it celebrated? And what’s a “yule”, anyway?

12 weird and wonderful Tudor Christmas traditions, from boy bishops to  Plough Monday | All About History

Until the 16th century, the winter months were a time of famine in northern Europe. Most cattle were slaughtered so that they wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter, making the solstice a time when fresh meat was plentiful. Most celebrations of the winter solstice in Europe involved merriment and feasting. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log.

There are three main theories about Yule (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: Jul / Old Norse: Jól). The first theory describes Yule or Jól (pronounciation: “yoh-l”) as a celebration for the return of the sun. The second theory talks about Yule as a midwinter party for the dead. The third theory describes Yule as a fertility feast, where people would sacrifice animals to the Gods, in the hopes of getting a good harvest in the coming year. Since Yule is about several parties and not just one, all three theories could, in theory, be true.

Today, in many Nordic countries Yule is another word for Christmas, and the connections between the two are made clear thorough the resilience of certain customs, activities, and decor, like singing carols, making a Christmas ham, and one of the most important customs of the holiday: burning the Yule log. Originally, the ceremony involved burning an entire tree and then bringing the remaining trunk or branches indoors to continue burning over twelve nights. Today, you can incorporate it into your decor by creating a wreath with a branch, hollowing out a log and filling it with other relevant Yule decor, or displaying some firewood.

So how was the Yule and Christmas celebrated in Elizabethan England?

Hospitality is the rule. All who can do so furnish their tables with all the meats, marchpanes, pies, custards, and so on that they can afford, and more.

Entertainments in the season include mummer’s plays of various kinds, often incorporating music and morris dancing (also performed at May Day). The story of St. George and the Dragon is especially popular. Morris dancers are regularly invited to perform at Court. Such entertainments are meant for the whole manor or household, including tenants; the whole village; or the whole Court.

The Queen kept Christmas most often at Greenwich Palace, which is relatively small. Alternate locations in certain years are Hampton Court (in 1568 and 1579) and Nonesuch Palace. Court festivities, as at other times, include dancing, gambling, and plays.

The decorations about any house include holly, ivy, box, yew, bay, laurel, holm oak, and in fact, anything still green. Both church records and household accounts show money spent for holly and ivy to be brought in for the holiday. In the church itself, along with the greenery, a wooden figure of the Christ Child sometimes rests on the altar. The “nativity scene” hasn’t come to England from Italy yet.

Mistletoe grows only on oak and apple trees. It isn’t mentioned in a Christmas context before 1622, at which time it seems a fond custom, not newly introduced, but we can’t tell how far back its use in England goes, or if it was regional, or what. If it was common, it should be easy to find. Kissing under the mistletoe was not traditional, even in 1622.

The young men of the household go out on Christmas Eve and dress (trim) a log or block of wood from the central trunk of a tree specially chosen for the purpose. They drag it into the fireplace in the hall, where it is lit with a bit saved from last year’s log, and is expected to burn all night.

Sensible people save pieces from the Christmas log through the next year to protect the house from fire.

The most popular Christmas dinner is brawn (roast pork) with mustard or roast beef. Also popular are mince pies, frumenty, plum porridge, and a Christmas pie of neat’s tongue, eggs, sugar, lemon & orange peel, spices.

Good husband and huswife, now chiefly be glad,
Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had.
They both do provide, against Christmas do come,
To welcome their neighbors, good cheer to have some.
Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall,
Brawn, pudding, and souse, and good mustard withal.
Beef, mutton, and pork, and good pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, and capon, and turkey well drest,
Cheese, apples and nuts, and good carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.
What cost to good husband, is any of this?

Good household provision only it is:
Of other the like, I do leave out a many,
That costeth the husband never a penny
–Thomas Tusser, 500 Points of Husbandry, 1573