Friday, October 2, 2009


When I was in school, history bored me, unless we were talking about the people of other countries. Social studies did catch at least some of my attention. Hearing how other people dressed and ate and lived differently from myself peaked my interest. I guess that's why, even today, I like folk festivals.

We used to go to the Polish Festival in Riverhead each year, whenever possible. The big draw for Mike was the food, but I liked it all. We're both 'people watchers', so the crowd itself offered a huge amount of entertainment, aside from the colorful costumes, the pagentry, the music, performances, native foods and craft booths. We attended the Southampton Greek Festival too.
Never did we leave without spinach pie!

We attended the Renaissance Fair in Sterling Forest, NY on a number of occasions. It was like going back to Olde Medieval England, to the days of knights on horseback, jousting, to gypsy women belly dancing, to the days when street vendors sold their huge pickles from barrels, while madrigals sang and pipers played. Bagpipers stroll, folk dancers enjoy the circles of gyrations. . The ladies in tall hats with veils trailing and velvets and cinched waisted dresses must be terribly uncomfortable! The serfs and the wenches style is much less fancy, but probably equally as warm. The men in suits of armor, chain mail, even tights and tunics must be no less uncomfortable.

The food is delectible: bread bowls filled with cheese and broccoli soup or stews, roasted turkey legs, and other such fare. Fragrances of oils and lotions permeate the breeze. Crafts people offering silver jewelry, tankards, blacksmithed wares, textiles, musical instruments, childrens costume items of the time, floral head wreaths. There are games to watch, and some to participate in and stage performances to see. We watched a wedding in front of the Queen's castle, and rode on a horse drawn wagon with the friendly monarch. I think of all the fairs and festivals I've attended, this may be my favorite, and I look forward to attending one in NC in November.

It is such fun to move into another realm, to become yourself in another place and time, just for the day. But then, when we are full of unusual food and our minds are full of exhaustion, it's time to go home. We do so, with appreciation, knowing the comfort of the familiar awaits.

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