Attracting more than 60 million visitors in 2016, New York is one of the top destinations on the planet. The City that Never Sleeps serves as the heartbeat of American culture and visitors will love the sheer amount of art galleries, performance centers, and overall creative energy of New Yorkers. Whether you're exploring the attractions at Central Park or browsing one of the largest art collections in the world at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York is perfect for you.
The Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park has provided entertainment for tens of thousands of people annually, and it will take place October 1 at Fort Tryon Park. Attendees will encounter a medieval celebration that aims to bring medieval customs and activities to life. The showrunners turn Fort Tryon Park into a vibrant medieval market town complete with vendors, costumed performers, demonstrations, and two castle reproductions. Craft vendors will sell everything from replica weapons to hand-carved Santas, and food vendors will feature turkey legs, steak on a stick, corn on the cob, and more. The event will have live music on multiple stages including Medieval inspired music and music styles from around the globe. Attendees can enjoy a variety of live entertainment options including falconry demonstrations, live jousting, armored combat, Robin Hood shows, and a children's parade. We got the chance to interview Tonya Reeves, a representative for the event to learn more about this Medieval extravaganza.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
TR: Rub the rust off thy armor, iron thy chain mail, gird thy loins, and polish up on ye chivalry because it’s time for the 33rd Annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park. The annual event is one of the largest and longest running events in NYC, and it’s sponsored by The City of New York Parks and Recreation and the Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
TR: There is an expected attendance of between 45,000-65,000 people (depending on weather).
RAL: What demographic does your event attract?
TR: The event is perfect for the entire family.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
TR: Performers and fairgoers dress in historical costumes. Medieval food is available, and vendors sell a variety of crafts. The afternoon culminates with a jousting event between knights on horseback!
Here are some Medieval Festival highlights:
The Grand Tilts and a Royal Joust between knights in armor on horseback! Yes, they do knock each other off their horses!
Team USA of the Battle of the Nations, back from the world championships of medieval armored combat!
Story telling, puppets, and activities for the kids.
Acclaimed ensembles and individuals presenting a variety of medieval music, dance, and song.
Live falconry demonstrations with Mike Dupuy.
Excerpts from Chaucer and Shakespeare (perchance, one of his Medieval-themed classics like Henry V.)
Magicians worthy of Merlin will cast spells on youngsters of all ages, and acrobats will perform for all to enjoy.
Demonstrations of Medieval crafts, life, and fashions.
Not one, but two, almost authentic-looking Medieval Castles.
Plus, two neat dragons you get to meet as they strut along the street!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
TR: If you're visiting New York City around the time of the Medieval Festival and happen to be staying in one of the many New York City hotels, commuting to the Upper Manhattan area is very convenient. Or, stay at one of the local Airbnb's in the vicinity.
Fort Tryon Park is located in Upper Manhattan, north of the George Washington Bridge. Visitors are urged to take public transportation – there is no public parking at the festival. The public is advised to take either the “A” train to the 190th Street Station or the M4 bus – either one takes you right to the park entrance.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
TR: With an attendance of nearly 60,000 people to the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park - the local restaurants are patronized by the festival attendees.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
TR: Donations made at the festival's "Wishing Well" - located at the entrance of the Park - help support this annual event. There are many FREE activities for children and adults.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
TR: The festival is a unique chance to experience the Medieval period in the most authentic setting this side of the Atlantic. The area around the Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon Park is transformed into a Medieval market village where knights in armor, jugglers, jesters, magicians, musicians, storytellers, and puppeteers will perform. A blacksmith, manuscript illuminator, pottery decorator, wood carver and other artisans will demonstrate their crafts.
For more information about the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park, please visit the event website.
Photography Credit: Bill Ritter