I took a walk up to Fort Tryon Park this afternoon to see if I could catch the tail end of the medieval festival. I got there at 4pm and was in plenty of time to see some fun entertainment. Lots of people in costumes, Irish folk singers on the flat bed truck (No Nay Never !!! No Nay Never No MOOOORE !!!), a fenced off area where a falconer had his birds on perches w/ the hoods over their eyes (and a couple of dachshund dogs scurrying around to scare off stray birds I guess), even a guy strumming his guitar singing Irish shanties near the food line.
I got to the main jousting area in time to see the end of one act... a funny exhibition of tortures and executions. They had a guy on a bed of nails, and they put a melon on his chest and sliced it in pieces w/ a sword... and the swordsman was blindfolded at the time.
Next up was a Pipe and Drum team who should have played a lot more... they just marched around the area once... took about 3 minutes. Then out came a Celtic dance team of about 7 lasses. Very graceful and lovely in their period costumes and rings of flowers in their hair. Funny thing was before the act, I saw one of them walking along the path signaling to the sound man that she's got something... there she was in full costume at waving her iPod w/ the RCA cables attached. A bit of an illusion breaker, but what the hell... it's NYC after all.
And then finally the main event... the Joust. Oh, but no... that had to wait until a bunch of MORONS in suits got up to the podium to give their thank you speeches, thanking the Mayor (who was not there), the local council members, the parks department chief, etc etc etc. At least four people came up to prattle on to a crowd that just wanted to see the horses. One jackass started telling stupid medieval riddles... "Where to you park your camels? Camelot. Why was King Arthur's table round? So nobody could back him into a corner." Yeah... it was THAT BAD. And it wasn't one or two jokes, this guy kept it up for five minutes.
Finally the joust got under way. I'm glad to see that Professional Wrestling was alive and well back in the middle ages. The balsa wood lances all split according to plan, the bad guy snuck up on the good guy and whacked him across the back w/ a big stick, and finally the good guys triumphed in the end. The whole joust, including target whacking and ring catching, didn't take more than 20 minutes... but it was enough action for everybody to see what they needed to see in a joust.
It was a bit awkward at the end, as the horses are trotting out, and all the actors are leaving, a few actors came out and did a bit of a fight that didn't seem to fit in w/ the rest of the show. It was cool though... a young female swordsman was fighting a heavy guy who looked like a dark wizard. He was in black, w/ a black cape and an evil looking armor helm. He blocked and parried her attacks with the help of his shield, but finally she got him in the gut. But before he went down for the count, he "used the force" to throw her backward, and was about to go in for his own crushing blow when another young swordsman jumped in and took him out. Then two more poeple came out and said they would take him prisoner and everybody walked off the field. It was soo wierd, because there were "squires" packing up the lances and the jousting grear all over the place, as if the show was over... and they were not even acknowledging this wizard/swordsman battle right next to them.
So.... all in all it was a great two hours in the park. Luckily there was no more than a quick drizzle of rain while I was there.