One word: hills. Yup, here Queen 'Lizzy is in command of this very hilly village set inside a vast forest, and the elegance is forthcoming - the pomp and circumstance of the era in which she reigned the British Isles is shown in the almost gawdy look of the faire. Yet, I must admit, I was impressed with the scenery and atmosphere of the fairegrounds, the cast of performers and the jousting team. There are no sit down pubs, but there are sidewalk taverns serving beer, ale, mead and cider in just about every section. The grounds are divided into main sections like the gypsy camp, craftspeople and several stage areas. There are some wandering musicians and street performers yet the vast size of the grounds do tend to make it a quiet time to be had. Food? Well, to be honest, I didn't eat much (we camped with the participants, but judging from the looks on the people stuffing their faces, it was very good. Many styles of costumes abound, and the participants take special care into creating their own unique look. Overall, I enjoyed the faire and look forward to visiting the shire again. God save the Queen.
A post 2001 season (been a long time in coming) update. Sterling has become my second home because of the atmosphere and friendliness of the patrons and cast alike. Several additions are worth mentioning: the new 'Dunke Ponde' is ever so much nicer than the faire's previous one. The elevated stage area assures that there is no bad seat for the shows. Empty Hats, an extremely talented group of musicians, have been added to my often replayed CDs -- if you haven't had the priviledge of attending one of their shows, I would highly recommend that you do so at your earliest opportunity. I did try the food this time around and it was excellent (especially the Tiramisu [licking lips]). The faire, it's cast and it's patrons have won me over and I look forward to the next time I can wander the cozy streets of the village again.
Another visit to the shire of Warwick this July -- I'll make sure that this page is updated with any changes.
Visit the Sterling Renaissance Festival's WebSite.