The horses eagerly await the joust, the knights are honing their swords and the minstrels tuning their instruments… IT’S FAIRE DAY!! Once again this September, the Sands Point Preserve and all who are present will be transported back in time to the Middle Ages. The Preserve’s great lawn, Castlegould and Hempstead House provide the perfect backdrop for the annual Medieval Festival, presented by Medieval Scenarios and Recreations, Inc. The popular weekend event, which features knights in shining armor, medieval archers and kings and queens, takes place this year on September 10-11 and 17-18, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Each day, the festival begins with a procession of the royal court to the viewing stands, followed by battles among knights in shining armor armed with swords, maces and battle axes. Twice a day, jousting matches are held on the lawn behind Hempstead House, and exhibitions of archery skill by medieval bowmen and “fight the knight” demos (Visitors are invited to try their hand at these ancient endeavors) are offered several times a day. At the close of each day, there is the “storming of Castle Gould” to free the captured queen, followed by a meeting of the Royal Court to determine the fate of the queen’s kidnappers.
Throughout the day, the historic atmosphere is enhanced with period entertainment, including instrumentalists, madrigal singers, a dance troupe and a traditional Maypole dance, as well as a medieval-style puppet show performed by noted puppeteer Fred Greenspan. Other activities include a fashion show featuring the ornate costumes of lords and ladies, craftspeople demonstrating a variety of fine skills, and games for children and adults.
During the Medieval Festival, all visitors to the Sands Point Preserve pay the Festival admission of $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 4 – 14. Children under 4 years of age are free with a parent.
Perhaps the most impressive of the North Shore’s early-20th-Century estates, Sands Point first served as the home of railroad heir Howard Gould and was later purchased by Daniel and Florence Guggenheim. The 216-acre preserve, located by the Long Island Sound, is dominated by the massive Hempstead House and Castle Gould, with a second mansion, “Falaise,” overlooking the Sound. Falaise will be open for tours from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. during Festival weekends. An additional fee will be charged for the tour.
In addition to the homes, Sands Point has beautiful walking trails, wooded areas and a shoreline.
During the Medieval Festival, all visitors to the Sands Point Preserve pay the festival admission of $12 for adults and $6 for children ages four to 12 (those under four are free with a parent).
The Sands Point Preserve is located at 127 Middleneck Road in Sands Point, about six miles north of Long Island Expressway Exit No. 36 (Searingtown Road). For more information, call 516-571-7900 or visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/parks.