As January winds down and and I sit here sipping my tea and thinking about events to write about, it suddenly dawns on me that one of New Jersey’s finest, open-minded, and most welcoming events is approaching fast.
The Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire (called Wicked Faire by most routine attendees) is an event that takes place in Somerset, New Jersey and occurs annually on a three day weekend in mid-February. It was founded by a man with a crazy dream by the name of Jeff Mach, who wished to bring together people from all walks of life with the intent of having each and every person enjoy what one event could offer them. It grew up and evolved out of one of his first events, the Cult Movies Overnight, which was a very early model for Wicked’s formula of vendors, demos, performers, friends, and fun. Wicked also had its initial start as a birthday shindig of sorts for its founder.
This year, Wicked Faire’s theme is Halloween. There will be more costumes than usual present, there will be spooky decorations, and, yes, there will even be trick or treating! If you need an excuse to feel like a kid again, dress up, bring a pail, and come trick or treat with the vendors and other guests!
Where to start with gushing about this event and why you should go to it? Well, to begin, it’s very friendly to people who have alternative lifestyles. The counts of people who attend Wicked Faire who have been labeled by mainstream society as “different” are innumerable. Are you a gay goth Pagan with a penchant for BDSM play? Oh my dear, this is the place for you. Goths, punks, steampunks, LGBTQ individuals, BDSM/kink enthusiasts, people who have various religious beliefs… EVERYONE is welcome at Wicked, and I’ve never had a really bad experience with anyone there because people are so friendly. (Some may argue too friendly, but there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?)
The vendors showcased at this Faire are as diverse as the attendees. Vendors might be selling jewelry, cooking supplies, clothing, corsets, leather bracers and tunics, metaphysical supplies, adult novelty items, books, or even honey and beeswax candles. I have seen it all in the vendor’s rooms and I’ve never been bored with the selection of any fine items these hard-working craftsmen and craftswomen have to offer!
Need more convincing? The entertainment at Wicked Faire is beyond spectacular. Are you familiar with the “gothic dark cabaret” singer and popular icon, Voltaire? Voltaire often headlines the musical performances on Saturday night, which are something to not miss out on, and can usually be found prior to his act either signing autographs and mingling with his fans or having a drink with or without his fans at the hotel bar . Wicked also has a wide array of other performers, such as belly dance troupes (which can often be found dancing to drums in the hallways!), an erotic hypnotist by the name of Aaron Glotfelter, bands from a few different musical genres, character performers, and more sweet and sexy burlesque performances than you can shake a stick at!
I don’t just mean the performers when I say “entertainment” either. When you enter Wicked Faire, you are entering into another world where nothing is impossible and your experience is only limited by your own imagination. Want to dress up like a cat? Movie or cartoon character? A mischievous Fae? Yourself? The people that come in costume for the event sometimes come up with the most creative endeavors in costuming one can only dream of. Some of the best memories from the event are the ones made with other attendees.
Of a most particular note, this year there will be a Goblin Market set up. The tickets to this are a little extra, but will be worth the price to see what these creatures have for sale. Never been to a Goblin Market? Basically, these magical and curious beings will have items you’ll want… for a price. However, goblins don’t have the same monetary system as humans do. Perhaps that knick-knack you’re looking at costs a dream, a song, or even a childhood memory. The only way to find out is to go there yourself and barter!
Wicked Faire has consistently been much more than just an event to its attendees: It has become a community. There are dozens of people who have friends at the Faire that they only see at the event. Many people who attend Wicked use some of the most common social media sites (such as Facebook) to stay in touch, but Wicked Faire has even spawned its own social media site, The Wicked Faire Village, in order for Faire regulars to keep in touch and plan gatherings around the event.
Wicked Faire VII will be at the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey, and will take place February 17-19, 2012. The best thing about Wicked Faire is that it is fairly local for most people in Central New Jersey, but isn’t a far reach from North/South New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, or Connecticut. You can find more information on the location of the event here and, most importantly, buy your tickets on Wicked’s ticket page! Tickets for all weekend are $50 online, but will be $60 at the door (Single day tickets will also be sold at the door only); Goblin Market tickets are an extra $10 (and possibly $20 at the event!) Buy your tickets today!
If you go, have a great time. I’ll be there having a blast!