It’s nearing the second month of the year, which means it’s time for a Halloween party, right?
That’s the idea behind this year’s Wicked Faire, a weekend-long event in Somerset, New Jersey.
I first learned about Wicked Faire last year, when my friend Christine Najarian announced that she would be performing there for the second time. Christine is a gorgeous, curly-haired gypsy girl who does cool stuff like this:
She runs a performance troupe called Adamo Ignis, which means “to fall in love with flame”. Her resumé is a bit different from most folks': she’s a fire-swallower and fire-breather, she walks on broken glass, and she sits on beds of nails, to name a few of her unusual skills. She’ll be back at Wicked Faire again this year.
Christine describes Wicked Faire as “a convention for misfits”. It’s a collection of performers and vendors displaying everything from alternative music to burlesque to katana demonstrations. It’s also an event where everyone comes in costume — the weirder, the better.
I got in touch with Jeff Mach, who coordinates Wicked Faire along with several other events in the area, to find out how Wicked Faire came to be and what makes it work. He explained that in the Northeast, where the weather is terrible all winter long, it’s nearly impossible to have an outdoor festival, and a lot of people sit around waiting for the Renaissance faire to open in the spring. He started Wicked Faire seven years ago as an indoor Ren faire, but it has since grown so much and attracted people from so many different subcultures that it’s now just “an unusual faire for unusual people.” It’s open to ages 16 and up, so the performers get to unleash the raunchier acts that they have to rein in during a more family-oriented event like a Ren faire. The festivities take up the entire first and second floors of the hotel, and the guests stay in the rooms above and keep the party going all night. There’s gaming, teatime, hypnotists, and wandering werewolves — yeah, definitely not your ordinary faire.
The theme of the faire changes every year, so each year’s costumes bring their own flavor of unusual to the party. Jeff told me that one ninja from the Pirates vs. Ninjas-themed year carried a little shrub around to hide behind (which reminds me of one of our local celebrities here in the Bay Area). There were some fabulous Oompa Loompas in the Chocolate Factory-themed year, and another year one memorable fellow wearing a large dragon head ran straight into the faire, past the registration desks and into the crowd, certainly startling quite a few fairegoers!
If you’re in the NJ area on February 17-19 this year, go play at the Wicked Faire, see some amazing acts, and take lots of pictures! The Wicked Faire staff promises that they will be “working like frantic maniacal magical monkeys with superpowers” to make this year’s faire the most unforgettable weekend ever.
And for those of you who have been there before, what did you think? Which acts blew your mind? What will you be wearing this year?