It started with a simple concept.  An indoor renaissance faire in the winter, in NJ.  Not a tourist trap for families, but geared to the audience who is counting the days until the spring and the larger faires of summer, and call it Jeff Mach’s Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire.  It grew from that into a very diverse event featuring ninjas, pirates, steampunk, almost anything you can think of will fit into this alternate universe.

The official theme for this year’s Wicked Faire event was “The Wicked Chocolate Factory” and added a sweet layer to the event.  The faire was held at the Hanover Marriott this past weekend, and I attended Friday night as I enjoy the shopping opportunities and seeing some great costumes.

A mime and a hooper entertaining faire arrivals

Steampunk fashion is growing in popularity and was prevalant this year, with many scheduled events including an amazing fashion show.  If you haven’t heard of steampunk, you may recognize it when you see it.  Think of it as victorian science fiction – steam powered machinery taken into the future, ala H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

We arrived at the event and started wandering among the vendors – familiar faces and new ones sold leather goods, costuming, jewelry, and more.  By the time we reached the main ballroom, people were gathering for the steampunk fashion show to start, but looking around at the audience was just as much of a show.

This faire was a little more Victorian than Medieval

This faire was a little more Victorian than Medieval! A guest waiting for the fashion show to start

However the fashion show did not disappoint.  Men and women dressed in intricate outfits walked the catwalk (or stage) with grace and professionalism as fans and photographers looked on.  It was worth the longer than usual intermission, understandable when you saw how complicated some of the outfits could be.

One of many fabulous outfits on display

One of many fabulous outfits on display

This Little Red Riding Hood doesnt look like shes scared of any wolves!

This Little Red Riding Hood doesn't look like she's scared of any wolves!

For more amazing photos, check out the Wicked Faire photo pool on Flickr here.  (My photos are only partially loaded online, but I’ll be adding all of them to the photo pool this evening.)

Ghostbusters provided security, and enjoyed a little shopping as well.

Ghostbusters provided security, and enjoyed a little shopping as well.

After the show ended, we finished exploring the vendors on the main floor and upper floor conference rooms.  Living up to the “Wicked” part of the name, the adult vendor rooms checked ID’s at the door before perusing costuming and accoutrements of a more wicked nature – the only children at this event are grown ones.  However, there certainly is a little something for everyone with the variety of interests and hand crafted wares.

Our wallets much lighter, we decided to head home rather than stay for the headlining events – performance by Voltaire, a showing of the movie “Repo: The genetic Opera” with a shadowcast, and many other talented groups.  However, we were not to escape without some chocolate.  Speaking briefly with some fairegoers at the side door, I was suddenly presented with a Golden Ticket!

Golden Tickets! Photo by Sessa

Golden Tickets! Photo by Sessa

We could not skip this amazing opportunity.  We joined Willy and Veruca in an afterparty where yes, you COULD lick the wallpaper (covered in candy buttons!), cupcakes, and enjoy some homemade mead by Long Island Meadery.  I recommend the root beer mead for something truly different, but every variety we tasted was wonderful!

Willy and Veruca - Behave or he'll take away your golden ticket!

Eventually we tore ourselves away from this chocolate fantasy land and headed home.  We had another busy day ahead of us the next day, and you’ll hear about that shortly.

So next February, when the snowy weather is getting you down, make your way to the Wicked Faire for some serious entertainment and sunny spirits!