Welcome to "The Gods Are Out Shopping!" I'm Anne Johnson, and for once I got a raise this year. Time to spend, spend, spend!
Well, um. Not exactly. I'm actually losing money over last school year, because I quit all the after-school side hustles that padded my paycheck.
But pish, tosh! Last weekend was Dark Moon, and New Jersey is beset with this new event called Lunar Faire. It happens on New Moons and Full Moons, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. This time it was close to my house, so I went.
I had high hopes for Lunar Faire, because the advertising for it includes "chaos" in the activities. And it is a dedicated Pagan event. How could I not have a good time?
If there's anything I've learned from writing "The Gods Are Bored," it's that you'd better gird your loins if you're going to say anything critical about a festival. Lots of people make money from vending and organizing festivals, and they don't appreciate feedback.
But in my search for information about Lunar Faire before I went, I found -- next to nothing. One short article about the two women who founded the event. That was it.
So if you're Googling Lunar Faire and finding this, I am going to be as candid as possible, so you can make a judgment about going.
The Lunar Faire I attended was held at Burlington County Fairgrounds, which is a good, large venue with lots of parking. And it turned out they needed those acres of parking, because this event was more than well-attended. It was crowded. There must have been 4,000 people there.
Mr. J and I went together. Two tickets cost us about $27. We got there about 45 minutes before dark and joined a throng of young, enthusiastic New Agers flocking into the faire.
Knock me over with a feather. I had no idea there were so many Pagans in South Jersey.
Lunar Faire is a night market. There are vendors with booths, selling merchandise. There were lots of crystals for sale, and jewelry, and candles, and tie-dye, and personal care products. There was a sound healing booth and several tarot booths. Stuff was affordable.
Uh oh. I've got to say it. The event was so crowded, it was hard to see what was in the booths. And then it got dark.
There was entertainment at Lunar Faire, but the darkness was a problem. There was a singer doing acoustic covers of classic rock at one end of the venue, and a small drum circle in the middle. I'm usually all in for drum circles, but this one had an odd vibe (at least to me). It seemed like the other people were enjoying it, though. It was dark.
The other entertainment was a drag queen show. And again, most of the spectators seemed to be loving it, but it was dark. The MC, Cookie Dough, had all the moves, but she was shrouded in shadow. And again, it was so crowded that Mr. J and I couldn't get close enough to really see what was going on.
I think there was a ritual -- at least the little piece of paper they handed out said there would be a ritual -- but there wasn't any real list of events to consult, no program, and no listing of events online. I didn't see the ritual, so I can't comment on it.
Mr. J and I wandered around for about two hours. We bought a brass candle holder and some moisturizer. Very affordable and high quality.
I guess what I want to say is, if I'm paying to get into a venue, I want to be entertained more. I want a list of activities at least posted where I can consult it, and those activities should be well-lit and variable. Most festivals that require an entrance fee have roving performers who interact with the crowd. Lunar Faire doesn't have that.
This is a very young event, like two years old or something. And for such a new event, it was extremely well-attended. I can't confirm that its popularity is due to Tik Tok influencers, but that's what I've heard.
Long sermon short, if you want to go somewhere in the dark where you will be surrounded by New Age people, or if you want to purchase items from Pagan-themed vendors, this is the place for you. But if you don't like crowds, and you're spoiled by decades of flawlessly crafted Fairy Festivals and earnest Pagan Pride Days (I stand accused), you're likely to be disappointed.
Watch me get hexed for writing this.