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Renaissance Festival: an Easy & Complete Overview

Renaissance Festival
Source: wikimedia.org

The world has transformed in ways of its art, culture, technology, beliefs, traditions, and everything over the years. The Renaissance Festival celebrates that kind of transition. It is believed that the renaissance was a phase which marked the shift from the Middle Ages to Modernity in European history around the 15th and 16th century. 

The renaissance rediscovered the authentic Greek Philosophy, and thoughts of philosophers like Protagoras started spreading. One of his saying, “Man is the measure of all things,” brought new thinking, and this started spreading in the European village.

The cultural movement of the renaissance highly affected European intellectual life. It had started in Italy, but by the 16th century, the influence of it was experienced in music, art, sciences, architecture, literature, technology, philosophy, and everywhere possible.

The Renaissance Festival or Renaissance Fair is a celebration to revisit and revive the middle age culture. To make people aware of the region’s or state’s medieval legacy, such festivals were initiated. What else is more fun than a weekend for the public to indulge in small business and fun to remind them of their culture?

The Renaissance Festival is usually held in various regions of the United States. These fairs recreate the historical setting and costumed entertainers. Festive food, theatrical and musical acts to show the historical legacy, beautiful handicrafts for sale comprise the Renaissance Festival.

A few fairs are set portraying Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign in England. However, some of the fairs are also set to showcase far earlier times of the reign of King Henry. Some even set the fair depicting times outside the renaissance era, i.e., medieval periods and Viking’s time. 

The Renaissance Festival keeps changing its concept with time. However, one thing remains constant, and that is the historical culture. The cities decide the era and accordingly plan the activities around it.

Here are the details of the few well-known and awaited Renaissance Festival and their activities.

(Also, know about another interesting festival happening across the world—the fun-filled Hot Air Balloon Festival.)

The Texas Renaissance Festival

Renaissance Festival
Source: Flickr.com

The Renaissance Festival of Texas is celebrated in October and November. Each weekend of these months is celebrated with different ideas and themes.

OKTOBERFEST

The first weekend celebrates the opening of the festival by King and Queen.

1001 Dreams

The second weekend is all about bringing the fantasy creatures like faeries and witches to the streets of New Market Village. The fiery dragon-wing eating contest makes the weekend more fun.

Roman Bacchanal

This weekend activity is about floating in the romantic Roman culture with a Roman-themed costume contest and spaghetti eating contest to add more fun.

Pirate Adventure

Aye Aye Captain! A weekend to enjoy your pirate fantasy. Also, the pirates fight for fish and chips eating contest instead of treasure.

All Hallows Eve

The streets are filled with funny and scary Ghouls for this weekend celebration at the Renaissance Festival of Texas.

Heroes and Villains

All the heroes and villains which come from various histories and legends crash this weekend. It also includes the gyro eating contest.

Barbarian Invasion

The streets are filled with barbaric rumpus with the contest of worst dressed barbarian. People tend to show off their worst table manners for the turkey leg eating contest.

Highland Fling

To celebrate the joys of Scotland along with a few contests, lots of people gather on this weekend celebration at the Renaissance Festival.

Celtic Christmas

This is the final three-day celebration welcoming all. The entire kingdom is converted to a beautiful Christmas-y fantasy wonderland. There are 400 shops to select your gifts from. 

You could enjoy this festival with your friends, family, and peer groups. You can even have a 16th-century style dream wedding at the Texas Renaissance Festival with their wedding packages of royal, magical, and romantic style.

Get a glimpse of the Texas Renaissance Festival in this video.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Renaissance Festival
Source: flickr.com

The festival becomes a successful celebration with the varied artisans, entertainers, sponsors, volunteers, patrons, Scott Country, Staff, Corporate Partners, and many others. Celebrated through the end of October and the beginning of September, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival comprises of various Royal daily events, contests, opportunities for fundraising, and lots of vendors. The daily events include:

Feast of Fantasy

This is a two-hour comedy act, which includes a six-course meal. This event provides an unforgettable experience.

 Ménage `a Trois

A unique and romantic garden setting is made where you can have a private hour-long meal with wine, snacks, and melodic music.

Prince and Princess Party

This event is specifically for children where they enjoy a regal gathering with Princess Court and enjoy an out of the world experience.

Pub Crawl

You can enjoy the beer tour and play lots of games. You are even allowed to keep the special tankards. 

Royal Wine Tasting

Feisty fun, along with the richness of wine and excitement of tasting some new flavor, is what this daily event offers for giving you a break.

Much Ado About Mead

This event challenges you to have flights of mead while keeping your head senile for answering trivia questions along with it.

Last Call

By the end of the Renaissance Festival, adults are welcomed to enjoy drinks, food, and fun. 

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is well known for its fundraising events. They help varied organizations to raise funds in four ways viz.

  • Food for Funds, wherein 100 different food and beverage stalls are erected.
  • Bags 4 Bucks Fundraiser, in which, the organization can volunteer for picking up the garbage and recycling it from festival grounds.
  • Cars 4 Cash Fundraiser, where volunteers help to direct and park the vehicles of the people coming for the festival.
  • One Day King’s Crew, where organizations can indulge in any task for a day and can select another task on another day.

There are many employment opportunities also available starting from internships to Festival Site Positions for full time to Weekend Positions for varied part-time work. You can also apply for the position of entertainment. You can even be a vendor at the festival for food or any artistic items. 

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is very famous as it depicts the era of King Henry and his Royal Court in a 16th century European Village.

Ohio Renaissance Festival

The Ohio Renaissance Festival is held on a special ground, which is the Renaissance Park. Along with the special festival activities, there are a few amusements which can be enjoyed all year long. The park is re-created as the 16th Century English Village over 30 acres of land. Over 150 costumed characters welcome you to this majestic set-up.

Renaissance Festival
Source: flickr.com

The festival hosts a Medieval Marketplace where you would find unique shops featuring the skills of glassblowing, leather tooling, boot making, jewelry making, candle making, and lot more. You’d find food and delicacies of the Renaissance period.

You are bound to come across many things that will excite your taste buds in KJ’s Cajun Cuisine, Jerusalem Café offering authentic middle eastern cuisine, Marco Polo’s Bistro giving street tacos, Aleing Knight Pub, Bread Bowl, Bourbon Chicken, Jerky Cart, Corn Crib and many other places in winding streets of the park. 

The festival park offers a lot of games and rides, some of which are human-powered. Your inner child would jump at games of Archery, Storm the Castle Climbing Tower, Star Throw, Pong Bows, Catapulting Frogs, Vegetable Vengeance, Test of Strength, Mud Slide, Jacob’s Ladder, Drench a Wench, and the list goes on. The rides include the Sea Dragon, Crow’s Nest, Witch’s Hat Slip Giant Slide, Carasello, Ship Swings, Round a Go, Camel, and Pony rides.

Renaissance Festival
Source: flickr.com

The festival organizes 100 shows daily in the 15 stages. The shows include action, comedy, music, characters, acrobats, and other artisans. The famous shows held are

  • Full Armour Joust 
  • Pirate Comedy Stunt Show
  • The Swordsmen
  • Moonie the Magnificent
  • Axel the Sot
  • Washing Well Wenches
  • The Sirens
  • Mudde Show
  • The Da Vinci Bros Comedy Operas
  • The Kamikaze Fireflies
  • Knotty Nauticals
  • Band of Pirates
  • Friar Finnegan
  • Lads on the Lash
  • Theatre of Fools
  • Spark the Fairy
  • Witches of Willy Nilly
  • Miami Valley Falconry

Apart from these Renaissance Festival shows, the renaissance park offers a few fun things all year round which include,

  • Brimstone Haunt
  • 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q
  • Sun Henge
  • Celtic Fest Ohio
  • The Orf Blog

The success at such festivals is brought through the merriness of people and their excitement to enjoy every bit of the Renaissance Festival.

Michigan Renaissance Festival

A festival that recreates the outlook and atmosphere of a fictional English Village, called Hollygrove, at the time of Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign. Here you would find streets filled with nobles.

Pirates, wenches, Vikings, wizards, rogues roam around in style. Along with it, you’d witness the stage acts of juggling, sword fighting, lane acts, two-hour feast twice a day, jousting shows, and many games and activities.

In this Renaissance Festival at Michigan, the recreation is to the point that they also follow the caste system of that time.

The entire participating cast is divided as per their social class, and the highest ones will become Queen Elizabeth 1 and her court, the following will be the mayor, rich, middle-class people, and after that comes the middle class consisting of merchants. The lower class participants would become farmers, gypsies, pirates, beggars. 

The festival is held in a permanent area of 100 acres consisting of two large parking areas and two lakes. The Renaissance Festival area being partly on the Holly Township, Michigan, and partly on the Groveland Township, Michigan, they changed the name of the imaginary renaissance village to Hollygrove.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Renaissance Festival
Source: wikimedia.org

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is held during February and March just outside the Gold Canyon. The festival recreates the Tudor Village of 16th Century over 30 acres of land. Buy the little treasures from well-known artisans at the festival.

Over 200 of them put into display their best-handcrafted items ranging from leather goods to jewelry. You can see them work and create a special piece for you right in front of your eyes. The Renaissance Festival market becomes a paradise for shoppers. 

The Renaissance Festival at Arizona is said to be one of the most interactive entertainment. There are 14 stages showcasing acts of varied performers of comedy, dance, music, jousting knights, and others.

There are special student days wherein the festival gives a chance to experience and learn the 16th century to the students. This emerges the thinkers, dreamers, and inventors residing deep in the students.

Renaissance Festival
Source: flickr.com

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is well known for the Pleasure Feast. It is the most exclusive event within the fair. The feast is delicious with wild raucous.

You can enjoy a five-course meal here served by the maiden and be treated like a King. There is live entertainment as the feast contains suggestive and risqué humor. 

There are varied wedding packages available for you to create a fairytale wedding. The various packages include Feast Hall Wedding Package, King’s Pavilion Wedding Package, Queen’s Reception Wedding Package, Royal Sparkling Cider Wedding Package, Sir Lancelot Wedding Chapel Package. 

The weekends at the festival are specifically themed. The Regal Royals, Time Traveler Weekend, Pirate Invasion, BrewFest, Celtic Weekend, Commedia Dell’Arte Weekend, Final Huzzah are a few of them. You can enjoy varied games and rides with endless entertainment activities. There are about 2000 of costumed people giving you a feel of the Renaissance Festival.

Aren’t these festivals tempting and fabulous? There are many other Renaissance Festivals that have their idea along with the basics of the festivals more or less. These Renaissance Festivals are in the country of North America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe. A few remarkable Renaissance Festivals of them are:

  • Bay Area Renaissance Festival, Florida
  • Colorado Renaissance Festival
  • Robin Hoods Faire in Spring, Massachusetts
  • Grand Lake Renaissance Festival, Oklahoma
  • Kansas City Renaissance Festival
  • Kentucky Renaissance Festival
  • Abbey Tournament and Medieval Festival, Australia 
  • Magical Medieval Faire, South Africa
  • Jorvik Viking Festival, England
  • England’s Medieval Festival

If you like the fun and idea of the Renaissance Festival and wish to know if there are any near your living city, click here and know about the list of festivals happening all over the world.

Nandini Raveshiya

Written by Nandini Raveshiya

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