10 Classic Renaissance Faires Across America Slideshow
With eight unique themed weekends, it’s easy to see why the Texas Renaissance Festival is the nation’s largest faire. Furthering the old adage that "everything’s bigger in Texas," this Renaissance Faire invites costumed-attendees to compete in a polka dance-off, tuck into a plate of bratwurst, and enjoy the fall foliage as you wander through the Magic Garden. Don’t forget to stop by the Musketeer’s Banquet for some tasty dragon meat on a stick.
16th-century England is alive and well at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Festival-goers dress up as fair maidens and wenches who try to resist the sly charms of a wandering rogue. Don’t forget to feed thy hunger at Valley Meade with a knave sandwich and some hot apple dumplings. Throw a garland in your hair, and twirl in your dress as the wandering musicians play music for the visiting King and Queen.
Celebrate the end of winter at Robin Hood’s Springtime Festival in Connecticut. Bring along your merry men to compete in the Men in Tights contest and join Prince John as he invites you to the Feast of the Merry: two hours of festival fare like apple cider doughnuts and fish & chips, live entertainment, and royal treatment. Don’t let Fido miss out on all the fun. Pets are welcome for one weekend, and are encouraged to dress up.
Find unexpected solutions to an ever-growing gift-giving list with the unique works of local artisans at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. For hearty Renaissance food, stop by The King’s Kitchen for some giant turkey legs, beef stew bread bowls, steak on a stake, and a tankard of ale. Try your hand at archery, discover Da Vinci’s flying machine, and as the day ends, watch knights defend the Queen’s honor with a royal joust.
A veteran faire, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival celebrates its 41st year of pageantry and medieval fun. The Feast of Fantasy promises gastronomic delights and costumed Faire-goers can quench their thirst at the Royal Ale Fest. Men can try their hand at the Wench press, and compete to see who can lift their wench the highest. Then, journey down the Silk Road as belly dancers, live music, and a longbow event compete for your attention.
Don’t get locked up in The Dungeon of Yorkshire Tower at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, in Texas. The narrow, winding corridors and eerie cries of help will have you running for the nearest alehouse. Stop at the White Horse Tavern for a mug full of courage, and enjoy some steak on a stake or Shepherd’s pie at the Village Kitchens. As the strolling minstrels pass by, why not find a partner and strike up a dance?
Find Robin Hood and his band of merry men at the Sherwood Forest Faire. Steer clear of the Sheriff of Nottingham and head to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub where you’ll rub shoulders with a certain British playwright. Tasty Renaissance fare can be found at Brou Ha Ha, where they’ve slain “fantastical beasts” for your dining pleasure. Take your prince and princess in training to the enchanted forest for a glimpse of magic, and maybe even a fairy.
The Chippewa Valley Renaissance Festival in Wisconsin stays 16th century-traditional in the spring, but undergoes a spook-filled transformation into the Village of Terror come October. Get into the Halloween spirit with a visit to The Asylum, take a haunted hayride, and enjoy some bubbling brew and spooky eats at the Witches Kitchen.
Ren Faires (as they’re known to insiders) aren’t only about giant turkey legs and mugs of ale. Massachusetts’ Winslowshire Renaissance Festival gives back by donating a portion of their proceeds to the Animals of Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary. Listen to Shakespeare recite lines from his most famous plays with a mug of ginger ale or a hearty soup in a bread bowl in hand, knowing that you’re doing some good as well.
The Valhalla Renaissance Faire offers two unique weekends of celebrations, each with a different theme. Experience the magic of fantasy, with fairies and magicians strolling through the marketplace; braid your hair with flowers, and you’ll fit right in. On the second weekend, beware ye scallywags! The pirates have landed and they are joined by a host of Barbarians. Pick up defensive skills as you watch the local joust and spend a few doubloons on turkey legs, sausages, and caramel apples from the Golden Apple and the King’s Spud.