I’m a total Renaissance festival geek. I’ve been going for about four years now, and I absolutely love it. I love dressing up, eating turkey legs, exploring castles, and watching jousting. Plus, visiting a Renaissance festival is a great family activity. It gives you the chance to be outdoors, try new things, and be a bit silly together. It also encourages creativity and imagination by allowing your kids to create their own costumes and explore a fantasy world for a few hours! If you are thinking of going to one with your children soon, here’s my guide to everything you need to know about the Ren-Fair:
Tips for having fun and being safe:
-Dressing up is not required, but it always makes the fair more fun! Kids will have a blast picking out their outfits.
-Here are some ideas for costumes: King, queen, pirate, viking, princess/prince, knight, peasant, fairy, thief, assassin, elf, faun, troll, fortune teller, woodland nymph, archer, mermaid, unicorn, dragon, werewolf, vampire. Have fun creating your own character, or go as a character from your favorite series, like Lord of the Rings, How to Train Your Dragon, or even games like World of Warcraft. Anything goes.
-Wear comfortable shoes! I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops last year, and the path was gravel. Ouch! Try boots or flats if you want your footwear to match your costume.
-Be aware of dress code rules. Each renaissance fair is different- be sure to check their website for rules concerning revealing clothing (most do not allow it, and want to keep their fairs family appropriate), and weapon props.
-Most fairs charge for admission, but also have a discounted price for kids. Some may even have lower rates for groups.
-Bring extra money (cash) for food, drinks, and souvenirs. If you’re a fantasy geek, you’ll definitely want to hit up the shops. Many fairs also have shops that cater to kids. Last year, I saw kids running around in fairy wings, face paint, pirate hats, and waving around wooden swords. There are also some pretty cool renaissance themed toys for sale- and they are usually handcrafted and high quality.
-Activities- There is always something going on at the festivals! Most have shows like magicians, comedy, music, animal shows, and even jousting. A lot of these are free, and are perfect for kids (always check the “ratings” on your festival program. Some may not be appropriate for young children). However, performers always appreciate tips. There may even be activities that you pay to do, like archery, mazes, human chess, or even carnival rides or games. The memories and fun are worth it though!
-Since renaissance festivals happen in the Spring and Summer, it’s most likely going to be very hot. Do your best to stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle (or viking drinking horn) if they allow outside food. If not, bring plenty of cash for drinks.
-Stay together! Always supervise your child. Fairs are usually extremely crowded. Make sure your child has your name and phone number on them in case they get lost.
-If you buy toy/prop weapons, make sure your child is handling them properly. Again, supervision is key.
-Familiarize yourself with locations of bathrooms and first aid areas.
Tips for saving money:
-If you haven’t caught on yet, renaissance festivals can get costly if you let them. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
-Buy tickets ahead of time. Pre-sales tend to be a few bucks cheaper
-Pack your own food and drinks if your fair allows outside food.
-Make your own costumes by shopping at thrift stores.
-Only go to free shows and activities. You’d be surprised how many are included with the cost of admission.
-Set a shopping budget for your kids. You can
find lots of fun, handmade trinkets for under 10 bucks.
Photo Credit: Fairy , Fairy Wings, Butterfly Paint, Young Pirate