The Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace – Travel
When our daughter first moved to the Charlotte NC area in 2005, one of the first big events she attended was the Carolina Renaissance Festival. It was an event she could not stop talking about and one that we wanted to attend. Yet, year after year, something seemed to interfere with plans to make the pilgrimage. Then finally, 2018 put us on the right side of the state, and with beautiful (if somewhat hot) weather to stroll through the 16th-century European style art and entertainment festival.
Since this was our first such festival, we didn’t entirely know what to except. We arrived on the grounds in our 21st Century Hybrid car and after a short walk passed through the gates (after using a credit card to purchase tickets) into another century. The event covers an astonishing twenty-five acres dotted with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, theatres, and a dungeon. You cannot walk far in any direction without hearing minstrels, meeting dancers, bumping into magicians, acrobats, harp players, poets, and even dragons.
The festival features all aspects of the Renaissance period showcasing the old middle ages characters (fairies, dwarfs, pirates, trolls) wrestling with the coming Age of Enlightenment (music, art, and entertainment).
As I mentioned, it was HOT when we attended. Fortunately, much of the festival is shaded by pristine woodlands. Only the Queen’s Tournament Arena, where the jousting took place was in direct sun. We stayed for the entire meet, but there was lots of sweating for the spectators (us) in the stands and the men on horseback in full armor. Wait for a cooler day if that is a must event for you at the festival.
Naturally, many games of skill and chance – archery, hatchet throwing (which has become very popular), skills of strength, and more lined the grounds. Food, food, and more food are available. Most eateries use cleaver period theme – Ye Old Names – to label their fare, but it’s all, in fact, traditional festival cuisine.
Most crafts do lean to the idea of the event; swords, shields, garden gnomes, medieval art, pottery, and handmade clothing. One vendor sells prosthetic ear attachments so you can look like a woodland creature of magic.
You can also research your family coat of arms. The Renaissance Festival is the perfect time to take a look into your future as fortune tellers and tarot card readers abound.
However, we can say the best part of the festival easily is the entertainment. With 14 stages spread throughout the grounds, we could not turn a corner without catching a show: One Man Circus, Vaudeville Showman, Bagpipes & Percussion, Ancient Art of Falconry, Dancing Pig Show, Juggling, Fire Eating, and a host of creative and remarkably entertaining programs all included in the admission. We were so impressed by the high level of entertainment we encourage all first timers to make it a point to catch several of these fantastic shows.
It’s not too late to make plans to attend the 25th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival. Every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, until November 18, 2018. There are discount tickets for seniors and military. Parking is Free. This Quick Festival Fact Sheet has just about everything on it you need to know.