I don’t know why, but I love the non-war parts of European–particularly British–history. The art, the fashion, the architecture… And by going to the Renaissance Festival, the average person can get a small (albeit historically inaccurate 😛 ) glimpse into this past culture.
The Renaissance Festival is part art fair, part state fair, part cosplay convention, and all enjoyable. One of the memorable aspects are the numerous performances, both on stages and pathways throughout the festival.
This picture is of one of the performances close to the entrance to the festival. Every year I have gone, this guy is there performing on his tightrope. This year he seemed to have upped the level of performance, and here can be seen balancing on a ladder on top of the tightrope, juggling, with everything on fire. Pretty impressive!
There is also a jousting arena!
Looking for a shaded place to sit down, my family and I stumbled across this mime/clown performance. At first it seemed to be more aimed at the younger festival visitors, but soon it was clear that these clowns were as sarcastic and dry as any other performers present.
A bit later we sat in on this performance that was a mix between the three stooges and a knife throwing act, again, highly entertaining.
One of the cool things is the large number of semi-exotic animals. At a state or county fair you can see your fair share of cows, chickens and pigs, but here you can see things like alligators and snakes, and even ride elephants.
As you can see, even the animal exhibits have a sarcastic undercurrent. >.<
The festival grounds are beautiful in and of themselves, with the unique storefronts and stages placed in and amongst trees and small gardens like this one.
Now, the performances and scenery are great, but one of the best things here at the festival is the food! The staple in my family every time we go to the festival is a turkey leg. It is ginormous and messy, but somehow the slightly barbaric feeling that comes with eating this goes well with being surrounded by people dressed as knights, jesters, wenches, fairies and British royalty.
As I mentioned before, this festival is about 50% art fair. Much of the art is jewelry, glass, pottery and “Renaissance-y” things such as swords and clothing, but there is also a lot of (for lack of a better description) interactive art, such as henna, hair braiding, personally dipped candles, roses and even your hands in wax…
All in all, the Renaissance Festival is fantastic. It is entertaining and enjoyable for any age group, has great energy, and is the absolute prime place for people watching. I would say though that there are some performances and people that are a bit risque bordering on inappropriate for younger visitors, but there are plenty of areas where those people and topics can be avoided.
There are also special occasions or features that change each weekend. For example, High Tea with the Queen and Cupcake Wars!
If you happen to be in Minnesota August through September, I would definitely recommend going to the Renaissance Festival! 😀
Looking for more information? Check it out here at their website!