The wildly popular Carolina Renaissance Festival is back to celebrate its 28th year Saturdays and Sundays, October 2nd through November 21st. Located just north of Charlotte, NC, the Festival blends imagination, fantasy, and history all within a 20-acre outdoor storybook village filled with shopping, feasting, and non-stop entertainments.
A Simpler Time and Place
It is the 16th century, and the fictional village of Fairhaven is where revelry and celebration rule the day. Villagers, artists, craftspeople, musicians, performance troupes, and food concessionaires create a marketplace festival in celebration of the arrival of their visiting Queen. It is a place where adults can feel and act like children while children are treated as royalty. It is a magical realm where you can forget about your daily cares.
With trumpets blaring and cannon blasting, The Lord Mayor orders the gates of Fairhaven to swing open at 10:00 am and close at dusk. The day is filled with an abundance of attractions appropriate for all age groups, presented upon 16 outdoor stages, each packed with a unique mix of continuous music, dance, comedy shows, and circus entertainments. From Barely Balanced acrobats to one-of-a-kind old-world musical instruments, the entertainment options are endless. The stage shows are always spontaneous; you will never know what happens next, on stage or off.
Don’t miss the Birds of Prey exhibition where the royal falconer will don his hunting garb and take you on a thrilling trip into the past explaining and demonstrating the use of falcons, hawks, owls and more in the ancient sport of falconry. It is both educational and awe inspiring!
The Renaissance Festival would not be complete without a depiction of one of the grandest events of the time period – the popular Tournament Joust! Occurring three times daily, each joust is full of pomp, pageantry, action, comedy, and chivalry as lances shatter, swords clash, and daring deeds of bravery all collide for the Queen’s amusement!
From gallant knights to the marvels of the vast ocean, the Lord Mayor outdoes himself once again in a bid for the Queen’s favor with a personal gift – the return of the Sea Fairies – Swimming Mermaids! Children love watching the mermaids perform underwater flips, blown bubble hearts, and splashing tails!
Action & Adventure
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is home to a most unusual collection of people powered rides and games of skill. Inspired by the joust? Try your skill with a lance on the Slider Joust challenge game. You can storm the castle in a paintball battle or try to solve the riddle of climbing Jacob’s Ladder. Mix skillful pleasure and comic adventure by throwing tomatoes at the insulting fools locked in the stocks at Vegetable Justice. Test your skill at games like the Dragon Climbing Tower, the Archery Range, and the Maze. Take a ride on Christopher Columbus’ Voyage to the New World, the Piccolo Pony (a rocking horse bigger than an elephant), and Leonardo’s Flying Machine; a people powered amusement ride based on Di Vinci’s designs for human flight. A family favorite is Mother and Father Goose brought to life with their costumed ducks and geese, the Petting Farm, and Camel rides.
Early holiday shoppers can peruse over 140 craft shops in a village market which provides a diverse selection of handmade items such as pottery, jewelry, perfume, glass blown ornaments, ceramics, bath & body products, medieval costumes, hand carved candles, unique musical instruments, children’s toys, a full spectrum of clothing, and much more. Watch artisans make a masterpiece right before your eyes. Enjoy demonstrations of fine skills such as weaving, woodcarving, blacksmithing, glassblowing, pottery, and jewelry making – all using ancient skills and low technology.
You will work up a royal appetite perusing all the shops and enjoying all the entertainment. The Festival food is as spectacular as all the attractions. Village kitchens cook up an endless feast of bread bowl stews, steak-on-a-stake, gourmet sausages, and the Festival’s famous giant roasted turkey legs. Gluten free and vegetarian options are also available. For dessert, try the fresh crepes, the cakes and cookies from the Monks Bakery, candy delights from the Chocolate Shoppe, Italian ice, gelato, and a favorite of all renaissance wanderers: a bag of cinnamon-roasted almonds. Festival pubs offer a wide variety of craft beer, wine, champagne, ale, honey mead, soft drinks, and Medieval Margaritas.
It Takes a Village
Job seekers and volunteers can find ample opportunity to join the realm and earn extra income while enjoying the royal atmosphere. Earn $12 – $15 per hour for yourself or pledge to a non-profit organization raising funds for charitable purposes. Tasks include assisting with serving food, directing cars, litter control, and/or being stagehands for one of the Festival’s 16 outdoor stages.
Bust out your sense of good cheer, leave your cares behind, and travel back in time to enjoy the wildly popular and always entertaining Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Market Place!