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North Carolina Renaissance Festival

NC Renaissance Festivals

Lords and ladies, knights and knaves, court jesters and joust contenders...this and much more are a part of the fun and festivities found at North Carolina Renaissance Festivals. If you are looking for a fantastic outing that is unique, you cannot go wrong with a day (or two) spent at the North Carolina RenFest held from early October to late November in Huntersville or at the NC Renaissance Faire in Raleigh on the last weekend in March and first weekend April.

Each year, Renaissance enthusiast and performers come from all around to step back in time. The RenFest has an entire village set up (permanently) where you will find a bakery, metal works, leather works, pub(s) and several stages for live entertainment. There are minstrels, storytellers, and knights in period dress. You may choose to come in “modern day” clothes or, if you wish, wear your own Renaissance outfit. (Should you not have clothing of this type but wish to dress the part, there are clothing rental shops.) Throughout the day, you will want to participate in the games (have you ever wanted to throw a tomato at someone?), ride some rides (elephant or camel riding, anyone?) and be sure to check out the food—especially the famed roasted turkey legs.

Of course, the highlight of the day is the joust. Each day, there are 3 jousting events where skilled horsemen demonstrate the battling techniques of Medieval riding and fighting. The jousting event is among the most popular parts of the day, so be sure to arrive at the arena early enough to secure your seat.

You will also find the live entertainment-sword swallowers, fire-eaters, jugglers, and comedy routines-to be a great way to get a glimpse of the village festivals of old. As you explore the NC RenFest grounds, be sure to take some time to visit the tents, and craftsmen where you can get your fill of costumes, jewelry, swords and all sorts items (reproductions, of course) used during the Renaissance period.

The Renaissance Faire held in Raleigh, has much of the same, though on a smaller scale. Here you will find many more booths for shopping, so it is a great opportunity to purchase items for designing your own costume. The Ren Faire also has jousting—though seating is very limited, as well as children’s play area and performance stages.

Here are our favorite Renaissance Festival shows. in North Carolina. You should also check out other Renaissance Festivals like the one held each year in Georgia.

Photos by Jan Slagell