A couple of weekends ago, my friends and I set off for the adventure that is the Arizona Renaissance Festival. I’ve been a couple of times before and it’s always a fun local adventure. The Festival grounds here are permanent and the medieval amusement park is open every weekend from (generally) the first weekend in February to the last in March. Covering over 30+ acres with 13 stages, plenty of arts and craft “stores,” and it’s very own jousting tournament, the Festival definitely has something for everyone!
There are stages hosting comedy acts, singing, dancing, musical entertainment, acrobatics, falconry, etc. The characters do a great job staying in character and I am inevitably (despite all efforts to the contrary) pulled in to the drama that is the jousting tournament. (smile) The aroma of giant turkey legs abounds next to beer in chalices and other similar forms of refreshment. Should you be so inclined, you can also rent a costume – or buy one – and fit right in! It’s an anything-goes (as long as it’s family friendly in an old school Disney movie sort of way) atmosphere, which definitely makes for some entertaining people watching!
When I first drove past the Festival grounds, I was blown away that the “village” and jousting arena were permanent fixtures. Honestly, until I moved to Arizona I had never attended a Renaissance Faire – I’d only seen them on TV or in books. So I of course marked my calendar in eager anticipation to attend the next year, and I’ve been back at least every other year since that first experience. I love the atmosphere at the Festival – the slightly romantic, fantasy vibe you get from walking around a medieval village with knights in full armor carrying cell phones. (smile) And if you go with the right group of people – and keep the right sense of humor about it all – it’s a guaranteed good day in the desert.
A few recommendations:
- It always seems like the first and last weekends are the busiest. Same goes for mid-day whenever you go.
- Buy tickets ahead of time – online or at the local grocery (Fry’s Food) – to avoid ticket lines.
- You can’t take in water, but you can take in an empty water bottle – there are “well water” fountains inside.
- Sunscreen – take it and wear it!
- Layers – it’s a funny time of year in the desert, so it never hurts to plan for everything.
- On the clothing note, wear good shoes – it is in an open area in the middle of the desert.
- Take photos, but remember to take in the atmosphere as well. I may only have a handful of photos, but I have tons of good memories. (smile)
Find more information here: http://www.royalfaires.com/arizona/