There is a 16th Century English village near Annapolis that comes to life for only a couple of months a year – and when it does it transports visitors back in time to the Renaissance. Once you enter the gates, men and women all become Lords and Ladies and every little girl is called Princess. Visitors in shorts and tank tops mingle with visitors in full Renaissance-era regalia, fairies, elves, knights, and pirates.
Besides walking around the “realm” and people-watching there is a lot to do at the Renaissance Festival. There are several stages with non-stop entertainment. Shows include Fractured Fairytales, magicians, Jousting, a witch trial, plays, musicians, puppets, Shakespeare, and more. My family’s favorites included the Johnny Fox King of Swords sword swallowing show, the Wheel of Death, and the Nature of Mercy interactive sword fighting demonstration and comedy. There are also several “special bonus weekends” including pirate weekend, Scottish Celebration, and Romance weekend with a vow renewal ceremony performed by the King, and Jousting Competition weekend with extra jousting competitions. All of these are included with the price of admission.
In addition to the above, there are many crafts people selling their wares including jewelry, glass, armor, swords, and hand-made dragons. There also costumes available to rent or buy and girls can even get their hair done in fancy braids. Besides the shows there are free pony rides and a pirate-themed playground for children. There are also several other activities available for a small fee including a very large rock climbing wall shaped like a castle, a dunk tank, and axe-throwing (for adults only).
Some people go the Renaissance Festival simply for the food. There are several areas set-up throughout the village as well as taverns selling ale and mead. Enormous smoked turkey legs and steak-on-a-stake are favorites, but there are also kid-favorites including mac-n-cheese on a stick, pizza, and spaghetti. Desserts are plentiful and include apple fritter sundaes and chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Renaissance Festival is open on weekend through October 25, 2015 plus Columbus Day.
- Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and it is open rain or shine.
- Non-peak adult tickets are $19.00 and children are $8.00. Children under 7 are admitted free. Prices rise on September 13, 2015 to $24.00 for adults and $10.00 for children. Multi-day passes are available.
- Parking is free.
- Bathrooms are all port-a-potties; changing tables are available.
- The Festival is stroller-friendly although there are hills and all paths are made of dirt.
Photos by Jamie Davis Smith.