The North Carolina Renaissance Festival is an annual event located near Charlotte that is open every weekend through October and November.
The festival features elaborate costumes, acrobatic performances, jousting, immersive scenery, fortune telling, fall foods and treats, along with handcrafted art and goods. The event provides a great fall atmosphere and lovely little escape from daily life.
In my experience, Renaissance Festival has something for everyone. It is extremely family friendly while appealing to more mature audiences with a large variety of shows and activities.
For the past few years, Renaissance Festival has been such a staple fall activity. I have been attending Ren Fest since 2016 and I was happy to be in attendance again this past weekend.
To summarize my experience and highlight my favorite events, I have outlined my three favorite things about Renaissance Festival. If you want to find more that the festival has to offer or want to purchase tickets you can do so at the Carolina Renaissance Festival website.
If you enjoy or have an interest in costuming, this is the event for you. It is amazing to see the large variety of costumes and outfits at the Faire. I have seen pirates, knights, fairies, steampunk outfits, dungeon and dragon characters, jesters, vikings, beautiful dresses and the list can go on.
Every year I look forward to making a new outfit, and each year I try to do something drastically different from the year before.
Costumes are a great way to both express yourself and step out of your normal persona. I find a lot of joy in wearing clothes that are typically out of the norm– but at Ren Fest the abnormality is encouraged. The sense of community surrounding costuming at the festival is contagious.
As an example, one of my friends decided to dress up as a jester this year. He had a vibrant, jingling jester hat and neon green garb. His costume instantly brought him into the environment. Shopkeepers and complete strangers at the festival would put on a character and ask him to tell a joke — he would do so.
The power connectivity of costumes at this event is magical. Although, there are plenty of people who choose not to dress up too. Admiring the neat costumes around the festival is magical within itself.
A large attraction to Ren Fest is the sheer amount of shows they have each and every weekend. By shows I mean various performances from acting, to comedy, to dangerous stunts, to soothing music and daring acrobatics.
One of my favorite performances from all the years I have been is a trio of acrobats by the name of Barely Balanced.
This performance has equal parts silliness and skill. I was absolutely amazed by their tricks when I first saw them. Their name speaks truth.
I also want to note how great of a stage presence they have. This trio is extremely charismatic. After and before performances they walk around on stilts and chat to families and individuals enjoying the festival. They radiate a lot of positivity and love for what they do.
They will be performing every weekend at Carolina Renaissance Festival.
There are so many vendors and artisans at Renaissance Festival. The goods at the event range so much; from delicate glass blowing to stunning jewelry to handcrafted swords.
In big events or conventions like this sometimes all the goods can blend together– this is not the case at Ren Fest.
Each shop has such character and charm. There is truly something for everyone here. It is also a great place to buy unique gifts for family and friends before the holiday season arrives.
I have bought some of my favorite pieces of jewelry here and always look forward to what new things they will have.
Tips and Tricks
Renaissance Festival is a great place to escape reality for a little quiet. If you are planning on attending this year or next, here are a few tips and tricks to improve your time there:
The hours of the festival are 9:30am to 5:30pm. Be sure to leave before or around 5:00pm to beat the traffic out of the festival. There can also be a long line to get into the festival in the morning, I found arriving around 11am typically avoids the traffic.
Time goes by very quickly, be sure you plan the shows you want to see as soon as you get there. I found that I can fit two to three shows maximum in a day. I recommend minimizing the shows you see the first time you go to Renaissance Festival so you have a chance to see all the shops and sights throughout the entire festival.
Due to the time of year, it can often be quite chilly. When planning a costume or picking out your outfit be sure to check the weather beforehand. North Carolina weather can be dramatic, so have some flexible layers to your outfit.
Lastly, bring cash. Many food vendors do not accept card and the lines to the atm can get long. I recommend bringing some cash with you if you plan on partaking in the food or drinks at the festival. Also, the caramel apples are very good.
The Carolina Renissance Festival has a lot to offer. I was really amazed by the wide variety of people and personalities at the event. There is a charm to the event that is difficult to find elsewhere.
This event brings me a lot of happiness, and I hope it has the same effect on you.
The festival will be open every weekend until Nov. 20.
I hope you all have a wonderful time if you attend. Have a excellent fall and renaissance season.