Huzzah and well met friends.
Fun fact: I am an avid ren faire attendee. I went to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire outside of Cleveland, OH while I was growing up (for just under 10 years) and, since I moved to NC I’ve been going to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Now, I hate to say it, but the Carolina Ren Fest is better than the Great Lakes Faire. The Carolina Ren Fest is in October and November, the perfect time of year for this kind of general revelry and merriment. Also, it is huge. They’re always adding artisans and vendors, and the size alone makes it, simply, the best.
There are lots of “classic” faire things that you have to do: check out the joust, eat a turkey leg, etc. BUT, because the fest is just about my fave place in the world, I wanted to share some other inside info I’ve gathered over the years.
We must start where I always start, with food. There’s lots of great food at the fest and the turkey legs are no exception, but there are also some tasty hidden gems. My number one fest food rec is the fried Mac n Cheese. It’s heaven on a stick.
This year, I tried a new food item: beef jerky wrapped around a pickle. This was delish. The salt plus acidity was heaven. That said, it was a lot of pickle. Don’t feel guilty for ditching the pickle halfway down.
Other food faves are the bread bowls of soup and steak on a stick.
You can’t forget about the local NC beer. I love that they have lots of Foothills Brewing options. This is usually the first time of year that I have pumpkin ale! You can also get margaritas, ciders, wine, and mimosas!
So much of the faire is wandering around, checking out all the artisans, and building your costume. Not everyone dresses up, but I would say most people walk away with a little something (flower crown, goblet, etc.). I love that you can buy pretty much anything at the faire: a leather bodice (snagged one this year), a sword, a crown, a wand. Truly anything your heart desires.
One of my favorite vendors to visit is the Warefire Forge. This year, they changed it up a bit and had a “forge your own” option. You could pay a flat, and reasonable, fee, and help forge your own item. You could choose from knives, bracelets, wands, and necklaces. So cool.
Other favorite vendors are any of the leather workers, the shop that will put your pet on a tapestry or pillow wearing customizable royal garb, and the map shop. We have maps of Middle Earth and Skyrim hanging in our house. You can get a map for pretty much any real or fictional place.
As for entertainment, everyone knows that the joust is a must see. It totally is, but, did you know there are 14 stages at the fest, and performers are pretty much constantly putting on a show?
My personal favorite is the Ancient Art of Falconry Show. It’s very interesting, informative, and also a little unexpected, since the birds will sometimes go rogue.
I also enjoy The Washing Well Wenches and their raunchy comedy. To really get in the spirit, definitely stop by one of the many magicians performing tricks while you walk around. Our favorite this year was Gi Shiata. We were blow away. Also, his mask was terrifying.
Guys, just go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival already. This is only a sampling of some of the things you can do. Don’t forget to check out some of the musical acts performing around the grounds. Also, do not sleep on the absolute goodest boys part of the festival: The Royal Hounds of Fairhaven.
We also love a themed weekend at the festival. I would definitely recommend heading to the Halloween Daze & Spooky Knights weekend October 26-27, the Celtic Music Weekend November 2-November 3, or Pirates’ Weekend November 9-November 10.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is running Saturdays and Sundays until November 24, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Parking is free. Tickets are $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for kids ages 5-12 (the best money you will ever spend). Children under 5 are free.