The sights of winged fairies, swordplay, singing wenches, jousting knights on horseback and a lot of laughter have kept thousands of festival goers coming back to the Carolina Renaissance Festival for nearly two decades. RenFest is celebrating its 19th season this year.
Its known as Fairhaven, a fantastical 16th century European marketplace and village, recreated in a 22-acre medieval theme park just north of Charlotte and filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs.
Its a whole day of escapism and forgetting about your worries and daily stresses, says festival spokesman Matt Siegel. We want people to leave with smiles on their faces.
RenFest is where Monty Python meets Lord of the Rings. Visitors find music, comedy and theatrical performances on 11 stages, hundreds of characters in costume, an unusual collection of people-powered rides, and of course giant turkey legs.
Heres a taste of what visitors can expect this fall.
The Cu Dubh Tribe: Members of this Celtic bagpipe and percussion group have dedicated their lives to the study and performance of ancient music. The sounds of their thundering war drums and skirling dual bagpipes have been described as a boot to the head.
Scout Fun Patch Program: RenFest is introducing a patch program for Cub Scouts called Passport to History. It is a series of fun, educational activities that Scouts can participate in to earn a limited-edition Carolina Renaissance Festival patch for their uniforms.
Lord Marshall Laww: This fiery character was introduced in 2011, but if you havent been to RenFest in a couple of years, then hell still be new to you. Lord Marshall Laww puts peasants on trial, and no crime goes unpunished. He also holds tastefully bawdy mock Wench and Stud Auctions.
Jamila Lotus: Also introduced in 2011, this aerial silk acrobatic artist performs music and dance hourly, from noon to 4 p.m.
What to do?
Jousting Knights and Steeds: Horseback jousting is perhaps RenFests most popular attraction. Knights will again strap on the heavy suits of armor, settle astride snorting chargers, take up their lances and tilt with each other. Dont miss the 4:15 p.m. show. Its the biggest and the best.
Ancient Art of Falconry: In the Birds-of-Prey Demonstration, a variety of birds (hawks, owls, falcons, vultures and parrots) display the unique skills that enraptured nobles long ago and made falconry the sport of kings.
The Artisan Marketplace: The marketplace consists of more than 100 shops and artists selling their wares, conducting demonstrations and creating customized masterpieces made of glass, wood, metal and leather. Youll find jewelry, accessories, weaponry, silks and one-of-a-kind handmade pieces created by potters, blacksmiths and glass blowers. You can also have your palm read, your hair braided, your familys genealogy traced, your handwriting analyzed, and more.