Lake Norman & Mooresville

Festival of happy faces, costumes and frivolity

Ye olde Carolina Renaissance Festival includes jousting, theatrics and more

To say your senses will be bombarded is an understatement.

The 22-acre, 16th-century European Village of Fairhaven serves as the backdrop for the Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace.

More than 160,000 people are expected to flock to the storybook setting that offers continuous entertainment on 10 stages, an open-air market, jousting, acrobatic theatrics, live music, human-powered rides, games and dozens of artisan shops, kitchens and pubs. Festival-goers also can interact with (or just watch) a cast of 500 costumed characters who roam the village.

Introduced to the area in 1994, the village started with three stages and 6 acres of attractions. Today it is among the largest Renaissance festivals in the country.