Best Renaissance Festivals Across the USA

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Costumes and Cloaks, Renaissance Cloaks | 0 comments

Perhaps you dream of visiting a Renaissance Festival in another state. If you are taking a road trip, traveling for a wedding, or doing a college tour, you could add in a day at a Renaissance Faire as well.

The following list focuses on some of the biggest Renaissance Festivals around the United States. You’re likely to see new and different entertainers, costumes, theme days, and a wide array of vendors if you venture to one of these larger Renaissance Faires. A few of these venues have permanent and highly beautiful locations.

All have websites and lots of reviews, so learn more online about dates, hours, ticketing, parking, rules, entertainment and what to expect.

Renaissance Festival

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Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California

Location: Irwindale, California (near Pasadena)
Dates: Weekends from the beginning of April to the end of May
Website: The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire

The Renaissance festival that started them ALL way back in the 1960’s. This Southern California festival runs for several weekends and includes themed weekends like Pirate Weekend, RennCon (a celebration of all cosplays including sci-fi, fantasy, anime, comics, television, and fairy tales), Gnome Weekend, and Pub Crawl weekend. Some theme weekends like Pirate Weekend include a pirate costume contest. If you are wondering about the pub crawl, it’s is a loud and lusty event that takes you to four different fine taverns and public houses. Be filled with merriment at the most bodacious songs, jests, and stories, the humble shire has to offer.

Northern California Renaissance Faire

Location: Hollister, CA (near Gilroy)
Dates: Weekends from the second week of September to mid-October
Website: Northern California Renaissance Faire

Travelers will find endless entertainment at the Norcal Renn Faire each Fall. The Queen’s Band and other musicians fill the streets of Willingtown with Elizabethan pageantry and revelry. You can count on a championship joust, delicious fare and ales, and an artisan marketplace. The faire also has themed weekends, including Pirate Invasion, Heroes and Villains, Octoberfest, Carnevale and Masquerade, and Halloween!


Ren Fair

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Carolina Renaissance Festival

Location: Huntersville, North Carolina
Dates: First weekend of October to end of November
Website: Carolina Renaissance Festival

Watch knights battle for the Queen’s favor in a Renaissance-era jousting tournament at the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival. More than 500 costumed “villagers” roam the grounds providing entertainment for all. Be awed by the ancient art of falconry. Witness the skills of a variety of raptors that captured the hearts and minds of nobles long ago and became the sport of kings.

In the grotto you and your kids can watch the mermaids or sea fairies do underwater flips, blow bubble hearts, and splash their tails. As for rides, you’ll get to spin in Da Vinci’s flying machine and ride the (alleged) largest rocking horse in the world. It sounds like unending fun!

Texas Renaissance Festival

Location: Todd Mission, TX (NW of Houston)
Dates: 8 weekends, October through November
Texas Renaissance Festival

At the Texas Renaissance Festival you can take part of 8 themed weekends, including The Queen’s Birthday, 1001 Fairy Dreams, Oktoberfest, All Hallows Eve, Pirate Adventure, Barbarian Invasion, Highland Fling and Celtic Christmas. We recommend the Fire Whip Show lead by the award-winning Adam. Don’t miss the high-energy whip routines along with ballon popping and knife throwing.

There are 77 acres of historic and magical entertainment from knights jousting on their mighty steeds to the ethereal fairy court. You can even get married or renew your vows at this magnificent location.

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Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Location: Waxahachie, TX (South of Dallas)
Dates: April through the end of May
Scarborough Renaissance Festival 

Watch performers Don Juan and Miguel sword fight. Be enchanted by dragons, high flying acrobats, sword swallowers, and other talented performers. During the Spring Renaissance Festival season, couples can be married in the picturesque Scarborough wedding garden.

Maryland Renaissance Festival

Location: Crownsville, Maryland
Dates: Specific weekends from August to October
Website:  Maryland Renaissance Festival

Stroll through Valley Meade, Kenwood Lane, White Stag Grove, King’s Field, Kenwood Lane, Meadow Lane and Mary’s Dale Way. Sample tasty food like smoked turkey legs, friar’s fritters, meat pie on a stick, peasant bread, king’s dogs and many more delicious delights.

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New York Renaissance Faire

Location: Tuxedo Park, New York (off NY State Hwy. 17A)
Dates: Weekends from late August to early October
Website: New York Renaissance Faire

The New York Renaissance Faire gets high marks for ambiance. It’s located on a beautiful former botanical garden and forest. Nestled in the groves of Sterling Forest, the festival is a full-on experience of Elizabethan England, complete with 16th-century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance. Additionally, there are themed weekends like pirate and time traveler.

There are 100 shops in the marketplace, from candle making to wooden swords, medieval clothing, and fresh olive oil. There are many games to play such as ax throwing, archery, and throwing tomatoes at a man whose job it is to insult you! (That’s what one reviewer said.) And there are children’s games as well. The fair celebrated its 45th year in 2022, and the event just gets better and better each year.


Bristol Renaissance Faire

Location: Kenosha, WI
(Border of Wisconsin and Illinois, in proximity to Chicago)
Dates: Early July through Labor Day
Website: Bristol Renaissance Faire

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is held in a 30-acre Renaissance village. It recreates a visit by Queen Elizabeth 1 to the English port city of Bristol in 1574. The grounds are beautiful – lots of trees and flowers everywhere – and plenty of fun shows to watch, with the jousting being many people’s favorite. More than 200 artisans are set up in shops to sell their wares, including jewelry, pottery, tapestries, pewter and crafted leather.

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Ohio Renaissance Festival

Location: Harveysburg, Ohio
Dates: Early September to the end of October
Website: Ohio Renaissance Festival

Ohio Renaissance Festival is situated in 16th-century English village of 30 acres where guests can rub elbows with Queen Elizabeth and over 150 costumed characters. There are multiple themed weekends. In addition to fantasy, pirate and time travel weekends, there are also unique themes like Viking, Highland, Romance, Feast of Fools, and Trick or Treat. Don’t miss the Fire eating show said some reviewers.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Location: Gold Canyon, Arizona (outside Phoenix)
Dates: February and March
Website: Arizona Renaissance Festival

Ren Faire fans take note, this one of the earliest faires in the year if you can’t wait to don your garb! Held at a recreated 50-acre Tudor village, this daylong family adventure features a 16-stage theater, 30-acre circus, and an arts and crafts fair with 200 vendors and a jousting tournament held three times daily. One fan said the bird show, fire whip, fire eating and jousting were their favs.

There are demonstrations of time honored crafts such as weaving, jewelry making, glass blowing, blacksmithing and pottery throwing. 

They hold multiple themed weekends such as Renaissance & Romance, Royalty, Pirates and Brews, Time Travelers, Wizards and Wonder, and Comedy. Also, you can host a party or a wedding at the Arizona Renaissance Faire.Ren Faire fans can also buy a ticket for the The Pleasure Feast. It’s an all you can eat, five course medieval feast with live music and comedy entertainment. Reservations recommended.

Renaissance Faire Belts

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— stopped here —

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Location: Shakopee, Minnesota
Dates: Weekends from the end of August to October
Website: Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Witness intense live armored jousting! Minnesota take their jousting seriously! Minnesota or Texas are now hosts to the largest Renaissance Festival in the US. They both claim to be the largest it appears to this author.

Recreating a 16th-century English village, the event includes comedy shows, plays, interactive contests and a food festival. There are also 250 artisans, wedding packages, and a multiple course feast with a comedy show. The themed weekends include Once Upon a Time, Highland Fling, Wine, Chocolate and Romance, Woofstock, Middle Eastern Bazaar, Shamrocks and Shenanigans, and Oktoberfest. Oh, and you can bring your dog…see details on the website.

King Richard’s Faire

Cleavage Contest, Vow Renewal, Biker’s Weekend, Children’s Fairies Contest, Prince and Princess Costume Contest and the Beard and Moustache Contest are just a couple-themed weekends held at the King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA. From August to October, hundreds of people converge on the 80-acre site to see knights battle on horseback, beggars compete in mud, and performers put on an acrobatic show. We recommend a visit to the royal zoo to see birds of prey, snow leopards, Bengal tigers and jaguars.

Georgia Renaissance Festival

Watch the Celtic rock group The Rogues perform at the Georgia Renaissance Festival in Fairburn, GA. In addition to live music, this festival also features comedic storytelling, 4 pubs, a royal petting zoo, King Henry VIII and his Court, and the Jousting Tournament of Kings. Looking for more to do? Check out the games and rides like the Corkscrew Slide, Junior Joust, Sea Dragon, Drench-a-Wench, Catapulting Frogs, Ax Throw and King of the Log.

Colorado Renaissance Festival

Location: Larkspur, Colorado
Dates: Weekends from mid-June to early August

Made to resemble a 16th-century English village, the Colorado Renaissance Festival offers stages, costumed cast members, medieval music and photo contests.

One thing we love about this particular fair is that you can rent costumes, so you can participate in all the fun without having to commit to keeping a random period dress in your closet.

Medieval Fair of Norman

Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Dates: First weekend of April

The Medieval Fair of Norman is not as famous as other festivals, but it stands out for having no entrance fee.

You heard right. While you’ll pay for food, entertainment and shopping, going to the event is completely free. That’s pretty impressive considering this is Oklahoma’s largest weekend event.

Play a human chess game, catch short plays and be mesmerized by talented jugglers.

Michigan Renaissance Festival

Location: Holly, Michigan
Dates: Late November to end of December

Seventeen stages with magicians, jugglers, musicians and, of course, jousters keep people coming back to this fun event. More than 100 independent vendors sell their crafts at the marketplace, which is a highlight of the Michigan Renaissance Festival.

Other highlights include the pub crawl, a whiskey-tasting experience and a hawk walk.

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
Dates: Weekends from the end of August to the end of October

Expect beer tastings, fire dancers and stage shows at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Normally held in the extensive Mount Hope Estate, you’ll get to explore 35 acres of the Shire, as the village is called.

Interact with the costumed characters, get some unique handcrafts and dig your teeth into the seriously delicious food.


Typical Rules and Policies

No outside food or drink can be brought into the Festival with the exception of food and water for infants. No alcohol may be brought into or out of the Festival. See full alcohol policy in the “Do you serve alcohol?” FAQ below.

There are a number of water fountains located throughout the Festival site including at all of the flush restrooms (called “Privies” at the Festival). The full list of water fountain locations can be found on the Festival map and in the Festival’s souvenir program.

There are also picnic tables located outside of the Festival gates if you wish to lunch on your own food.

No pets are allowed in the Festival with the exception of service animals.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival does NOT allow the open carry of licensed handguns or the unlicensed carry of any firearms in the Park:

Service animals welcome – No pets allowed.
Costume weapons must be sheathed and peace-tied.

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