With a Side Order of Medieval, Celtic, Pirate and Dickens’ Faires
Updated August 22, 2023
There were about 20 California Renaissance Faires before the pandemic. As we all know the pandemic was challenging for events, even outdoor events.
For the 2023 season there are 15 Caifornia Renaissance Faires that have officially announced their dates. While there are 5 Renaissance Faires that have been canceled the last two years, its good to see that so many will return for 2023.
I’ve included the names, dates, locations and websites for California Renaissance Faires 2023 below.
Also, if you are inclined to travel around the country, there are also Renaissance Faires throughout the US and in Europe each year. It’s a national and European phenomenon, that began in Los Angeles in the 1960’s. More about that later.
September – October 2023
FOLSOM: Folsom Renaissance Faire – September 23 – 24, 2023
Folsom City Lions Park, Folsom, CA
IDYLLWILD: Idyllwild Ren Faire – September 22, 23, & 24, 2023
53155 Idyllbrook Dr, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA
Visit the Spanish Renaissance in the Shire of Idyllwild
HOLLISTER: Northern California Renaissance Faire – September 23th – October 23 (2023 Dates To Be Announced)
Casa De Fruta, Hollister, CA
GRASS VALLEY: KVMR Celtic Festival – September 30 & October 1, 2023
Nevada County Fair Grounds, Nevada City, CA
BLUE LAKE: 11th Annual Medieval Festival of Courage – October 7 – 8, 2023
Perigot Park and Blue Lake Arena in Blue Lake, CA (Humboldt County)
November – December 2023
SAN FRANCISCO: Great Dickens Christmas Fair November 19 – December 17 2023
Cow Palace, Daly City, CA
Enter the winding lanes of Victorian London and immerse yourself in a world of music halls, theaters, pubs, dance parties, and little shops filled with hand-made holiday gifts. Discover holiday revelry in this lamp-lit city with hundreds of lively characters from the imagination of Charles Dickens.
March – April 2023
CALVERAS: 37th Annual Celtic Faire March 10, 11, 12, 2023
Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Angels Camp, CA
Featuring a medieval tournament with horseback riding stunts, jousting and hand-to-hand combat with swords and other medieval weapons.
HESPERIA: High Desert Pirate Faire with a Renaissance Flair March 18, 19, 2023
Hesperia Lake Park, 7500 Arrowhead Lake Rd, Hesperia, CA 92345
Celebrates the 16th century “Elizabethan Era” (1558–1603), however as this is a fantasy faire, you are welcome to come as a dragon, fairy or mermaid.
IRWINDALE: The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire
Saturdays and Sundays April 8 – May 21, 2023
Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area minutes outside of Pasadena, CA
The Renaissance Faire that started them all — this faire attracts a quarter-million people annually, reenacting a 1580s English market faire.
(More Renaissance Faires below)
VISALIA: Tulare County Renaissance Festival April 15-16, 2023
Plaza Park, Visalia, CA
Featuring The Knights of Mayhem. Come cheer on your favorite knight as he competes for the queen’s honor in an exciting full-armored joust.
ROSEVILLE: Kingdom of Herron’s Edge of Spring Fantasy Fair (postponed since 2020)
Placer Valley Event Center @The Grounds
Celtic and Fantasy-Themed Bands, Fantasy, Steampunk, Apocalyptic, and Medieval Realms, Bicycle Jousting, Knights in Armored Combat
May – June 2023
ESCONDIDO: Renaissance Faire April 29-30 and May 6-7, 2023
Felicita County Park
Travel back in time and witness the Battle of Hastings, fought on the 14th of October, 1066. This re-enactment captures the battle between William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy) and Harold Godwinson (King of England).
FRESNO: Pirate Festival May 14-15, 2023
Kearney Park, Fresno, CA
Interactive, educational, and entertainment about varied pirate and privateer eras.
SHASTA: Renaissance and Fantasy Faire — Memorial Day Weekend May 27 – 28, 2023
Shasta District Fairgrounds, Anderson, CA
Renaissance historical re-enactment. Climb aboard the Viking ship, play games with the pirates, meet fairies, ogres, mermaids and more!
CORONA: Koroneburg Old World Festival – Weekends May 27 through June 25, 2023
Crossroads Riverview Park, Corona, CA
Features a beautiful facsimile of a 16th Century German village.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE: Valhalla Renaissance Faire (postponed since 2020)
VALLEJO: Northern California Pirate Festival
(postponed since 2020)
(More Renaissance Faires below)
July – August 2022
SAN LUIS OBISPO: 37th Central Coast Renaissance Festival – July 15-16, 2023
Laguna Lake Park, San Luis Obispo, CA
It is the year 1585 and Queen Elizabeth I is England’s magnificent monarch. Here you’ll find legendary characters like William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, and a host of famous Dukes, Earls, Lords, and Ladies. See knights in full battle armor fighting with steel swords, axes, and pole arms.
BIG BEAR CITY: Big Bear City Renaissance Faire (Postponed since 2020)
Big Bear Lake, CA
The shire of The Enchanted Shire recreating Renaissance (circa 1558-1603).
SAN JOSE: 9th San Jose Renaissance and Fantasy Faire (Postponed since 2020)
Discovery Meadow Park, San Jose, CA
Rub elbows with nobility, beautiful ladies, and Knights, meet the Queen of England, Fairy Queens, Ogres, and Mermaids. Take in Imperial Knights and their whimsical theatrics, equestrian skills, and jousting proficiency.
Renaissance Faires Go Back to the 60’s
The idea for Renaissance Faires originated with an LA schoolteacher. She had the idea to throw a Renaissance-theme party for her high school students. The following year she and her husband, a movie art director, threw a Renaissance fair as a fundraiser for a local public radio station. That fundraising event grew into the Original Renaissance Faire that today plays out over 7 weekends every year in Southern CA and sparked interest in Renaissance Faires across the US.
As to entertainment, you’ll be treated to jousting, carousing, and on-stage and spontaneous street performances of all kinds. Don’t expect to go hungry. Food vendors sell meat pies, tea and tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, turkey legs, and beef ribs to approximately match the time period. (As well as all kinds of contemporary American fair foods.) Many attendees are costumed, in addition to the paid actors. Additionally, all faires have vendors of Medieval or Renaissance cloaks, trinkets and gifts.
New Twists on the Ren Faire Theme
The Original Southern California RenFaire ups the ante with RenQuests. Guests travel throughout the faire grounds to decipher clues, solve problems, perform daring tasks, and avoid dastardly villains. It’s a unique immersive, interactive adventure — a festival-wide escape room, if you will.
Renaissance Faires Themes
The majority of Renaissance Faire’s focus on the Reign of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. That’s also known as the 1500’s AD and same as the first RenFaire in Los Angeles. Some Faires go back in time to Viking Times, Medieval Times, Robin Hood (1100’s AD), Chaucer (1300’s) or Arthurian Times. A few faires vary the location and take you to olden Scotland, France, Italy or Germany. And there’s at least one faire that goes forward in time, forward from the Renaissance that is! That’s the delightful San Francisco’s Great Dickens Christmas Faire!