North Carolina Renaissance Festival is a wonderful annual event held near Charlotte, NC, each year. This year’s festival is from October through November, 2022.
We’re incredibly interested in storytelling, and North Carolina Renaissance Festival tells the story of another world in a special way.
Dan’s being Creative Director, and Mikkel having previously worked for Disney and Universal’s creative departments inthemed entertainment, means attending Carolina Ren Fen is a no-brainer!
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post, which means we may earn a small commission if you click the link and proceed with a purchase, at no cost to you. We were hosted by North Carolina Renaissance Festival; we truly only recommend events, hotels, products, and services we personally use.As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
North Carolina Renaissance Festival Annual Dates
The Carolina Renaissance Festival event is always in the fall, somewhere between September and November, depending on the year.
The event is from October 1st weekend through November 20, 2022, Saturdays and Sundays, rain or shine, from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Parking is free, thanks to Harris Teeter, NC’s popular grocery store chain.
We drive to NC Ren Fest from Raleighto Huntersville in theCabarrus County area, just about thirty minutes from Charlotte, North Carolina, to have a fun-filled weekend that starts with a bang: at the Renaissance Festival. It’s in the Lake Norman region there.
What to Wear to “NC Ren Fest”
You don’t have to wear ribbons or elf ears to have a fabulous time at the North Carolina Renaissance Festival. Of course, you can if you want, but people from all walks enjoy attending this entertaining NC festival every year.
We wore everyday clothes to NC Ren Fen and ended up a little jealous of those who got more into the attire! But whether you go full throttle on “Renaissance Regalia,” or walk around in everyday clothes, or somewhere in between, you can’t help but get into the spirit of the Festival! We certainly did!
There are employees who walk around selling ribbons crowns and fake flower crowns and you can buy that and more there to dress up.
A Peek Behind the Curtain at North Carolina Renaissance Festival
We met with a few key people at the fair who help ensure the event runs smoothly. Their Marketing Administrator, Kaila, and Director of Marketing and Entertainment, Matt, provided us with rare insight during our Q&A session.
We peek behind the curtain was interesting and eye-opening. Let’s dive right into our interview…
What year did the Renaissance Festival in North Carolina?
It started in 1994 after the Festival Producer successfully started a Renaissance Festival in Arizona. Two performers in his Arizona Festival were residents of Charlotte, North Carolina. They kept pressing him to consider the area. His consideration was affected by the following favorable criteria:
- Fall weather
- Proximity to metro-area
- Proximity to highways
- Lack of outdoor Festival events (at the time)
The area ended up ticking all the boxes for what he was looking for! The festival is about 30 minutes north of Charlotte.
What other festivals it is related to?
The North Carolina Renaissance Festival’s sister event is in Arizona. Our producer first started out as a performer at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. He worked his way up into management, then decided to start his own festivals.
Is there any one, specific area of Europe the Renaissance Festival is most modeled after?
It draws inspiration from the following influences, though it isn’t modeled after one place in particular:
- European Renaissance, overa 300-year period
- A touch of the Italian Renaissance, more specifically
- A touch of Sherwood Forest
Food and Beverages at North Carolina Renaissance Festival
We arrived hungry and excited to dive right into lunch! Meeting with Chef Eli, head chef for the entire festival, was a great first impression. He was enthusiastic about having us there and happy to answer our questions.
Where do ingredients used in Festival foods come from? Are they locally sourced or from a place you can get large quantities from for thepopulation demand?
Most are provided to us via local suppliers and distributors. For example, all our bread products are baked locally and provided to us fresh on Friday before the weekend.
Do different weekends (like Pirate weekend) have any menu changes?
Unfortunately, no – it’s simply too difficult to change the menu for special events, logistically speaking. Therefore there are no menu changes for themed weekends. The menu remains the same all season long once it is determined before opening. We do work to add new items annually, like the gluten-free pizza you’re trying!
We saw a variety of soft drinks and two specific beers walking around the festival. How do you decide on beverages?
We have long-standing relationships with area distributors and beverage partners.
We had to try a beer, or two, of course. They were delicious and hit the spot! We were delighted to participate in the comedic pub crawl in 2019. It was humorous and tasty.
Actors and Artisans
There are so many shows going on during the festival! We saw a comedy duo, jousting, falconry, and musical acts. We had to inquire further about where they find their talented entertainers.
How many actors and artisans work with the fair? Has this number changed at all over time?
We have over 300 participants working as entertainers, with a total of 1,200 participants working at the Festival on any given day. This number has increased over time as the Festival’s popularity has grown.
What’s the age of the youngest actor or artisan and the oldest?
As of 2018, Grant Bergerman was our youngest actor at age 13. He participated in a teen performance troupe entitled: The Underdonne Players. Our oldest participant was Judith Hutchinson, at 79 years old in 2018. She playedMother Nature and handed out event programs and maps at the entrance.
What are the backgrounds of some of the most interesting actors, performers, and artisans?
It varies significantly. There are folks with nine-to-five jobs, such as Craig Tucker, an IT Engineer at Wells Fargo. He hand-crafted a mobile printing press and performs as our Village Printer.
Then you have folks like our Jouster, Jackson Cowan. He was born and raised on the road with his parents – also equestrian performers – and is now carrying on in their footsteps (as are several of our joust troupe members).
Do the actors, performers, and artisans travel with the show, or they are dedicated to the NC Renaissance Festival?
Half of our 300 performers are professionals who tour the country and globe up to eleven months a year. The other half is “local” in the sense they are near or in the region (southeastern United States). Some locals are also professionals, but most are semi-professionals and amateurs.
Are the actors trained in special areas, like jousting? Do they audition for the Festival with prior skills and knowledge or are they trained after they audition?
The professionals are trained in a variety of skill sets. I scout them for their specific skills. I also receive proposals everyday from acts that want to be part of the Festival.
Most locals have some level of performance art training but not at the professional level for an outdoor-themed event. So we hold auditions, workshops, and rehearsals for those folks. Auditions happen in June. Workshops and rehearsals run from August up to the day we open.
Do the team members stay in “character”?
Vendors, merchants, ride operators, concessionaires, etc. are not held to the same costume and character standards as the performing cast.
Animals and Falconry at NC Renaissance Festival
Fair animal treatment is important to us, so we had to ask about the following:
- Where are the animals kept?
- Who cares for them?
- Were they rescued?
Horses are kept in stables located behind the Joust Arena on Saturdays and Sundays. They graze at our hobby farm located on the property Monday through Friday. They are owned and cared for by the Jousters.
Petting Farm animals, pony rides, and camel rides are provided by Rockin’ A Ranch of Midland, North Carolina. The operator brings the animals on Friday afternoon and returns them to the ranch on Monday morning.
The birds are the property of Sky Kings, the non-profit organization that operates the birds of prey presentation. The royal falconer, Kevin Gaines, owns the organization. Most of his birds are rescued and stay onsite in muses located behind the stage.
Set Designs (Costumes, Paint, Etc.)
What are the disciplines/training of the designers who create the sets? Is it one team working on many Renaissance Festivals around the US or one dedicated to North Carolina?
Great question. We contract independent designers based on the idea or vision we have in mind. And yes, the folks we hire tend to work on other Renaissance Festivals around the country and theme parks in general. Typically they all have theatrical set design and/or art backgrounds.
How long in advance do they start designing?
It depends on the project. Typically, for new construction, the design process begins a year or more out. Once a design is agreed upon, it is then presented to a local architect that can transfer the preliminary design to a buildable plan which meets local codes and requirements.
Are the facades, sets, and signs reused every year or are new ones created?
We use the same sets every year until wear and tear warrants a replacement.
Costumes: are they custom designed to a specific period within the Renaissance?
Some Renaissance Festivals require the costumes to be specific to a time period down to every stitch and button.
Our events are not historical reenactments. We honor the history and strive for quality costuming of the 300-year renaissance period, but we also blend in theatre, circus, carnival, and a bit of Monty Python. Our characters can be historically accurate or theatrically fictional caricatures.
What else is themed/designed? (Maps, tickets, etc?) Is there a graphic designer or company that does it?
Yes, we have employed the same graphic designer for nearly 30 years. We also have employed for nearly 30 years the same artists to hand paint all our signs and most of the stage sets and buildings too.
Wow, we learned so much about how the Festival works and operates. We thought there was so much skill, experience, and hard work that went on behind the scenes, year-round, but we know it for certain now!
The Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, North Carolina, is something we’ll look forward to going to each year. Even though we are frequent travelers, there are eight weekends with plenty of Saturdays and Sundays to attend. So we know we’ll be able to make one day work every time!
- Parking: There is plenty of parking on-site, and it’s free, courtesy of our regional grocery store, Harris Teeter. (We recommend getting there first thing in the morning because the traffic to get into the lot builds up quickly. We spent over an hour trying to go two miles to get into the lot.)
- Ticket Prices for 2022: Adult tickets are $32, children ages 5-12 $20, under 4 free. (Prices include taxes and fees.) You can buy tickets in advance online and send them to your phone, print at home or buy them in person at Harris Teeter. You can also become a season pass holder, which may make a lot of sense if you plan on going to the Festival more than
- PUB CRAWL: The Renaissance Festival Pub Crawl is back for 2022! It’s an option for guests aged 21 and over. From the site, this tour is “…a comedic guided tour to 4 Festival pubs. Play games, toast your favorite Knight and enjoy fyne craft ale at each pub stop! Price includes admission, a souvenir pottery chalice, up close parking, reserved seats at the joust, four sample pours of craft ale and a toast by the Queen!” $60 per person, including entrance to the fair. Adults 21 and only.
- What’s the Carolina RenaissanceFestival Address for GPS? 16445 Poplar Tent Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
- What happens if it rains? The Festival is every Saturday and Sunday during the eight weeks of operation, rain or shine.
Heading to the Renaissance Festival? Also check out:
- 5 Instagram-Worthy Experiences in Cabarrus, North Carolina
- Best Food Halls and Markets in North America (including Charlotte, North Carolina)
- Take Advantage of the NC Scenery: Best Lake Norman Waterfront Restaurants
Have you been to a Renaissance Festival? Let us know which one in the comments below!
Mikkel is co-owner and editor of Sometimes Home and Sometimes Sailing along with her husband, Dan. She is a professional photographer in addition to writing about their travel adventures to encourage and motivate others to book their next trip and explore the world.
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Can we bring food or drink into the Festival? NO - Health and safety regulations prohibit bringing outside food or drink inside the Festival gates.How long does the Renaissance Festival last in NC? ›
The Carolina Renaissance Festival operates for 16 event dates on eight consecutive weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) in October and November annually.Can you bring water into the Arizona Renaissance Festival? ›
Is outside food allowed at the Arizona Renaissance Festival? You may bring one 16-24 ounce factory-sealed water bottle. No other food or drink is permitted.What do you wear to a Renaissance festival? ›
Bodices, corsets, frilly and puffy long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, baggy cotton pants, floor-length dresses, and boots are clothing pieces that you'll be seeing the most at renaissance faires, and there are lots of different fun variations of each!Where is the biggest Renaissance festival in the US? ›
The largest Renaissance festival in the nation is actually located 55 miles north of Houston. Go back to the 16th century at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Spanning eight weekends, this Renaissance fair entertains over 500,000 guests each year.Can you dress as a pirate at a Renaissance Fair? ›
Does this mean that Renaissance fairs are really just the same as pirate festivals? No, but you can totally still wear pirate costumes to a Renaissance fair and be completely on the right page as far historical accuracy goes.
$185.00 for Adults ages 13 and up.
(Sales tax included.) $110.00 for Children ages 5 - 12 (Sales tax included. 4 and under always free.) Parking is FREE courtesy of Harris Teeter.
Texas Renaissance Festival: The Texas Renaissance Festival is the world's largest Renaissance Fair. Nearly 400,000 people attend yearly in Plantersville, Texas, on weekends through October and November and on Thanksgiving Day.How long has the Renaissance Festival been around? ›
Since its inception in 1963 in Agoura, near Malibu, more than 5 million people from around the world have visited Southern California's Renaissance Pleasure Faire, averaging approximately 20,000 each weekend.
|Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire|
The festival's open-air fairgrounds offer ample opportunity for social distancing within the 50-acre Village of Fairhaven. Masks will be required of all festival visitors unless eating or drinking in one of the fairgrounds many designated socially distanced picnic areas.Can you bring food into the PA Ren Faire? ›
May we bring outside food and drink? We offer a variety of fresh, delicious food for our guests to enjoy at concession stands throughout our Faire; however, we understand that guests may need to bring food and drink into our Faire.Are dogs allowed at the Ohio Renaissance Festival? ›
Violators can be fined $50.00, removed from the festival grounds, and / or face criminal charges. Pets: Please follow the rules to keep the privilege of allowing pets on-site to continue. We prefer you to leave your pets at home. Some dogs and their owners have forced us to make a strict dog policy.How do you prepare for a Renaissance Faire? ›
- Hydrate! Bottle-holder is a must! ...
- Wear Worthy Shoes. At a large fair, it's not uncommon to walk up to four miles or more. ...
- Read Maps and Schedules. ...
- Know your “Privies” ...
- Cash can still be king. ...
- Kilting Up and Dressing Up. ...
- Shows and Concerts. ...
Although anything truly goes at Ren Faires, if it's your thing to dress up, do it big! There are a few different directions that Renaissance Festival costumes can go in, from gypsies to princesses to pirates to knights. Do a little research, pull up some photos, make it a day you will never forget!What is the oldest Renaissance festival? ›
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival started in 1971 and it is the oldest and largest Renaissance festival in the country. This fair takes place in Shakopee, MN, and it has a 16th-century fantasy world feel.What culture is the Renaissance festival? ›
A Renaissance festival is a theme park based on the culture of Europe in the 14th-17th centuries, the historical era known as the Renaissance. Participants in these festivals attempt to recreate the feel of this earlier period with archaic costuming, architecture, and speech patterns.Are Renaissance fairs an American thing? ›
Although historical reenactments are by no means exclusive to the United States (for example, the Earl of Eglinton in Scotland sponsored a large tournament in 1839), the Renaissance fair is largely an American variation on the theme.Do most people dress up for a Renaissance fair? ›
Many people dress up in Renaissance-style clothing for these events, and some even participate in historical reenactments.
All but the poorest would have cloth hosen (stockings) and shoes, or if he wore no hose, he would have long breeches similar to pajama pants, cross gartered from ankle to knee. Cross gartered breeches were commonly worn by the lower classes since before the Conquest in 1066.Can I dress up as an elf to the Renaissance Fair? ›
Elf Renaissance Faire Costumes
The wonderful thing about elven renaissance faire costumes is that you can add elf ears to pretty much anything you want and call it good. If you're torn between going as a huntress or being an elf, you can be both!
A common source of Pirates were the many crews of naval vessels that were disbanded at the end of the European wars during the Renaissance and immediately after the Renaissance. Another common source of Pirates were the privateers.Where there pirates during the Renaissance? ›
Yes, there were pirates in many places around the world during the Renaissance. In Europe, most of the pirates were either Muslims from North Africa who attempted to pirate from the Christians of Southern Europe, or the reverse, Christians from Southern Europe who attempted to pirate from the Muslims of North Africa.Are renaissance fairs for fantasy dressing up? ›
Most people who attend the Renaissance Faire choose to dress up in garb to join in on the fun atmosphere. Many dress as royalty, wenches, maids, and knights, and then others like to take it a step further and dress as mythical creatures from medieval folklore.How big is the Carolina Renaissance Festival? ›
It's a 25-acre outdoor, open air village nestled in the forest and meadows, complete with castles, cottages, kitchens and pubs, filled with activities. You'll find music, comedy and theater, food and drink, fine hand-made arts and crafts, artisan demonstrations, games and rides. Click to view the listing of performers.How much does it cost to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival? ›
Texas Renaissance Festival 2022 – Tickets
$40 + fees.
You can choose from single-day passes, three-day passes, and the royalty package. These range in price from $20 (Single-Day Adult Ticket) to $50 (Adult Royalty Package). Tickets can be purchased at the front gate or on partner websites.What is Europe's largest festival? ›
Famous for its record-breaking international attendance of 185,000 people from over 75 different countries, experiencing Tomorrowland should be on every single person's destination music festival bucket list!
Did you know that the longest celebration in the world lasts for about 75 days? Celebrated in the heart of Chhattisgarh, Bastar Dusshera is one of the lesser-known celebrations in the country.
The Woodstock Festival was a three-day pop and rock concert that turned out to be the most popular music event in history. It became a symbol of the hippie movement of the 1960s.What is a peace tied weapon? ›
Q: What does "Peace-tied" mean? A: Peace-tying a weapon keeps if from being used. As an example, a sword must be sheathed and the hilt of the sword must be peace-tied to the sheath so that it cannot be drawn. Arrows in a quiver must be peace-tied together and the bow unstrung.What is the meaning of the Renaissance Festival? ›
Renaissance fairs were celebrated as festivals of spring. A celebration of the end of another harsh winter, and the promise of the rebirth of the land and the new crops to come. The essentials of mediaeval life that were celebrated every year between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.What was sold at medieval fairs? ›
Fairs, on the other hand, which could be much larger than markets, more frequently featured the sale of costlier items such as cloth, livestock, and agricultural implements, as well as wholesale trade in a range of goods.How much does it cost to go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire? ›
Dates and Ticket Prices for the PA Renaissance Faire
Faire hours are 11 am – 8 pm. Admission is $30.95 for adults & $15.95 for children 5 – 11. Rates include parking, games, performances & some rides.
Renaissance Faires. Price range for Adult size rentals (complete costume*) $18 to $65 Children size rentals (complete costume*) $8 to $25.Can you bring dogs to the PA Renaissance Faire? ›
Animals/Pets: Service animals are permitted in the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. All other animals and pets are prohibited. Service animals must remain on a leash or in a harness and under the control of the owner at all times. We ask you do not leave animals on the sidewalks and surrounding areas of the park perimeter.Why did people wear masks in the renaissance? ›
 These masks responded to the belief that plague and other diseases were spread through pestilential air or 'miasma', which if inhaled could corrupt the body.  Fragrant herbs and vinegar could counteract this foul air, and so the mask's function was to filter scents.Does fry sell Renaissance Festival tickets? ›
Purchase discounted tickets in advance at Fry's Food Stores statewide.Can I bring my dog to the Arizona Renaissance Festival? ›
We do not allow pets to be brought into the park by visitors because of the great variety of performing animals in the Festival. Pets are not permitted on the festival grounds; however, service animals are not considered pets by the federal government and are welcome at The Arizona Renaissance Festival.
The Faire is open rain or shine. No rain checks or refunds are offered. In the event of severe weather or emergency the Faire may be closed with no notice.Can you smoke at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival? ›
Q: Is smoking permitted? A: Smoking in your vehicle is permitted, but we ask that you not smoke when you're interacting with artisans, food vendors, entertainers or staff.Where is the PA Renaissance Faire? ›
The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is located on Route 72, 15 miles north of Lancaster, amidst the majestic gardens of Victorian Mount Hope Estate & Winery.What do you wear to a Renaissance Festival? ›
Bodices, corsets, frilly and puffy long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, baggy cotton pants, floor-length dresses, and boots are clothing pieces that you'll be seeing the most at renaissance faires, and there are lots of different fun variations of each!Does Ren Fest take credit cards? ›
We welcome VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER and AMERICAN EXPRESS at Ticket Booths, most merchandise shops and some food locations. Most game locations ONLY accept cash. Does Festival accept personal checks or foreign currency? Festival does not accept personal checks or foreign currency in any locations.Which Renaissance festival is the largest? ›
The Experience: Texas Renaissance Festival
In terms of size, no one can compete with the gigantic Texas Renaissance Festival. With over 500,000 attendees, it isn't just the biggest in the U.S., but in the world. The event kicks off with an incredible Oktoberfest celebration.
Founded in 1986, the Georgia Renaissance Festival began on 65 acres just to the east of I-85 in Fairburn, drawing a crowd of about 32,000. Fast forward to 2022, and the Festival now lives on 120 acres one mile to the west of its original location and attracts over 120,000 visitors over eight weekends every spring.Is Georgia Renaissance Festival cash only? ›
Come With Cash
Although the festival did have an ATM's many of the food vendors only accept cash.
$185.00 for Adults ages 13 and up.
(Sales tax included.) $110.00 for Children ages 5 - 12 (Sales tax included. 4 and under always free.) Parking is FREE courtesy of Harris Teeter.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is located at: 16445 Poplar Tent Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078. View more info and get tickets at: https://www.carolina.renfestinfo.com/.
Since its inception in 1963 in Agoura, near Malibu, more than 5 million people from around the world have visited Southern California's Renaissance Pleasure Faire, averaging approximately 20,000 each weekend.Where is the biggest festival in the world? ›
The biggest festival in the world is in fact, the Kumbh Mela. A gathering in India of more than 130 million people at a time and place dictated by astrology.Where is the world's largest festival? ›
CARNIVAL (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Arguably the biggest festival in the world (not to mention its wildest party), Brazil's Carnival is widely considered “the greatest show on Earth.” The event attracts nearly 5 million people each year, with a half-million or so being visitors traveling to see the spectacle.
jack sias - Owner - georgia renaissance festival | LinkedIn.Where is the Georgia Renaissance Festival 2022? ›
The Festival Main Parking Entrance is located at 6732 Virlyn B. Smith Road, Fairburn, Georgia 30213. PLEASE NOTE: The Main Entrance to the Festival is the second driveway on the right when coming west on Highway 74 (Virlyn B.How big is the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire? ›
Most of the walking paths of the fairegrounds are paved to ease travel in wheelchairs or scooters. However, the Faire site is 35+ acres and some stone or grass covered areas may need to be traveled to access some artisans or food booths.What's the deal with Renaissance fairs? ›
Renaissance fairs generally include an abundance of costumed entertainers or fair-goers, musical and theatrical acts, art and handicrafts for sale, and festival food. Some offer campgrounds for those who wish to stay more than one day.How much are Tennessee Renaissance Festival tickets? ›
|Adult 1-Day Admission - purchase online||$25.00|
|Adult 1-Day Admission - purchase at the gate (cash only)||$30.00|
|Child 1-Day Admission - purchase at the gate (cash only) Age 6-12 - children 5 and under are admitted FREE!||$15.00|