GA Renaissance Festival: A Jolly Old Time, with Great Videos!
Yeah...okay, so maybe I'm a dork...or a geek. Although I always considered myself to be more of an old hippie. Or a Southern belle. Or maybe an earth mother. Well, maybe I'm a mixture of all these. Anyway, I love a good renaissance fair! You can't imagine how much fun they are until you attend a really good one.
We attend the Georgia Renaissance Fair every year, held April through June. The fair takes place in a wooded area just south of the Atlanta Airport. It's only a couple of miles off the interstate, so it's easy to get to.
The first time I went was more for business than for pleasure. As a high school teacher, I was in charge of the school's renaissance fair, so the principal sent me to the big one to get some ideas. My husband, Johnny, wanted no part it, but he didn't want me traveling alone. He grudgingly agreed to accompany me. I figured it was going to be a big collection of vendors in tents. Boy, was I wrong!
Stepping through the gates of the renaissance fair was like stepping back four or five hundred years in time. There were no tents - this was a permanent village! With real buildings! They were the half-timbered edifices, just like you'd expect to see in Old England. There were streams, ponds, foot bridges, woods, stone walls, and ramparts - just like you would expect to see if you were a time traveller.
There were fascinating live demonstrations, including spinning, candlemaking, glass blowing, sewing, and leathercrafting. There were birds of prey and falconing, along with herding dogs working flocks of sheep on the common.
There were all kinds of games of skills for visitors to try: knife throwing, archery, ax tossing, and tests of strength.
There was plenty of stuff for the kids, too, and something that really impressed me was that none of the rides used electricity. They were powered by gravity, centrifugal force, or manpower. Mother Goose was in attendance, also, for the children, along with her collection of pet geese and ducks.
The live shows and music were awesome! There were lots of bagpipes, drums, and flutes, along with a lady who played a beautiful harp. Several bands played old folk songs and Celtic music at the taverns, and they encouraged the audience to join in several of the raucous tunes. There were acrobats, comedy teams, and dancers, and one year the famous Lipizzan Stallions were at the fair. Of course, King Henry VIII and his wife (I'm not sure which one) watched over all the festivities. The village idiot stumbled around, along with dashing knights and fair ladies. The best show was the joust - real knights, real armor, real horses, and real combat!
The shops and all the goods offered for sale were mind-boggling. A dizzying array of handmade goods were on display, including candles, glasswear, leather goods, imported kilts, swords, knives, jewelry, perfumes, herbs, hats, shoes, dresses, tunics, boots, pet dragons, wind chimes, musical instruments, devil horns, pewter, and wooden toys. I just had to have a set of faiiry ears and a pair of devil horns - our high school mascot is the Blue Devil.
Ah...and then there was the food. It was everywhere. Turkey legs, roasted corn ears, pork loin on a stick, fried cheese, fried potatoes, fish and chips, shrimp, steak on a stake, fried mushrooms, pizza, sub sandwiches, homemade breads, sausage dogs, funnel cakes, corndogs, roast beef, chicken strips, pastries, roasted nuts, pies, cakes, and everything else you can imagine. And it was washed down with ale, wine, and soft drinks.
The best part of the whole experience was the atmosphere. All the workers spoke in Elizabethan English and were dressed in period costume. About half of the visitors arrived in period costume, and some of the outfits were very elaborate. If you didn't have an outfit, you could rent one at the gate if you wished. Everyone was in a festive mood, and it was strange to see people armed with swords walking around drinking ale. Where else could you do that legally but at a renaissance festival?
Johnny and I love sitting in the open-air tavern and listening to the Celtic music. People watching from this vantage point is fascinating! We see pirates, witches, wizards, hobbits, Scottish warriors in great kilts, serfs, noblemen, ladies fair, Robin Hoods, shepherds, monks, friars, nuns, elves, sprites, and so on.
The Georgia Renaissance Festival is held each year, on the weekends, from the end of April through the first of June. You can get tickets online at a discount. The festival also has a deal with local hotels, so if you're attending the fair, you get a great deal on a room, too.
Bring the whole family! Kids will love the games, the rides, the animals, and the fairies and hobbits. Men will love all the exposed cleavage of the wenches, and women will love the handsome knights and all the great shopping!
Be sure to take your camera. You'll see things at the Georgia Renaisance Festival that you've never seen before!
We've found that the best time to go to the Georgia Renaissance Festival is in May. On opening weekend in April, it's too crowded, and sometimes it's still a little chilly. By June, sometimes the weather is too hot to do a lot of walking. May, however, has been ideal.
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