What I Saw at the Renaissance Fair

Georgia Renaissance Festival - GaRenfest

My husband, Johnny, and I try to make it to the Georgia Renaissance Fair every year if we can. It’s held just south of Atlanta, in a permanent renaissance village. Most of the various shops, taverns, and pubs each has its own renaissance building that looks as if it came from the historic period. We both enjoy the festival immensely. I fell in love with the period as a teacher of British Literature, and Johnny likes the ale and all the cleavage!

You would have a blast at a good renaissance festival or renaissance fair even if you did nothing but parked yourself on a bench or in a tavern or some other renaissance building and watched the people go by while listening to a great renaissance band. Such an event is an open invitation to dress in unusual costumes and to take on a different persona for a day. Some of the attendees even change their speech to suit the occasion!

Although every renaissance festival is a little different, many of them have the same basic attractions. Below are some of the things we see at our Georgia renaissance fair.

Johnny makes a new friend.
Johnny makes a new friend.
Mother Goose.
Mother Goose.
All kinds of interesting people!
All kinds of interesting people!

The people

We’ve seen hobbits that speak as if they’re from Tolkien’s Shire, and elves who speak Elvish. We always see lots of pirates, and most of them speak piratese. The cute little fairies, sprites, and nymphs barely speak at all, but they do smile a lot. The serfs and tavern wenches do their best to speak Middle English, and King Henry VIII and the nobles speak Elizabethan English. The Scottish warriors are always dressed in great kilts with a claymore by their side, and they speak with a rough yet musical brogue. The leprechauns speak in a lilting Irish. The knights have deep, powerful voices, but their horses are generally mute. The village idiot traipses about spewing nonsense, much to the bemusement of the crowd.

You’ll also see people being placed in the village stocks and a couple of characters walking around on tall stilts.

The kissing wenches try to kiss all the men in attendance, leaving their red lip prints on the cheeks of their “victims.”

 

The animals of the renaissance fair

 

We’ve seen herding dogs herding sheep, and braces of graceful greyhounds on leashes held by ladies fair. Horses pull carts around the village, while the great warhorses carry the knights into battle. Mother Goose is always in attendance with her ducks and geese, and birds of prey are part of the falconing exhibit. There’s a petting zoo for the kids, complete with calves, pigs, lambs, rabbits, and goats.

Renaissance food and drink

 

The food at the renaissance fair is everywhere! We saw steak on a stake, a big hotdog called “the king’s wiener,” fish and chips, “fryed” cheese, pizza, giant roasted turkey legs, corn-on-the-cob, fried shrimp, grilled pork loin, chicken wings, garlic bread, roasted nuts, skewered chicken breasts, hamburgers, fried potatoes, stuffed peppers, onion rings, cheese fries, fried pickles, cheese bread, broccoli and cheese pie, bangers and mash, Scotch eggs, meat pies, croissants, mushrooms, fried green beans, and sandwiches. Something offered that I’ve never witnessed and can’t quite imagine is macaroni and cheese on a stick. How do they do that?

 

For dessert, there were fried fruit pies, ice cream, funnel cakes, cookies, candies, sundaes, cobblers, strawberry shortcake, Belgian waffles, scones, floats, snow cones, and assorted pastries.

 

To wash all this grub down, there’s homemade lemonade, juices, milk, soft drinks, ale, wine, beer, and mead.

 

The Royal Lipizzan Stallions perform.
The Royal Lipizzan Stallions perform.
Jousting is a popular attraction at many renaissance fairs.
Jousting is a popular attraction at many renaissance fairs.
The Washing Well Women - "good clean fun and wet, dirty women."
The Washing Well Women - "good clean fun and wet, dirty women."

The shows

The live shows at the festival are fascinating! Some are educational, some are thrilling, and some are just downright funny! There’s a guy who swallows fire, and there are always some agile acrobats. Several comedy acts are always performed, and some of them are pretty bawdy.

The last time we went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, the famous Lipizzaner stallions were there, and they mesmerized the audience with their deft ballet movements and leaps. A group of knights perform several jousts each day, and this show is really cool. the king and queen and their royal entourage watch from a platform between two renaissance towers. I don’t see how these knights manage not to kill each other! You’ll also witness some pretty cool sword fights.

Dancing is always part of the festival. We’ve seen Celtic dances, belly dances, and the Highland Fling performed.

Another highlight of the festival is the coronation of King Henry VIII. This is done with much pomp and blaring of trumpets, as the king enters from one of the renaissance towers..

Live demostrations

 

Since the fair is set in a medieval-renaissance village, there are lots of live demonstrations that take place. These might include spinning, leatherworking, shoemaking, coin minting, hair wrapping and beading, sculpting, pottery making, weaving, glass blowing, blacksmithing, perfume making, carving, jewelry making, and the linking of chain mail.

 

I’ve already mentioned the Birds of Prey exhibition and the herding dogs.

 

 

Our favorite tavern and our favorite renaissance band at the fair, Three Quarter Ale.
Our favorite tavern and our favorite renaissance band at the fair, Three Quarter Ale.
Harps can be heard at most renaissance fairs.
Harps can be heard at most renaissance fairs.

Music at the renaissance fair

One of our favorite parts of the Georgia Renaissance Festival is the music. There’s always a lady playing a huge harp, and there’s a marching bagpipe band that performs several times a day. Modern renaissance band music also fills the air.

We like to sit at the open-air tavern and listen to our favorite renaissance band, Three Quarter Ale. They play and sing old Celtic folk songs, along with some original material. They’re great at getting the audience involved, so their performances are really fun and lively.

 

The shops

If you enjoy shopping, a good renaissance festival will not disappoint! You’ll find all kinds of unique treasures to take home. At our festival, you’ll find handcrafted jewelry, kilts from Scotland, handmade boots, swords, knives, wooden toys, exotic perfumes, herbs, devil horns, wool scarves, belts, carvings, Celtic drums and other handmade musical instruments, beadwork, pewter, and shields. You'll find each shop housed in an appropriate renaissance building that looks very authentic.

The heraldry shop allows you to look up your family’s coat of arms, and you can buy items that display the crest.

Several shops sell all kinds of period clothing, including dresses, skirts, peasant blouses, hats, caps, trousers, leggings, balmorals, and shoes.

One of the neatest things I’ve purchased was a pet wyvern. These are hand-carved from resin, and they have realistic eyes and real feathers for wings. Mine sits on my shoulder, and it had a device that fits down my sleeve that allows me to make the creatures head turn. They also have dragons and gryphons. I “wore” my wyvern to school one day, and my students thought it was a live animal!

The slide at the renaissance towers.
The slide at the renaissance towers.
Jonathan on the jousting gryphon.
Jonathan on the jousting gryphon.
The flying galleons ride.
The flying galleons ride.
Jade tests his strength at the reniassance festival.
Jade tests his strength at the reniassance festival.

The rides and games

All the rides at the fair depend on gravity or manpower – no electricity is involved. The rides are mostly for kids and include a twisting side the exits from a castle turret, a drunken barrel, and swinging sailing ships. There’s also a jousting ride that my grands really like. It’s a carved gryphon that glides down a cable. The kids ride the creature, lance in hand, and try to hit the quintain with their weapon.

There are also games of skill and games of strength, for kids and adults alike. Shoot a bow and arrow, test your skills with a crossbow, or see how good you are tossing hatchets or knives at a target!

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Comments 52 comments

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Looks like heaps of fun! How's the health, Habee?


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Wow, habee! These pictures are amazing and the fair sounds absolutely wonderful. It looks so authentic and of course a lot of fun! Thanks so much for sharing!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Cindy. I feel pretty tired sometimes, but some days I'm fine! The pre-cancerous condition is getting worse, but it's not quite bad enough for a diagnosis of multiple myeloma - and it may never get there. Thanks for asking!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Just wrote a hub about my cancer experience, if you ever need to chat to someone about it I'm here for you.


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

That looks pretty fun. I went to the Renaissance Fair just outside of Los Angeles a few years back and it was a lot of fun. Wish you the best health wise Habee.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

That looks great fun Habee


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I've never been to a Renaissance Fair, though from your hub I think I'd love it.

Thanks for this!


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

I've heard a lot about Renaissance Fairs for years, but have never been to one - looks interesting!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

I've been to one in Savannah, but it is no where as big and extensive as this one. I'm going to have to check this out one year.


pinkylee 6 years ago

Habee... this is such a wonderful hub. it brought tears to my eyes as last year was the first year mama and I went to the fest and I had so much fun I begged her to go back a second time last year and we did and it was just as much fun. my favorite thing had to be the chocolate covered bananas on a stick and the jewels and the people. but this year as you know I won't be going because I now live in Arizona. Thought about doing a similar hub but you did it so much justice I really don't need to now LOL ... thanks for te memories Habee!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ann, it is scarily authentic! Makes you feel like a time traveler!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Cindy!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Wow, Daniel - bet that one is HUGE!! Thanks for the warm wishes!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

You make it sound like so much fun and your photos are just great.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

I never miss the faire in Bristol........... it's a summer have to!

Yours looks like an awful lot of fun too! Thanks for sharing!

Kaie


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Wow Habee! This one looks way better to the one I went to in Tennessee...I would like to go to this one next time they have it! Thanks for sharing!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

That looks like the same group that puts on ours here in Lake Norman... I can't help it- I love the darned thing!!!!!!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

That must have fun and interesting.I am glad you wrote a hub about it and shared it. Thank you for joy of reading and seeing the pictures.


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

That looks like it would be great fun. I wish I could have been there.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

When does the fair usually run...I would love to go and so would my hubby and kids...We probably missed it didn't we...Maybe next year...Good to see ya..Lockermann


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Sounds amazing Habee. I loved all the pictures.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Look like a lot of fun. We went to a Renaissance Fair. There is nothing else like it.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

When I was in college, our drama group were the ones that put on the shows! My roomate was one of the wenches and she was great. I loved the faire! Haven't been to one in many years, this one looks like a winner.

Mac and cheese on a stick? Hmmm. Sounds gooey. Steak on a stake would be my choice although the roasted turkey legs are awesome. Thanks for the hub and some great photos.


lynnechandler 6 years ago

I would so like to be able to go again this year but not gonna go by myself so I prob won't make it out to the fair this year but you did a splendid job bringing this back to life for me.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

I go the Michigan Renaissance festival every fall. LOVE it!!! I always look forward to having my palm read there too! Great hub!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ethel, it is too much fun!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Laurel, girlfriend, I can't believe you've NEVER been to a renaissance fair! You gotta go!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Lily, hook up with Laurel and you two gals go together!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Veronica, go to the one near Atlanta - it's awesome!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Pinky, I'm glad the hub brought back memories, even if they were bittersweet. Maybe you'll findone in AZ, but I know it won't be the same because your mom won't be there.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Sheila. It really is a blast!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Kaie! I'm sure yours is great, too!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Michael, they're having it now - through the first part of June!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Me, too, Chris - I'm a renaissance junkie!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

HH, do they have these festivals in the UK?


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Sam, you and the wife would love it!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Tams, the fair is running soon! It's on the weekends from the end of April through the first of June. check out the website - it's garenfest.com.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, NAncy. You should go!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

right you are, Sandy - it's like a different world!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Austin, that's cool that you were one of the performers! Why don't you still attend renaissance fairs?


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Lynne! I'm not sure we'll get to go, either since we don't want to miss the birth of our new granddaughter. If we do get to go, maybe you could meet us there?!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Herbi, I kinda wish ours was in the fall, but it least it gives me something to look forward to in the spring!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Terrific hub, habee. I have always been curious about these events.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Habee, that looks like so much fun and the pictures are fantastic. Great hub.


lynnechandler 6 years ago

Oooh Habee you will have to let me know. That would be so much fun! I was already thinking of contacting you about a meet up with Randy and Hmrjmr! :)


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

I'll try to be there...Mark my calendar & bookmark this one so, I don't forget...


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Now you know, Bpop! lol

Thanks, Pam!

Lynne, that would be awesome!! I'll let you know if we get to go!

Michael, you could meet the GA gang if we get to go!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I've heard about this and so would like to go to it! Wonderful info and great pics....imagine the recipes we could come up with!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

they should keep us busy for a while, Audrey!


MedievalCostumes profile image

MedievalCostumes 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

Hello! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of the Georgia Fair! I try to frequent as many as I can in Southern California, but yours looks wonderful!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

MC, The Georgia Renfest is awesome!


maryann.mcnicholas@yahoo.com 4 years ago

i have a question if anybody knows the answer please email me maryann.mcnicholas@yah00.com if anybody went to the renisanse fair and bought a fairy egg could you please tell me where to get them myy grand daughter is driving me nuts

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