ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Maryland Renaissance Festival - A Must-See

Updated on February 24, 2014

Introduction to the 2nd Largest Renaissance Fair in the United States

The year seems to be sometime in the 1500s in Revel Grove as King Henry VIII with his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, make their annual appearance. Revel Grove is a 25 acre village, located on 130 acres of beautiful land in Crownsville, Maryland. Sounds of merriment and celebration waft over the land on the summer breeze. This is the year that the King has become attentive to fair Lady Mary Boleyn as the residents of Revel Grove celebrate her recent marriage to Sir William Carey. Queen Katherine also becomes increasingly attentive to the things around her. Excitement is in the air.

I had imagined that Maryland's Renaissance Festival (RenFest) would be a fun event to experience. It was definitely close to the top of my to-do list. Though my ears perked as advertisements ran every year, it took me several years after moving to the area to get myself to the festival. Which is crazy since the festival is open every weekend for nine weeks. Clearly, I am a procrastinator. Now that I've attended, I know that I will return this year. I highly recommend that you have this experience also.

Huzzah! And welcome to my bit of the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Image Credit: Unless otherwise noted, these photographs are my personal photographs from my travels. Images are Dawn Rae - All Rights Reserved.

The RenFest Phenomenon:

A bit of general history and information.

A Renaissance Festival, or Faire, is an outdoor festival that is open to the public and is focused on portraying a particular era in history.

It is primarily a popular event in the United States. It is thought to have been a result of an increased interest in the medieval cultures following WWII. As this interest increased, the festivals began in the 1960s. It seems that beginning in the 1980s, renaissance fairs have begun in other countries.

A reported 300,00 RenFest visitors flock to Maryland for the experience as well as the entertainment, food, and souvenirs each year. Even with so many visitors at the Maryland RenFest, I did not feel a bit crowded. With the 40+ food booths, 130 craft shops, 8 stages, and jousting arena, I felt as there was plenty of room to roam without that overwhelming sardine-in-a-can feeling. I’m sure that it helped that I am a morning person and I attended early, but it still seems as though the crowds during heavily visited days would have room to move.

Are you concerned that you don't live near Maryland? Are you unable to travel long distances? Never fear. There are many Renaissance or similar festivals in the United States. Visit the Renfaire website listed below to find a festival near you.

Some Movies to Set the Mood

The first time I went to RenFest, was a result of last minute change of plans and limited time. The next time I go, I will prepare by watching some period movies before I go. These two movies will definitely be movies that I see before I go.

These movies are favorites of mine. If you haven't seen them, and you are interested in this period, you need to watch these.

Ever After - A Cinderella Story
Ever After - A Cinderella Story

A fantastic version of the Cinderella story; two young and independent people trying to find their place in life and they end up finding each other.

 
A Knight's Tale (Special Edition)
A Knight's Tale (Special Edition)

Jousting, comedy, beautiful people, beautiful scenery and costumes.

 

What to Wear:

Everyday casual clothes are fine, but here are some tips in case you want to dress for the occasion.

Most festival visitors wear their normal summertime wear. You will not feel out of place at all if you dress in your regular clothing. Many people prefer to increase the festive experience by dressing for the era.

There is a costume rental booth at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. However, as I was getting out of my Jeep and walking across the parking fields to the front gate, I was keenly aware that many, many visitors choose to come in costume.

Many of the visitors dress to fit a certain population in that era. Some festivals remain closer to the authentic era costumes and while other festivals branch out into fantasy costumes (i.e Faery and Centaur). Farther out fantasy costumes such as a Star Wars character and Little Bo Peep have been spotted at these festivals.

At the Maryland Renfest, I observed only era costumes (serving wenches, court jesters, Ladies, Lords, and pirates) with an occasional Faery thrown in. However, I was only present part of a day.

While researching festival costumes, in an attempt to share photos with you dear reader, I find that the regular festival-goers are not specific about what type of costume you attempt to recreate but are more concerned that you are aware of certain flaws. These flaws include things such as pulling your corset up to the point of cleavage desperation, wearing tennis shoes with an otherwise authentic costume, and not leaving the modern accessories such as wrist watches at home.

What Would You Wear? - If you attended a Renaissance Festival, would you wear a costume?

Costume or not?

See results

Purchasing a Costume Online

In case you don't relish the thought of a rented costume and you don't feel as though you have the creative touch to put your own together, remember that you can purchase a costume from Amazon. Click the "buy" link in order to read more about the costume or to begin a search for a different costume. Happy browsing!

Fun World Women's Deluxe Renaissance Lady, Purple, Medium/Large 10-14
Fun World Women's Deluxe Renaissance Lady, Purple, Medium/Large 10-14

This is my favorite. Please note that a reviewer added that it appears to fit well on shorter gals.

 
California Costumes Men's Tavern Man Costume, Green/Brown, Large
California Costumes Men's Tavern Man Costume, Green/Brown, Large

A costume for the male Renaissance Fair visitor.

 
California Costumes Women's Tavern Maiden Costume
California Costumes Women's Tavern Maiden Costume

Over 140 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.

 

Entertainment:

Some of the exhibitors truly are barely balanced.

There are a large variety of acts, shows, and events to choose from. The entertainment occurs both on stages at scheduled times and as wandering acts. I was fortunate enough to make the decision to sit and watch Barely Balanced’s entire show.

Barely Balanced is a balancing, juggling, acrobatic, comedy show. Even though those four words are prefect descriptors for what they do, it doesn’t seem as though I am doing them justice. While they are appropriate for young audiences, their discreet innuendos and bawdy humor makes adults chuckle. The only problem I had with their show was that it ended all too quickly.

In addition to acts like the one I saw, there is singing, instrumental, dance, and theatrical talent. There are no additional tickets to buy or seating to reserve in order to see these acts. Pay attention to the locations of the multiple stages, have a look at the festival printed schedule of events, and have a seat on the benches in time to see the show.

Unfortunately, I missed the jousting events. That will not happen in the future.

Food Court: - Smoked turkey legs and more! I will let TerraVox's photos show you the RenFest food choices.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit: Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license. A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit: Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license. A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit: Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license. A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit:  Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license.  A Link to additional photos is provided below.
Image Credit: Image by vox_efx under the creative commons attribution license. A Link to additional photos is provided below.

Crafts:

A bit of heaven for blown glass fans.

There are many crafts at RenFest; both demonstrations and sales. The exhibitors are mainly focused on replicating 16th century artisans. By far, my favorite was the glass blowing stand. Throughout the day, demonstrations were given on how they blow glass. I was mesmerized, even though I’ve seen glass blowing in a different setting. Perhaps it was the open air setting and the costuming that made this glass blowing seem more interesting.

The glass blower’s stand, a small but permanent stick-built hut, held shelf upon shelf of these vases, cups, and ornaments.

As you wander the festival, you will find many delightful, handmade trinkets to purchase. I truly wanted to purchase one of each.

2014 Dates and Location:

August 23, 24, 30, 31

September 1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28

October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19

10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Rain or shine

1821 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401

For more information call: (410) 266-7304 or 1-800-296-7304

Note: While RenFest has been held at this location since 1985, there are articles in the local newspapers stating that there is serious movement toward relocating the site after 2014. The festival has outgrown the 130 acre festival site. I recommend that you check the websites for the current location before planning your trip.

Books and Movies of Interest:

You may find these books and movies of interest before attending a Renaissance Festival.

Henry VIII: The King and His Court
Henry VIII: The King and His Court

A portrayal of daily life during the life and times of King Henry VIII. A four-star rating.

 
Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
Love Letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn

Love letters from a King to a woman, prior to her beheading of course.

 
Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture
Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture

Reviewers refer to this books as slightly "academic" but never "dull". A history of how Renaissance Faires came to be.

 
National Geographic - The Madness of Henry the VIII
National Geographic - The Madness of Henry the VIII

A four-star National Geographic documentary about the ruthless and scandalous side of King Henry VIII

 
Elizabeth R
Elizabeth R

a 5-star BBC mini series about the life of Queen Elizabeth I

 

I would love to hear your comments about these festivals and your experiences.

Have You Ever Experienced a Renaissance Festival?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      Love the beautiful glass work. If I ever go I am already prepared to thoroughly enjoy the barely balanced players.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      I've gone to the Ohio one- but now I must plan a trip to Maryland for this year!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 

      4 years ago

      I am soooo jealous - going to a Renaissance festival is on my bucket list, but they are few and far between in the UK - nothing quite on the scale of the wonderful ones you have in America (although we do have some fabulous faerie ones)! And yes, I will be there in full costume with bells on!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 

      4 years ago

      I am a fellow Maryland-ite. So I may check this out this summer.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 

      4 years ago

      I've been once - had a great time! Every year, I say I am going again. But I guess I'm a procrastinator also. Great photos.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I have been to Renaissance Festival in Kansas City, Missouri several years ago. It was a lot of fun. Great costumes and games and lots of neat crafts. I'm a big fan of the blown glass. Thanks for sharing the Maryland RenFest in your lens.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      4 years ago from United States

      Oh, man! I really want to go!!! Anyone want to meet me there? This is exciting, I can dream up tons of costumes between now and fall. Holy cow, I love this! And crafts too! Yowsers!

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 

      4 years ago

      The costumes are wonderful! We have a festival of this kind not far from us each summer. I have yet to attend though...maybe this will be the year.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 

      4 years ago

      I have not but I have read a lot about Renaissance Festivals. Thank you for taking us along with you. I am now prepared for what to expect when I do attend!

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 

      4 years ago

      Yes, I went to a Renaissance Festival at Marymoor Park, on the eastside of Seattle. It was so cool! There is also a Shakespeare Festival in Medford, Oregon, that attracts big crowds. Thank you for the awesome tour!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Once with my brother who is very much into this whole thing - I enjoyed it, like a step back in time - He fences too - they have costumes..the whole nine yards :)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Your Maryland Renaissance Festival sounds like a delightful experience. I've never been to one, but my son & daughter-in-law went several years in a row -- in costume -- to the one in Kansas City before they moved out of state 5 years ago. They loved it, enjoyed dressing up in costume, and really liked the food.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      I attended a Renaissance Festival in Texas. It was fun. I especially enjoyed the art booths and the food. Love the Renaissance music, too. A group could have a lot of fun going in costume. Enjoyed seeing your fair here.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      I have not been to a Renaissance Festival but have always wanted to attend one. I seem to hear about them after the fact!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)