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Renaissance Faires- Making the Most of Your Time in the Renaissance

Updated on April 22, 2012

A renaissance faire is good entertainment value for the amount of money that you spend. Once you've paid for your admission and step through the gate to the past, a majority of the entertainment (with the exception of certain special events, such as breakfast with the queen) is covered for the day.

While there are always things such as food, games and miscellaneous shopping that you can spend money on if you want to, the basic faire is yours for a single fee.

So how do you get the most for your money?...

Let me be your guide to making the most of your time in the renaissance....

Look for Bargains

The first trick for getting the most for your money at the renaissance faire is to look carefully at your price of admission. Most faires are reasonably priced, but you may be able to get a good deal on this admission if you think about it.

  • Some faires offer a discount on advance ticket purchases online. Check the faire website or sign up for the faire newsletter for more information on this. (Some discounts have a cut off date, so you'll want to pay attention.)
  • Most good faires have more wonderful things than any one person can do in a day. If, on examining the website for the faire, you think that this is the case, look and see if your faire offers season passes, so you can go multiple times at a discount.
  • Some faires offer discounts on a special day (such as a discount on the first day for those bringing a non-perishable item for the local food pantry.)
  • Be sure to be on the faire mailing list. In addition to notice of discounts, some of these offer contests to win tickets.
  • Check into things such as AAA or groupons to see if they offer faire discounts.

The faire is worth the full cost of admission, but if you can find a discount, that's a few more dollars to tip and entertainer or buy a turkey leg....

What Would You Most Like to See at a Renaissance Faire?

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Plan Ahead

Half the fun is in the anticipation, so plan ahead and get more out of your day in the renaissance.

Look at the faire website and see what kinds of shows and other activities will be available. If they've got a schedule posted, so much the better (If not, be sure to look for one as soon as you can once you arrive)

Figure out what you most want to see when you're there, and find out what the people going with you want most as well.

If you know what your priorities are, you'll spend less time debating with yourself and with your group, and more time doing wonderful things. Know what you want in advance, and then, when you arrive, you're prepared to pursue it.


Arrive Early and Plan to Stay All Day

You've paid for a full day of renaissance faire, so why not get what you've paid for?

Arrive early, possibly even before the faire opens, (and by early, these days many faires open at 10 am or 11 am, so it's not that trying.)There is usually a piece of drama that starts off the storyline for the faire at the opening gate, so being there to see it lets you know who many of the characters are and what kinds of things you should be looking for all day.

Many faires even offer some kind of gentle entertainment before the faire formally opens, to amuse the people who are waiting to get in.

Once you're in the faire, consult your program for the shows that you want most to see. A number of those shows may happen several times during the day, and, if you attend an early show, it's usually less crowded and easier to get a seat. Spend less time waiting, and more time enjoying.

Pace yourself. Allow times to rest, relax and enjoy yourself, so you're good for the day.

Certain shows (like jousts or living chess boards) are big draws. You should leave time to arrive well in advance of these to claim good seats or a better vantage point for the action. Sending part of your party ahead to claim space while the rest of you secure lunch is one way to approach this.

Finally, try to stay til the end. See the faire's story line wrapped up, virtue rewarded and evil thwarted, and then join in whatever big finale or pubsing is planned to send you home at the end of the day warmhearted and happy.

Get the full experience. It's worth having...

Choose Non- Peak Times

There are certain times which are peak times for certain activities. If you can avoid those peak times, you'll spend less time waiting and more time doing fun things.

  • Lines at the ticket booth can be long, and get longer in the first half of the day. Buying tickets online can save you time waiting in a line.
  • Lunch lines usually peak between 12:00 and 1:30. If you can plan to eat earlier or later, the lines are shorter.
  • As noted in the previous section,for shows that are offered multiple times, the earlier showings are usually not as full. Get a great seat and see everything by seeing it earlier.
  • At the end of the day, the traffic out of the parking lot can back up for awhile. Feel free to saunter through the faire at the end of the day, or make one last purchase to give other cars a chance to clear out first. (Most faires have a closing time, but expect people to take some time clearing out of the faire.)

Take It to Go

In most venues, there are designated places where food is sold and it must be consumed. Not at the renaissance faire- we expect you to buy your food or drink and stroll around with it.

One of the better ways to maximize your time is to send part of your party to nail down seats at a show for you all, while the other part stands in line for food. Once the food is obtained, it's fine at most faires to take it to the show and eat it there, as long as it does not disrupt the show.

Please note, if you are eating and shopping, you need to take care not to touch a vendor's items with sticky or dirty fingers, or dribble liquids on the things set out for sale, but as long as you are careful and courteous, your food is welcome while you shop as well.

Leave Time For Leisure

Now that we've talked about ways to multitask and make the best use of your faire time, let's go at this from a different angle.

A good renaissance faire is full of hidden treasures, things that are beautiful, or strange, or breathtaking; and you want to leave yourself room in your schedule to stop and marvel or take advantage of them as you come across them.

  • To stop and listen to a harper, quietly playing in a nook in the woods.
  • To have the time to visit the shops and be amazed by things you've never seen before.
  • To watch an ent move slowly down a lane or an elf interact with a child.
  • To get caught up in a random dance.
  • To interact with a renaissance hero or villain.
  • To sit on a bench and watch the people go by.

There are all manners of marvels that don't officially "fit" into a schedule format; and that's why we're trying to save time in the other ways above- to give you time for a touch of wonder.

That touch of wonder is often the best thing that you will bring away from a faire day...

Make Times For the Things You Want to Do

Most of all, you must find time for the things that you want to do.

There are many wonderful things to do at a renaissance faire.

You don't have to do them all. You can't do them all.

Hopefully, though, the tips in this hub will help you to find the time to do the things that you want to do, and have your best faire day possible.

I wish you, as always, the fairest of all faire days...

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    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanks fran. that's one I haven't heard of before....

    • FranWins profile image

      FranWins 5 years ago from Takoma Park, Maryland

      Very good. I realize this is intended for the non-fairegoer, but may bear mentioning that some Renaissance Faires also offer discounts for patrons who arrive in garb. Could be a good excuse to get some more use out of an old pirate, fairy or gypsy costume from a past Halloween, or have some fun with something new.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      Thanks tussin. I hope I get a chance to see you having "ye time of your life" at a ren faire one day :).

    • tussin profile image

      I'M BANNED Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!! 5 years ago from Behind You

      Interesting stuff. Incidentally, I know a couple who met at a Renaissance Faire and named their first kid Renfaire. LOL.

    • Catherine Kane profile image
      Author

      Catherine Kane 5 years ago

      You are certainly welcome, Georgie.

      I currently have 4 other hubs on various aspects of the renaissance faire, and hope to have more up soon, if that's of service to you. I'm writing out of my experience as a patron, performer and vendor at multiple faires, and I hope that my experience can make your experience the best one possible

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      This is an interesting hub. I've never been to a Ren faire, but going to one has always been on my bucket list. Thanks to your advice, I will better be able to plan my trip when I do go. Thank you. :)