As the summer ends and fall approaches, what do you associate this time of year with? The leaves changing colors? Halloween? Almost time for Harry Potter movie-thons? Me? It’s Renn Faire season, baby!
For the past decade, I’ve been using August-October as a chance to dress up in period costume, shout for guys wearing kilts and chainmail, and bounce around to rhythmic drums with a goblet of mead in hand.
The Maryland Renaissance Festival is the second largest (by attendance according to Wikipedia) Renn faire in the United States. To defend my home state’s silver medal placement here, I will say that the largest festival is located in Texas which is 250,000sq miles larger and has 23 million more people than Maryland. Percentage wise, I’m claiming the W.
When you arrive, you’re greeted with a wall of squires who wish you a day of merriment and offer you navigation (read as: they scan your ticket and hand you a map.)
The first stretch of the grounds is home to numerous shops from leather costumes to framed paintings, wooden mugs to sterling jewelers as well as some classic festival stands like hair braiding and flower crown making. I bought two beautiful stone mugs to make the flowing wine more appropriate than sipping out of a plastic cup. The reason I had to get a second one is because my first one fell off my belt latch a month after I got it when I went up to the Pennsylvania Renn Fest and shattered all over the privy floor.
Depending on what year you go and what time of day you arrive, you’ll find that the Maryland Renaissance Festival chooses a different year of Henry VIII’s reign to tell. You can stop by the joust arena throughout the day to progress the story and see the King and his party parading throughout the village of Revel Grove.
There are ten stages throughout the grounds where you’ll find song, dance, laughter, and death defying acts to entertain yourself with. Some of my favorites are The Rogues and Valkyrik (two musical acts,) The Danger Committee (a stunt act,) and Aerial Silk Fantasy (a treetop silk dance act.)
For food, you have plenty of options and almost all of them involve a stick. Seriously, sausage on a stick, mac and cheese on a stick, steak on a stake, key lime pie on a stick. You name it, it’s on a stick. There are 42 food and beverage vendors, but there’s really only one must eat – the smoked turkey leg. This mouth-watering, succulent, giant leg of fowl is delicious and properly smoked. It’s the absolute best thing I’ve ever spent exactly $7 on.
Spending a day at Renn Fest with some friends makes for an incredible weekend activity. You could spend $50 or $200, but you’re going to have a good time.
My plan was to highlight the differences between the Maryland Renissance Festival and the Pennsylvania one, but PA sold out the only weekend I could go, so you’re going to have to wait until next year to see how Lancaster, PA and my viking outfit stack up to the great Maryland Renn Faire. Huzzah!