Huzzah my fair Lords and Ladies. With COVID restrictions lifted and no other trips to interfere this fall (ie Portugal), we were finally able to return to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival after a three year hiatus.
While the Maryland Renn Fest has continued to offer the merriment and amusements we seek each year as the weather begins to cool, I have still longed to be tell the story of our northern neighbor’s festivities on this blog.
Due to high demand, tickets are restricted and are only offered online which often sells out days in advance. There are no tickets to be purchased at the gates (and no evidence of scalpers from my experience.) Adult tickets are $36 and the faire runs rain-or-shine.
Despite the ticket restrictions, it was still incredibly busy with all manners of people, decked out in their finest silks and armors, clumsily clutzing about. The main entrance opens into a street with two directions. Make a left and you head towards the children-centric gaming area. Make a right, and you descend a moderate hill that houses most of the food options. Arriving around lunch time means people are well… in line for lunch which makes the entrance area a bit crowded.
We really enjoy the shows at the Pennsylvania Renn Fest, and our favorites are usually at the Ball and Chain stage, which seems to showcase the raunchier, adult-rated comedy shows. While we didn’t get to see some of our perennial favorites, we were treated to two new shows – a poet with some cliché R-rated material and a medieval drag show, the latter of which kept us laughing.
The shops are plentiful and unique. I especially like how they are spaced throughout the grounds, making the faire a place that you should definitely visit multiple times to really get a look at everything it has to offer.
Anytime I go to an outdoor festival like this, one of the things I look forward to the most are any exhibitions that teach you about birds of prey. It seems like each year, the attending bird handler changes (which means a different set of birds each year.) This year, we were introduced to two Harris’ Hawk and a European Common Buzzard in flight, but could meet the rest of the crew in their nearby aviary (the European Eagle Owl was impressively large.)
If I had to make a criticism for this year’s faire, it would be the prices. I understand the concept of being inside a closed economy like an amusement park or concert, but these prices had skyrocketed compared to years past. By comparison, the Maryland Renn Fest of 2022 seemed to stick to consistent prices of years recent, but the Pennsylvania faire jumped with inflation.
My other criticism is that wine was only sold in large cups. For $14, you’d like your cup to be overflowing, but for those who are looking to remain competent or want to drive later that day, I feel like offering a smaller pour for sale would have been more responsible.
And lo, I still enjoyed being able to return for one of my favorite annual traditions and look forward to eventually expanding to other renaissance faires across the states.