MD: Travel Back in Time at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

The excitement begins as you approach the gates to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, as faire-goers festooned in Tudor-era garb swarm the entry. But these aren’t the actors, they are the faire enthusiasts. You’ll see all levels of Renaissance costumes, from knights and ladies to mystics and fairies. It’s the most fun when you dress up and become part of the village scene.

MD Renn Fest
King Henry VIII at the Maryland Renaissance Festival [all photo credits: rennfest.com]
Once inside, you step back in time to the era of King Henry VIII. Each year the Maryland Renn Fair features a different year of the monarch’s life, replete with the current wife (he had 6 you know). This year’s story line is set in the year 1532. King Henry VIII is separated from Queen Katherine and determined to get a divorce and marry the enchanting Anne Boleyn. Look for the Boleyns and Howards as they make their annual summer progress to the Harvest Festival.

The 2019 Maryland Renaissance Festival runs on weekends from August 24 through October 20 and includes Labor Day Monday at the location just west of Annapolis. Discounts are available until Sept 9th, although the ticket prices are very low anyway.

MD Renn Fest
Jugglers putting on their comedy act

Renaissance Rules of Etiquette

Since you are a guest in the royal village of Revel Grove, it is only proper that you pay homage to the royalty whenever they pass (which is often). You won’t miss their arrival because they are loudly announced. Villagers should curtsey or bow to the royals.

MD Renn Fest
Globe Theatre at MD Renn Fest

While attending one of the shows that are scattered throughout the park, guests are expected to join in the bawdy fun. Don’t be shocked by the double entendre references—it’s all in the fun. You may be asked to join the actors on stage to be part of their act. You’ll be amazed at the balancing acrobats and the jugglers. You’ll be amused by the fast-paced tour through one of Shakespeare’s plays. And you’ll just have to shake your head at some of the more stupid acts all done in fun.

Be sure to attend the Royal Joust held several times throughout the day. The crowd is divided into fourths to root for their favorite knight as they battle each other on horseback. You’ll gladly jump from your seat and yell “Huzzah!” when your knight scores. Loud clashes of lances on shields, along with the thundering hooves of their noble steeds add to the excitement.

MD Renn Fest
A noble knight at the Maryland Renaissance Festival joust

If you have little ones, take them to the children’s play area, and engage in some of the games and rides fit for both adults and children. There is so much to do that you likely will have to return to see it all.

No weapons of any kind—even fake ones—are allowed within the park, so leave your swords at home.

Other than that, pretty much anything goes at the Renn Fest, as it is commonly called.

Food and Drink at the Maryland Renn Fest

Throughout the village you’ll find plenty of stalls selling sometimes-authentic Renaissance foods and drinks, like turkey legs and mead. There are several beer gardens where you can enjoy a quaff while singing bawdy songs, watching a magician or listening to period music. The food and drink is quite reasonably priced so you can enjoy many items throughout the day. My favorites are the pretzel on a stick—look for vendors walking throughout the faire—and the orange filled with strawberry sherbet also from a roving vendor. It’s quite refreshing. Try the pasta or fruit-filled ice cream bowl while you’re there.

MD Renn Fest
Fabulous food at the MD Renn Fest [photo credit: rennfest.com]

Things to Buy at the Maryland Renn Fest

Of course, there are other ways to spend your money at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. If you didn’t arrive with a costume, you can rent one for the day at shops near the entrance. You can also purchase complete costumes at shops throughout the village, along with hats, magical supplies, jewelry, and other accouterments befitting the era. The children might like to have their hair braided, their faces painted, or their hands cast in wax. Check out the many artisans who are selling their handmade wares, like magic wands, pottery chalices or fancy floral hair wreaths.

MD Renn Fest
Lots of food vendors!

The Maryland Renn Fest by the Numbers

  • 2019 is their 43rd season
  • The permanent village of Revel Grove covers 27 acres
  • 200 performers
  • 10 stages
  • 3000-seat jousting arena
  • 140 artisans
  • 5 taverns
  • 42 food and beverage vendors

Maryland Renaissance Festival
1821 Crownsville Rd.
Annapolis, MD 21401
http://www.rennfest.com

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