Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Wed April 15 2015

8 Tips for the Renaissance Festival Virgin

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | April 15, 2015

8 Tips for the Renaissance Festival Virgin

Photo courtesy of the Georgia Renaissance Festival.

All across the country, renaissance fairs are gearing up for another season of shows, arts, crafts and of course, food and drink. Some of us, however, have somehow gotten all the way to adulthood and not managed to ever attend such a spirited fest. With that in mind we enlisted the help of Robin Moon from the Georgia Renaissance Festival to help bring you eight tips for Renaissance Festival Virgins.

Dress up or Don’t

There are two things that everyone thinks of when they hear the words, “Renaissance Festival:” turkey legs and dressing up in period garb. Well we will certainly get to the turkey legs, but let’s talk about the dress. Robin tells us not to feel obligated, “There are plenty people that dress and some fairs will even have a costuming shop right outside the main gates, but there are plenty of people that just come to people watch and dress in everyday clothes.” She goes on, “At our event and at some of others we have themed weekends. This year we’ll be including a Roman weekend, Highland weekend and even a Time Warp Weekend where 16th century meets superheroes.”

Wear Comfortable Shoes 

No matter what you wear, make sure that you have on comfortable shoes. Most sites are very large and spread out amongst fields and will require a bit of hiking. Some sites, like the one in Georgia, are permanent and contain permanent structures. The fairs go rain or shine and places like this have copious places to step out of the elements. “The rain almost makes it more authentically like England,” Robin says.

Come Hungry

Everyone knows and loves the giant turkey legs, but there is so much more at many of the fairs. Fish and Chips, Broccoli and Cheese Pie, Barbecue Pork Pockets and Steak or Pork Loin on a Stake are just a few of the over fifty items that normally make an appearance at festivals and there is really something for everyone. Healthy items and food for the kids are available as well.

Beer Me!

Beer, Meads and Ales are all traditional of 16th century England and they certainly have their fair share (pun intended). But these festivals are fair when it comes to beverages, and while there are non-alcoholic choices, wine, margaritas and even half yards of beer are all common as well.

Plan to be Entertained

“Our most popular attraction will be the jousting,” Robin says, “But every fair has a wide variety of shows for all ages.” Look for juggling, acrobatics, music, dancing, hypnotists and more. The entertainment is included at most fairs, but there are chances for upgraded seating or special viewing which might cost you more than included admission.


Obviously in a food and beverage experience you would be tipping, but don’t think that every show you see requires you to tip. There are shows that will pass the hat, but don’t think that it is the norm. Robin says it best, “Tipping is not always expected but ALWAYS appreciated.”

You May See a Wedding

As themed weddings become more popular, many festivals have noticed an increase in nuptials at the venues. Robin tells us at the Georgia Renaissance Festival this is commonplace, “We offer multiple wedding packages that even include a wedding coordinator and every year there are many corporate events hosted onsite as well.”

Don’t Get Crazy With the Weapons

If you are one of the folks that decided that you would love to go and show off your new broadsword, think twice about showing it off during the festival. Most festivals have extremely strict policies and force you to keep your weapons sheathed and peace tied. Check with your local festival to see their policies on non-firing guns, broadaxes, claymores, maces, halberds, tipped arrows, or pole weapons (wow, did I just write that?).

Thanks to Robin Moon and the Georgia Renaissance Festival for giving a little insight into what to expect at your first Renaissance Festival.  If you happen to be in the Atlanta area from April 18 – June 7, stop by and enjoy a big turkey leg for me! Where is your favorite renaissance festival? What tips do you have for folks who have never been? Let me know in the comments below.


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