Ohio Renaissance Festival
If you live anywhere within a 3 hour drive of me, you’re probably familiar with the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Harveysburg, Ohio. Full of costumes, shops, performers and more, all set back in the 16th century! Trust me, you don’t want to miss it. Let me tell you about my most recent visit…
Where: Renaissance Park ~ Harveysburg, Ohio – Conveniently located near Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus just minutes off I-71, exit 45 or I-75, exit 38 on State Route 73 in Warren County.
Theme: This 30-acre permanent village has been authentically and historically re-created in the flavor of 16th Century England.
Entertainment: Visitors will see a full day of entertainment including full-armored Jousting the way it was done over 400 years ago by real Knights in shining armor. Queen Elizabeth I presides over the festivities as dozens of Renaissance musicians, dancers, comedians, jugglers, sword-fighters, storytellers and hundreds of costumed performers entertain patrons of all ages on 11 stages in nearly 100 shows daily.
Arts & Crafts: More than 140 world-class artisans display wares in this unique shoppers’ paradise. Master artisans demonstrate timeless arts of glassblowing, jewelry making, blacksmithing, stone carving, leather crafting, weaving and more.
Food & Drink: Giant Turkey Leggs, Steak-On-A-Stake, Stuffed Spuds, Bread Bowl Stews, Hearty Ales, Flavorful Wines, Delectable Desserts and Vegetarian selections offer even the most discriminating taste buds a true Taste of the Renaissance.
* The Swordsmen – Two itinerant gentlemen with sharp swords, quick reflexes and even quicker wits for an entertaining balance of comedy and the manly art of swordfighting.
* Led by World Champion Shane Adams, the Knights of Valour, real knights in shining armor, do battle in three Jousting Tournaments each Festival day.
* Theatre In The Ground (aka The Mudde Show) presents literary classics with a comedic twist performed in Ohio’s only Muditorium, where comedy meets Earth.
*KamiKaze FireFlies – This impressive duo will delight audiences with juggling tricks and dangerous feats.
Test your skills in the gaming area or climb the 25’ Castle Tower, then visit the Tower of London Dungeon of Doom. Eat, drink, shop, enjoy the shows, ride human-powered rides, and visit with Royalty at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.
So my crew has been attending the Ohio Renaissance Festival for over 12 years. We’ve gone in costume and without, depending on what we felt like. I will say if you go in costume, you will be interacted with a lot more, both with festival workers and other attendees!
The “village” is a permanent structure. Seriously, it’s in the middle of a field! And usually the same shops will be found in the same place year after year. Plus they have stands and temporary places set up for smaller or mobile sellers. You can buy anything from weapons and costumes to fairy wings, oils, and even your family’s crest!
Come hungry! There is food and drink for sale everywhere. Giant turkey legs are probably a favorite among the crowd, but you can’t beat the funnel cakes, bread bowls (filled with hot soup on a cold day!), beer, and a bunch of other things for sale. Want a neat place to eat lunch? Check out the chapel that’s just across the way from the main food vendors.
Speaking of the chapel, this is a stone open air structure where the weddings take place. But they also have musicians come and play, and the Queen knights the kids at a few points through the day. This is our general meeting place, especially for lunch, since they have stone benches and we can watch what’s going on at the same time. And the roof is great if it’s raining or snowing.
How should you dress? Well, like I said, dress in costume or don’t; it’s up to you and there’s plenty of people in both categories. I will say check the weather before you go though. I’ve been in freezing rain, light snow and I’ve been in the blazing sun and almost overheated! That’s the Ohio fall for you folks!
Don’t forget to check the schedule for your entertainment events. We always check out The Swordsmen (Guido and Dirk) and the full armor jousting. Some shows and entertainers perform more often and some are only once or twice a day. Don’t worry, the schedule also contains a map of the grounds so you can find everything.
A few last suggestions, from veteran faire goers:
- Bring a camera or use your cell phone: There are a ton of great shots to be captured during your visit! It’s nice to ask first of course, especially if it’s someone’s kids.
- Budget ahead of time: I always wind up wanting to spend hundreds of dollars, so I withdraw a pre-determined amount of cash and that’s all I allow myself to spend on food, trinkets, etc. This also applies to my kids, so they know ahead of time and will browse before they buy.
- Check the Theme Weekends: Each weekend has a theme, whether it’s Highland Weekend where they celebrate haggis and knobby knees or Pirates Weekend (A’rrr me mateys); they even have a Time Travelers Weekend to dress up as all characters from TV, movies or comic books!
- Order online: I’d suggest buying your tickets online if you can. This saves you time from having to stand in line PLUS you may be able to find a deal or package for your party.
Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival before? Tell us about it!