So I went to the Renaissance Festival a few weeks ago. It’s become a summer tradition for my friends and I. It’s such an awesome experience. The first time we were planning on going, I remember going on Pinterest to look for ways I could prepare, what to pack, how much to budget, etc. But I found a whole-lotta nothin’. Just costume ideas. So I decided to write this post for those who also have no idea what they’re doing. RenFest is fun any way you go, but here’s some useful information if you ever go.
//Where To Get Tickets
Tickets at the door are $22, but my friends and I usually buy the tickets at Walgreen for $19. In Georgia, there are discounts for college students, so you can get tickets for $17 from your college campus.
My advice would be to find deals online or buy tickets at a chain store because tickets will be cheaper than at the door of the Faire.
//What’s Included With The Tickets
Basically, the only thing included is the shows. There are many shows. There is not enough time to see them all, but all of them are awesome.
The main show is the joust. There are three parts to it and are all at different times. This is a show that you should never miss.
Get to the joust early, otherwise, you won’t find a seat. It is generally a joust to compete for the warrior princess’s hand, but don’t think that it’s completely cliche. The story is different every time I go there. Sometimes the warrior princess falls in love with the knight that wins, sometimes the evil knight kills the princess and goes after the queen, sometimes one of the knights competing for the princess’s hand is female… the list goes on.
The show is very fun and the horsemanship alone makes the show cool to watch. This show is the whole plot of the renaissance festival, so definitely watch it.
There are so many other HILARIOUS shows. I wish that there was enough time to watch them all. There are fire dancers and stuntmen. There’s always something for everyone.
There are a ton of sexual references in these renaissance festival shows, which is probably why they are funny. The actors are wonderful and always stay in character no matter what you do.
An actor called my friend’s DSLR a looking glass. That is how in character they try to be.
The shows are basically the only thing included with the tickets. That and the whole ambiance of the festival, so get your money’s worth out of them.
There are so many other attractions at the Renaissance Festival. There are archery stations, camel rides, mazes… you won’t have time to do it all! Seriously. Deciding what to do when you are with a group of friends is quite a feat when you have so many options, so have fun with that.
(Random Story from the picture above: I was wearing sunglasses because my allergies were killing me and my eyes were all red and oozing gross stuff (Too much detail, I know). Don't worry. It went away after a while.)
These activities do cost money. Like, going into the maze cost about $3 per person. The archery costs $4 for 10 arrows, but we just shared the arrows. Make sure to factor this into your budget. (More on that later)
//Booths and Vendors
The Festival is full of little booths and vendors selling jewelry, trinkets, weapons…. there isn’t a shortage of vendors.
The vendors are very nice about letting you try on the corsets and holding the swords. That’s part of the fun.
Every time I go, I always see something I love. The jewelry is very eclectic and perfect for nerds like me. There is bound to be something you love.
Oh god, the food is so delicious. And SO expensive. It’s sort of ridiculous.
All the food I’ve tried is delicious. There are food carts all over the festival. There’s fried ice cream, calzones, turkey legs, key lime pie on a stick….the options are endless.
Last year for lunch, I had a Philly-cheese steak sandwich and this year I had cheese bread. Lunch was about $3-$4. This year I wanted to get a key lime pie on a stick, but I saw that it was $4, so I didn’t think it was worth it. My friend Briah said it was delicious, though.
There are also plenty of free samples, which are SO delicious! They make me want to buy the food immediately. I don’t really like nuts, but this woman gave me what I think was walnuts roasted in brown sugar, and I had to restrain myself from buying them on the spot.
The food is usually labeled in a romantic way, like lemonade can be called dragon piss, but there is a description of the food in modern English under the title, so you won’t accidently order something you don’t like.
Note: Buy the frozen lemonade. They are delicious, you get your money’s worth, and they are a lifesaver in the heat.
//What To Bring
- Cash- Most places are cash only, including the food. The only places that have card scanners are places that sell expensive things like corsets and jewelry. Card readers would also really mess with the whole “olden days” vibe.
- Small Backpack– To carry your all your junk. Duh!
- Snacks– I’ve already mentioned the highway robbery that is the food, so bring little snacks to keep your stomach at bay, like pretzels and fruit snacks.
- Fan– If you don’t have one, buy one when you get there. It should be the first thing you look for because, seriously, they are the reason I didn’t die of heat stroke. The ones at the Renaissance Festival are really pretty and useful. They’re also an awesome souvenir.
- Water– I have mentioned the heat a multitude of times. You will probably run out of water, no matter how much you bring, but even one bottle will save you money.
- Friends– They are what make any experience awesome. Don’t forget them. Who else will listen to your fake Old English accent?!?
Try them on! You don’t necessarily have to come wearing one (Because who has the time or money for that) Vendors will. however, let you try costumes on. You’re not allowed to take pictures, though, but my friends and I snuck some pictures in the dressing room last year.
There is also the option of renting costumes at the door. Get ready to fork over at least a $100, but you’ll have a costume.
Important Note: Wear close-toed shoes. My friend wore sandals last year and spent the better part of the day getting rocks and sand out of them. We have photographic evidence of this.
//How much to budget
So I spent about $40 this year and probably $60 last year (both including tickets) because I bought a necklace and other souvenirs. I only bought a fan this year. I was much more conscious about what I spent this time around.
I would advise you to budget $50 including tickets if you want to do a good amount of activities and eat more food.
Next year, I want to just bring $100 and do whatever I want with it, whether it’s buy a lot of food or buy a souvenir, so I’ll budget for that. Maybe another hundred if I want a corset.
If you want to buy costumes and swords to your heart’s content, you should probably budget a few hundred dollars to do so.
So you are going to be in the middle of a desert-like field, so there won’t be air conditioning or modern restrooms for miles. There will be porta-potties. If you can stomach them, your fine, but if not, hold it, use them early before they get to a certain (ehem) levvel, or do or die. Have fun.
I hope this guide helped you prepare for and/or get excited for your first Renaissance Festival. Have fun!
Fun Fact– The Queen at the Georgia Renaissance Festival is actually my American Sign Language teacher from High School.
Also, all these photos were taken by me, my friend Cindy, and my friend Stellah. Most of the photo credits go to Cindy.
Have you ever been to the Renaissance Festival? Do you want to? What was your favorite part about it?