Arizona goes medieval as the Renaissance Festival returns

The Arizona Renaissance Festival always draws a big crowd on account of its family-friendly atmosphere, hilarious shows and dedicated employees. This year is no different.

Part of the draw of the festival is the diversity of the activities available. No matter the interest, everyone — from families with little ones to college students — will find something there to entertain them.

The shows that take place throughout the day across the festival grounds are very popular, and checking out at least one of them should be on everyone’s to-do list. From a sword swallower with a sharp wit to risqué versions of Shakespearean plays, all of the festival’s shows are entertaining and amusing, if not completely accurate.

 

 

The biggest shows, however, are the jousting tournaments that take place three times a day, each continuing the storyline of the previous one. Each section of the audience is told to root for a certain knight, making the experience more engaging. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the show and cheer for your knight to take home the prize. Jousting is very popular at the Renaissance Festival, and for good reason, as it is the perfect blend of sport, action and comedy.

While younger children won’t understand many of the jokes made in the shows, which is probably for the best, they will love the selection of games and rides the festival has to offer. They can swing in a giant swan seat, become a jouster as they zip down a pulley or conquer the dragon climbing wall. If they’re an animal lover, they can check out the petting zoo or take a short ride on an elephant.

Every member of the family will like the games at the festival. Test your brute strength at the high striker strength machine and the axe toss, or test your accuracy at the archery booth.

Of course, what would the Renaissance Festival be without an artisan marketplace full of unique items? Almost anything medieval-related can be found in one of the shops around the grounds. Magic wands, pottery, jewelry, costumes and flowers crowns are just a few of the handmade items patrons can purchase. And with the emphasis on Renaissance trades like glassblowing and metallurgy, you can buy a beautiful glass vase or metal pendant after watching the artist make it.

Whether you go all out and dress up as a chivalrous knight or a beautiful queen, or you simply want to soak up the experience, the Renaissance Festival offers so many enjoyable activities that one day doesn’t feel like enough time. Luckily, the festival’s near two-month running time allows everyone a chance to immerse themselves in the fun.

The Arizona Renaissance Festival will continue through March 30.

Reach this reporter at kmmcnern@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @KaseyMcNerney