Hear ye, hear ye! Gather ‘round and attend the towne crier! Come one and come all! The king and queen cordially invite ye to visit the Kingdom of Fairhaven! Fun and festivities for the whole family!
2014 marks the 26th Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival. The festival is seven miles east of Apache Junction on U.S. Highway 60 and will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays to March 30, rain or shine.
The Renaissance Festival contains many things, ranging from a medieval amusement park, to a jousting tournament and a feast, all rolled into one nonstop, day-long family adventure.
Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Fry’s Food Stores statewide at a discounted price of $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children to age 4. Tickets purchased at the festival box office are $2 more. Discount tickets for seniors, 60 and older, are $19 and are only available at the festival box office. Admission includes free parking, all entertainment shows, including the jousting tournament and the Birds of Prey show. Attendees may choose to purchase arts and crafts items, food or beverages, or enjoy rides and games, though costs vary.
The festival draws patrons from all over the state of Arizona with its family friendly atmosphere.
“I go to the Renaissance Festival because it’s a chance to travel back in time for a bit and experience the renaissance culture,” said Tech. Sgt. Laurie Snyder, 56th Fighter Wing Command Post training manager. “Of course modern times get mixed in, but it’s fun to be a part of something so different from the world we live in today. I think this is our fourth year going to the Arizona Renaissance Festival, but we attended several festivals while stationed in Germany.”
For some, part of the fun in traveling back in time is to dress the part. For those who’d like to participate, costumes are also available for rental at the Costume Shoppe located behind the box office prior to entrance to the Festival. Prices vary based upon costume choice. Costume swords and daggers are permitted as long as they are properly sheathed and peace tied. It is advised to wear comfortable shoes. And no, medieval garb isn’t the only costume one may see. Don’t be surprised if a ninja, a pirate or a Viking was to be seen wandering the paths. There have even been sightings of … creatures not from this planet.
“Half the fun in going is playing a part and really getting into it,” Snyder said. “I’ve gone as a fairy, but I usually dress as an Irish Princess. Knowing the common courtesies, such as bowing when the King and Queen walk by, brings a realistic element to the fantasy.”
People needn’t worry about getting around the festival. The festival is held in a natural, outdoor setting. Wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs are allowed. There is disabled accessible parking, disabled accessible portable toilets and special seating at the jousting arena. Strollers, wheelchairs, wagons, and motorized scooters are available to rent on a first-come, first-serve basis at the costume rental shop located just outside the festival main gate.
Mystery and magic abound at the Renaissance Festival. Fairies, knights, kings and queens — like something straight out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Why, the magical creatures even may find their way home with festival goers.
“Last year I purchased a ‘fairy cat’ to sit on my shoulder,” Snyder said, “which moves when I discreetly pull/push on a cord. I love watching the look on children’s faces when they realize that it’s moving. Several times I saw them collide with their parents because they couldn’t look away. Then they drag their parents over to see and ask me if it’s real. And since I’m dressed the part, I’m usually asked if they can take my picture with their kids.”