If you live in Arizona or travel here during February & March, a fun and unique thing to check out is the Arizona Renaissance Festival! It is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation and is celebrating 25 years of fun! We actually had the pleasure of attending this past weekend! It usually runs every weekend starting at the beginning of February, running until the end of March. This year, March 31st will be the final day. For those unfamiliar, the festival village comprises 30 acres, filled with 13 stages of nonstop entertainment; falconry, performances of music, dance and comedy. The festival has great details, store fronts and characters. Our three favorite things at the festival are:
The Birds of Prey Show – the boys loved this! The birds are incredible. And, it was so cool that we got to get a closer look at them after the show was over. Big Brother was thrilled to have his picture taken with one of the birds afterward!
Giant Turkey Legs – Let’s face it, there is just something fun and rather medieval about a giant turkey leg! The boys weren’t so sure about it at first, but ended up loving it!! The Jousting Tournament – This is super fun. Knights, horses, jousting–it’s well done. The boys were rather in awe of the whole thing. If you’re thinking about taking a trip out to the festival, here are a few things to keep in mind…
– There is something there for everyone (from playgrounds for little ones to shows more adult in nature). Our kids had fun and we found plenty to do without paying for extra rides. With that said though, there are certainly some questionable characters, scantily dressed women, and some adult-themed humor. So, just be prepared for that if you are taking little ones.
– You can get discount tickets at Fry’s and there are often ticket giveaways from local media outlets and bloggers. For a special festival/event ticket, the price of admission really isn’t that high. BUT, keep in mind that many things cost extra once inside–just like a State Fair, Carnival, etc. You pay extra for the rides, face painting, food, etc. Bring CASH! Most places don’t take cards (again, much like a fair). There are ATM’s inside, but you’ll pay a service charge for it. With all that said though, we found PLENTY to do without spending extra money. We walked around taking it all in, played on the playground, went to two shows (and watched a few minutes of two others), and did the petting zoo in the hours that we were there. It was all included in the admission price. Aside from less than $20 on food that we spent, we bought the boys each a fun wooden sword (2 for $10)!
– There is a pretty decent variety of food (turkey legs, roasted chicken, steak, pizza, fish, bread bowls, sandwiches, & more….plus fun drinks, desserts, and treats). To us, most of the food was actually reasonably priced for an event like this (and tasted decent). We got a chicken strips basket & fries that the boys split for $5.50. Pretzels were $2. Turkey legs (which we split as a family) were $7.50.
– There isn’t a whole lot of shade. There are a few places, but as you can imagine, they are rather popular. We’d LOVE it if they invested in some awnings or covered tents over the Tournament Arena where the jousting takes place. So, make sure you wear sunscreen & hats!
– Traffic getting in is BAD! Once in the parking lot, the staff did a great job directing people and everything flowed smoothly. However, traffic comes to a dead stop a few miles away from the venue. It took us a little over 30 minutes to go less than 5 miles. With antsy kids in the car, this can be rough! I don’t know that there is really any easy fix for this. It just is the way it is with the road out there and the popularity of the venue. Just be prepared for that and plan a little extra time to get there.
It’s a fun & unique experience. Overall, the details are all really well done. I definitely think it’s something that AZ locals should experience at least once since it’s such a unique thing!
Have YOU been to the Arizona Renaissance Festival (or something similar in another state)? What did you think?
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets for the purposes of review. As always, all opinions and experiences are entirely my own!
When I went once in college, I was chosen to wave one of those little ribbons in the show! Do they still do that…where you cheer for your certain knight? 🙂
They hold simular festivals around here. But there is not a permant village/site. So it is held in a park. I have yet to attend one. Someday….
We went every year, when I was in AZ. we had so much fun. First fun outing with hubby and me in AZ was the renaissance fair. Oh such memories. Miss it now.