Maryland Renaissance Festival returns this fall


The Renaissance Festival is open on weekends now through Oct. 21.

By Catherine Goohs, Archive Manager

Autumn not only brings colorful foliage, but also jousting, fortune telling, face painting and merriment, for the Maryland Renaissance Festival is back in town.

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the Renaissance Festival.  Located in Crownsville MD, the festival is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each weekend from Aug. 25 until Oct. 21, but it’s nearly impossible to experience every activity in a single visit. If one decides to go, here are some tips for a most enjoyable experience.

One must see attraction is jousting, a brief, staged battle where men and their horses, garbed in heavy metal armor, attack their opponents.  Regal banners soar to represent each team amidst high tensions.

Looking the part is also a significant factor to having fun. Not only do many children dress up, but adults get in on the action as well. Many shops on the festival’s grounds sell or rent costumes, swords and masks. There are numerous stations offering face painting, hair braiding, henna and other unique ways to dress up.

The Renaissance Festival also offers a multitude of delectable treats to “subside ye cravings.” In particular, the fried dill pickles, turkey legs and rich mac & cheese on a stick appear exceptionally nauseating, yet taste delicious. There is an abundance of options for those with a sweet tooth, such as chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, candied nuts and frozen sherbet oranges.

Magic acts and theatrical productions are plentiful and allow visitors to watch spectacles from benches or in passing. Many magicians ask for assistance to allow audience participation.

Keep in mind that actors are not only performers on stage.  Vendors, fairies, sorcerers, queens and knights speaking in Renaissance-era English wander amongst the paying customers. Most have elaborate and imaginative backgrounds made up, eager to tell anyone who asks.

The only drawback is that the festival is a bit pricey. The entrance fee is $22 for those 16 years and older and $10 for those 15 years and younger. Nearly every activity costs extra, ranging from $1 to $20, and many vendors sell items that a visitor won’t use more than once. Average visitors should anticipate spending $40 for a full day at the festival.

Whether dancing to classical music, chowing down on medieval meals or riding an elephant, experiencing the live magic of the Maryland Renaissance Festival is a day filled with memories not to be missed.