We have been going to the Renaissance Festival in Maryland for ages.
I guess it’s the whole knights in shining armor thing that attracts my boys to it. And for me, if I’m honest, I go for the food.
They offer stacks on stacks on stacks of amazing edibles to pour into your waiting gullet. Never mind that they aren’t accurate for the period, all that matters is that they are delicious, period!
I am a one track mind when it comes to good food, but truly, the Renaissance Fest provides so many more wonderful things to enjoy aside from the food goodies. If you’re a first timer, here are some things to look forward to!
20 Things To Know About The Maryland Renaissance Festival
1. You don’t have to wear a costume.
2. But you can if you want to!
The entire place is filled to bursting with mythical creatures and people dressed as though they were living in the Renaissance era. Feel free to join in on the fun!
3. If you don’t have a costume of your own, you are able to rent a costume on the premises.
They aren’t as elaborate or fancy as some you will see when you visit, but they can help get you in mood.
4. Or, if you think you might really be into this sort of thing, you can buy one.
There are countless clothiers and accessories vendors on site that cater to the true Renaissance aficionado.
5. It is an awesome event for kids.
Everything from jousting to jesters are there to keep even the youngest Renaissance-ians (totally a made up word, judge if you must) entertained.
6. It’s best when it’s cool.
For some reason, you get out there at the start of September, before summer has come to its senses and lets fall at your life, and you can expect to sweat yourself silly. I recall tweeting something about how happy I am to be alive in the time of central air conditioning on one particularly sweltering late August/early September visit.
7. There is a ton of walking.
The venue isn’t massive, but it’s got quite a bit of ground for you to cover and not a lot of places to rest that aren’t already being occupied by other eager-to-sit visitors.
8. You can’t eat all of the food in a day.
Because there is so much. In fact, give yourself a couple of weekends to really get into what they have to offer. Our fave? The turkey legs. It makes you feel like you are actually living the roughing it life, in some kingdom, circa 1492.
9. You should travel with cash.
Yes, they have ATM machines inside the venue to assault you with fees and sure, some of the vendors are happy to bust out their new wave-y Square readers to get you rung up, but coin is what talks. Consider it authenticity and bring it if you want to do games and buy trinkets and such.
10. You can learn a new skill and get knighted while you’re there.
We did juggling school on one of our visits. For the record, no one in this house still knows how to juggle, but we do have two knights.
11. The kids will dig the slide.
It is a “built into the hillside” sort and it is pretty darn fun. You have to pay for a ride; but, it’s like $1 per turn and totally worth it.
12. They have a large play area on site.
If you don’t want to be caught up all day with the little people at it, AVOID THE PLAY AREA (it’s near the hillside slide). If your kids need a break from the elves and scary fairies for a bit, head right over (IT’S NEAR THE HILLSIDE SLIDE).
13. Some people get really into it.
I figured an explanation of the scary fairies comment was in order here — note that the interpretation of renaissance fashion is left solely up to the individual dresser. You will see horned people, and winged people, and tailed people. Some of them like to keep it real, but it seems an even bigger faction of dressed up peeps go the “mythical being” route. The Renaissance era was good with artistic expression, so it’s cool.
14. You should buy your tickets online.
The lines to get in are long. No one likes waiting in line.
15. Parking is free.
It also can take essentially forever to get into the parking lot. Go early or wait an hour after they open to avoid the rush. Also, seems to be better later in the afternoon. Regardless, expect to wait.
16. Sometimes they have special events and special guests.
For example, this weekend, lovers of the Outlander series can meet Diana Gabaldon, the author, for a short reading and Q&A session. That’s sort of a big deal if you dig Jamie and Claire like some of my Pursuit home girls do. Check out the special events page for more info: Renn Fest Special Events.
17. Renaissance happens, rain or shine.
This is important to note for those who buy tickets in advance because you cannot get a refund!
18. Yes, of course they have beer.
You can’t bring your own, but you can buy it (and some other alcoholic beverages) on site.
19. The whole event runs from the end August through the end October every year.
It is only open on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
20. Even if this isn’t your usual jam, you will likely still have a blast.
I really never knew I would enjoy it so much until I went. Now, it’s an annual event my entire family looks forward to!
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