Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It’s time to get ye corsets inspected and ye boots polished for the Florida Renaissance Festival!
Over the past 25 years, the name and location have changed a few times, but the charm remains the same. From its humble beginnings and 3,000 attendees, it now has braggings rights to an almost 100,000 attendance and boasts as being one of the nation’s most beloved events centered on the Rennaissance time period.
“I am extremely proud of how far we’ve come in the last 25 years,” said Bobby Rodriguez, Founder and Producer of the Florida Renaissance Festival. “In the beginning, we used to look to other Ren Fairs for ideas and now many of them look to see what we come up with each year. We are proud to have the support of the county, the city, and our community, and to be able to provide this entertaining, educational and cultural enriching festival for people of all ages.”
I’ve attended the past two years, with my little geek joining me this past year. It’s a very different experience going by yourself and then bringing along the younglings. I had so much fun watching my son at the fair, I don’t plan on leaving him home for it again. And while costumes are not required, throwing together an elf or a pirate takes so little effort, you’d be surprised how much of it is probably already in your closet.
For a variety in the experience, each weekend is themed after a different aspect of the renaissance period. This year’s themes include:
Pirates’ Weekend – February 11 and 12
Debark at your own risk and be weary of land sickness during our opening weekend where the village is overrun with mateys and scallywags. Anyone not prepared for a “salty” good time will be sent to walk the plank.
Time Travelers’ Weekend – February 18 – 20
You won’t need a passport to travel through time during Time Travelers’ Weekend. This weekend is dedicated to adventurers across the centuries and embodies the spirit of recreating the past, symbolic of the entire festival. Open on President’s Day, Monday, February 20th!
Masquerade – February 25 and 26
Everywhere you turn, peering eyes from behind a mask let you know that it’s Masquerade Weekend. Unleash your inhibitions behind the anonymity of delicately detailed masks, historic costumes, and intriguing disguises! The Masquerade will keep your secrets until you divulge your identity!
Wenches – March 4 and 5
Behind every good man is a wench in the trench. Wenches Weekend celebrates the women of the Renaissance with hourglass curves and fiery attitudes who can go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts.
Taste of FLARF (Florida Renaissance Festival) – March 11 and 12
Eat and drink your way through the Renaissance during Taste of FLARF Weekend. It’s a feast fit for a King as you indulge in foods reminiscent of the era such as hearty turkey legs, Scotch eggs, Sheppard’s Pie and an assortment of delectable desserts. Wash it all down with traditional mead and aromatic wines that you can freshly stomp yourself from the finest grapes!
Celtic – March 18 and 19
Sing and dance along to Irish, Scottish, and English tunes throughout the Shire during Celtic Weekend. Don your finest kilt while bagpipes blare. This weekend is a must for anyone who wants to embrace and celebrate their Celtic heritage!
Vikings and Barbarians – March 25 and 26
Viking and Barbarians weekend is when you and your Norwegian brothers and sisters can wave your battleaxes while covered in leather and fur, yelling with the fury of Odin. Only the strongest and most courageous warriors will make it through our final weekend!
To kick off the 25th anniversary, new entertainment has been added to the line-up including a new aerial high-wire thrill show by The Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean, jousting tournaments, a Pirates of the Caribbean meets Whose Line is it Anyway show with “The Greatest Pirate Story NEVER Told,” as well as a new street performers and musical acts to interact with.
Tickets start at $21 for adults and $9 for children ages 9 – 11. Walgreens is selling discount tickets for $17 and $8 respectively. Want to go more than one weekend? Season passes are available for $75 and include all seven weekends.