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7 Ways to Make Your Renaissance Festival Perfect. Ren faires make excellent escapes ideal for sharing with kids and given the fact that 2017 has the potential to be an annoying year because of the non-stop fake news and bizare antics of elected officials, escaping for a day seems appropriate.  Arizona Renaissance Festival Dance Line

I recommend parents and grandparents seize the opportunity to be carefree and maybe just a little silly, and create your family’s own game of pretend. The point is to escape the modern world, if only for a short while, so I suggest turning off cell phones unless of course you might be expecting a text from Robin Hood live from 1248 or and Instagram for Will Shakespeare’s side kick.Bristol Renaissance Faire Children s Games Family Travel Files
1. Prepare to create a family story. Renaissance faires and Celtic festivals welcome kids of all ages to engage in imagining life in another time and place so it is the perfect opportunity to roll play actively imagining another time and another way of life. From performances and human-powered rides on dragons and war horses to sword play, archery and face painting opportunities to weave your own story will certainly present themselves. Before trudging of the faire it always helps to prep your children with stories of the time so they have their own tools for imagining. 

On my bookshelf The Kitchen Knight: A Tale of King Arthur by Margaret Hodges (Author), Trina Schart Hyman (Illustrator); Shakespeare for Kids, His Life and Times: 21 Activities by Colleen Aagesen and Margie Blumberg; A Medieval Feast a Reading Rainbow Book by Aliki; King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood (Author), Don Wood (Illustrator). One of the best online resources I have found is where the book lists are arranged by age group. 

2. Pretend with your kids for a day. The fun of any fair experience will be increased if you dress and act as if part of Renaissance life – young princes and princesses, jesters and knights are all welcome. Generally fairs run for a series of consecutive themed weekends making each experience unique. Bonus Points: Every weekend will include the appearance of the royal court, and jousting is one of the most popular events. Watch as knights on well trained horses recreate competitions of skill and chivalry for court favors. Here’s the deal! Many Ren faires offer discounts at the gate for patrons who arrive in costume.

3. Talk like a citizen of the shire. Part of the fun of make believe is practicing the customs and language of the time. Young boys would be called lad, or young lad; little girls would be called little lady or little lass. For useful words to share with your kids, try these: “good morrow” (good day), “How art thou?” (How are you?), “I shall see you anon.” (See you later.), “prithee” (please), “fare-thee-well” (goodbye), “I thank thee.” (thank you). Bowing and curtseying are definitely in vogue. Northern California Renaissance Faire Happy Child

4. Enjoy unusual rides and authentic games.
No two Ren faires will offer the same activities but you can expect to encounter uniqueness, with everything from human-powered dragon flights and swan slides to pony, camel, and elephant rides. It is often possible to practice with a bow and arrow or engage in make believe swordplay. Enchanted mazes and organized quests are popular and you can almost always find a living chess game something Harry Potter fans will enjoy. 

5. The play’s the thing. All faires have an assortment of staged performances presented by trained actors or comedians. There are storytellers, strolling bards, musicians, jesters, and puppeteers providing daily entertainment. Most of the time, the staged performances are included with general admission. Bonus Points: In addition to the staged activity strolling musicians and magicians mingle among the fair patrons providing impromptu entertainment, conversations, jokes and gentle mockery. It is all about screen-free fun.Tampa bay Area Renaissance Festival Complete Fool Family Travel Files
6. Shopping is part of the entertainment.  The artisans who populate Ren faires and Celtic festivals offer unique, top quality products. From fun and fanciful to practical and timeless, the shopping will be rewarding. It’s the place to purchase a fairy garland or a wooden sword; a place to find awesome hand-crafted sandals or amazing shoulder puppets; find hand-blown glassware and delightful things of pewter. I still have a psaltry and a lute each purchased from craftsmen at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. All along the way you will learn a little more about the 16th century watching basket weaving, blacksmithing, jewelry making, pottery making, leather crafting, wood carving, and music making.  

7. Before forks there were fingers. Faire food is always a treat. But pack the clean wipes because it’s all about finger foods, even things that normally would not be considered finger food. From sugary, cinnamon roasted almonds and apple fry cakes to Scotch eggs, bread bowls and giant turkey legs, it’s all delicious and fun to eat. You’ll also find tasty lemonade, sweet root beer, micro beer, and wine. 

Renaissance Faires for FamiliesFor a little extra inspiration I have also outlined details about some of the best Renaissance festivals and Ren faires in North America. For simplicity the festivals have been posted by geographic area. It is my no means a complete list but will serve a as a starting point for inspiration. To find a renaissance festival or Ren faire near your home base one of the best resources to use is

Content and opinions posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files with images courtesy Lompoc, California Renaissance Faire, Arizona Renaissance Festival, and Family Travel Files. Copyright 2017. 

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