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|Arizona Renaissance Festival Invites All Ages to Make Believe for a Day.
Step back in time to the 16th Century where knights jousting atop mighty steeds save save damsels in distress and where it is still possible to whisper to a magical faerie and talk to Mother Goose, all in one day.
The Arizona Renaissance Festival is one of our family’s favorite festivals. I can say for certain that the location in the Sonoran Desert is the perfect place for a 16th century time capsule. The royal parade is grand and the daily jousting events most believable. Jesters, bards, maidens and ladies-in-waiting move among the patrons adding an extra quality to the overall atmosphere. The village is enchanting and the shopping possibilities are exceptional from one-of-a-kind leather goods and awesome silk garments to quirky puppets and fanciful hair adornments. Because there are many benefits to attending a Renaissance festival with children
, I am passing along details about one ofthe best in the country.
Here’s the scoop. Arizona's annual Renaissance Festival is one of the largest in the nation, held on weekends in February and March in its fanciful European style village constructed on a 30-acre site just below the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix and northwest of Tucson. This is where you’ll find theater, circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament, people-powered rides, and a feasting – all rolled into a non-stop, day-long family adventure!
Time travel made easy.
Kids will cheer for their favorite knight at the 5,000 seat jousting arena or try their hand at archery. Children delight in the return of a falcon at the Falconer’s Heath. Kids also, love riding the people-powered Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, the Swan Swing, Christopher Columbus’ “Voyage to the New World”, the Slider Joust, as well as, the Piccolo Pony, a rocking horse bigger than an elephant. Interactive games like the dragon climbing tower, the castle siege, Jacobs’ Ladder, a maze and an archery range. Marvel at the acrobatic antics of Clan Tynker, feed the dragon or play “king of the log”. Bonus Points:
A Festival favorite with children is Mother (and Father) Goose brought to life with costumed ducks and geese, Maggie, Mimi and Matilda.
Shop the village market. Merchants hawk their wares, selling everything from clothing to custom ceramics. Observe in awe at the demonstrations displaying skills of blacksmithing, jewelry making, glassblowing and pottery throwing. Storybook shops line the market lanes and house more than 200 artisans presenting unique crafts and costumes and offering delightful adornments. This is the place to find a clever hat, magical wand, colorful garland, and a wooden sword with shield or perhaps purchase a pet gorgi or drabbit (dragon-rabbit). Bonus Points: It is also the perfect time and place to for face painting or sand-dragon making.
I have several favorite shops at the fair but special mention must go to a select few. Do not miss Whirlwind Magic Wands or Fairywinks for pure fun. Stopping by to see the Twisted Sisters is a must because their artful French braids are without compare. And be prepared to be tempted at Imaginarium Galleries where the drabbits are too cute to resist.
Relax share the fun of being entertained.
There are thirteen open-air stages where you can listen to raucous music and roaring comedy. Catch the swordplay and wordplay of festival favorites Don Juan and Miguel. It’s hard to miss the wild antics of The Tortuga Twins (three unrelated men in tights), and more than amusing to decipher Zilch the Tory Steller (the misspelling, like his miss-speaking is intentional). Bonus Points:
“Do not miss "Voyage to the New World”, the Slider Joust, as well as, the Piccolo Pony, a rocking horse bigger than an elephant.
Best finger food ever. A variety of food and “drynk” is available including bread bowls, stews, steak-on-a-stake, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), crepes, elephant ears, and roasted turkey legs. Sweets are offered by Monk’s Bakery, the Cappuccino Inn, or the Chocolate Shoppe. Several places serve beer, mead, Ace Pear Cider, wine, soft drynks, frozen lemonade, and fruit smoothies. Bonus Points: Roving carts offer Italian ices, cinnamon almonds, assorted jerky and baked pretzels.
Location on the planet: Arizona Renaissance Festival is east of Apache Junction on US Highway 60, near the Superstition Mountains.
Here’s the deal!
Children younger than five years of age may attend for free. Parking is free courtesy of Fry’s Food Stores. The festival website lists locations where discount coupons may be redeemed. Order on line, print your own tickets and save a dollar per ticket. More details at (520) 463-2700 or Arizona Renaissance Festival.
Wait a minute!
Don't miss a chance to have fun. If you cannot attend the Arizona Renaissance Festival this year then perhaps another one will fit your familiy's schedule. View our Renaissance Faires & Festivals
folder dedicated to showcasing the best Renaissance festivals for families.
Content and images provided by Arizona Renaissance Festival. Additional comments made by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Copyright updated 2017.