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Mid Atlantic Best Renaissance Festivals and Ren Faires for Family Fun and Learning.Renaissance Family Humour Locate a Ren faire and share the fun with your kids encountering knights, royal maidens, bards, wizards and perhaps a pixie or two, all in one place on the same day in an atmosphere punctuated by entertainment and living history moments creating an experience that is pure fun.  

Here’s the scoop.  Stepping away from the 21st century for a day is easy when you locate a Renaissance festivals or Ren faire where the time-travel destination is Renaissance Europe and very often Elizabethan England. Attending a faire or festival is about letting go for a bit and indulging in pretend with your kids for a day. I have identified several great places in the mid-Atlantic area where it’s easy to share the fun with your children.
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Royalty, musicians, and a flying dragon (weekends from the end of August to mid-October). Maryland Renaissance Festival Castle EntranceStroll the forest pathways through Revel Grove and become immersed in a magical time with knights and maidens, bards and jesters, pageantry and songs. Royal parades and jousting take place each day of the festival adding to the drama and uniquely themed weekends offer fair goers variety from pirate encounters to Celtic traditions. For kids there’s a jousting school, pony rides, climbing wall, an awesome dragon’s maze, and a play area for tykes complete with a pirate ship. The artisan’s marketplace features uncommon goods including face-casting by Masquerade, beautiful flower hair garlands, delightful costumes from Moresca, and magical dolls and marionettes from one of my favorite artisans - Dragon Wings. Bonus Points: The Pumpkin Theatre of Baltimore will perform their show –“Three Little Tales” and create interactive family experience.  Wait for it! To make any visit more magical there is a costume rental booth just inside the entrance of the fair. Details: 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.  Toll-free 1-800-296-7304, (410) 266-7304 or  
Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival – Knights, dragons, and a carillon of bells (weekends end of August to the end of September). Watch King Henry and Queen Katherine’s arrival at the castle; sing along with Irish troubadours; enjoy human-powered rides and games of skill; listen to master storyteller Temujin Ekunfeo. Three jousting competitions will be presented daily featuring acts of valor, combat skills and chivalry in action. The marketplace showcases the works of more than 100 artisans and the music of the carillon bells adds an extra special element to the atmosphere. Bonus Points: Labor Day weekend is dedicated to petite maidens and young lads with special activities including contests, a Royal Quest, knighting ceremonies and photos with royalty. Here’s the deal! During Labor Day weekend children 12 years of age and younger may enjoy the Festival for free when attending with a paying adult. Wait for it! Make use of 21st century technology and scan the QR code from the website for a live map with personal directions. Details: 112 Renaissance Lane, West Newton, Pennsylvania 15089. (724) 872-1670 or  Ren Fest Human Powered Ride
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire – Jousting, archers, and treasure hunts (weekends August to the end of October). Time travel to the 35-acre shire of Mount Hope in the year of 1588 and be prepared to participate in the mirth and merriment.  Each of the 13 weekends presents different supported by bards, minstrels, mimes, knights, archers, ladies, faerie folk maidens, artisans, and almost two dozen royal kitchens. Investigate the unique puppets offered by Imaginarium Galleries; checkout the fanciful costumes for children at Wee Dragon; find the perfect wand at Ye Olde Wizards and Dragons. Bonus Points: Activities for young children include cake with the queen, treasure hunts, potato races, archery demonstrations, aviary encounter, a pirate swing, an amazing maze, gem mining, and meeting a beekeeper with a bee hive. Wait for it!  October in the shire includes spooky stuff for all ages plus Trick-or-Treating in the Shire with the nipperkins (youngest guests) invited to perform tricks to collect treats. Here’s the deal! Two ways to save – wear a costume or arrive after 5 pm and still have time for the Ultimate Joust and the Finale in Song. Details: On the grounds of Mount Hope Estate 2775 Lebanon Rd., Manheim, PA.  Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Content and comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images for MD Faire from Nancy Nelson-Duac with additional iFTF files. Copyright updated 2018.

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