HUNTERSVILLE — Located just north of Charlotte is a village where imagination, fantasy and history come to life. It is a place where adults can feel and act like children while children are treated as royalty. It is a magical realm where you will forget about your daily cares.
It is the 16th century story-book village of Fairhaven, a peaceful shire filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs nestled amongst 245 acres of beautiful fall forest. It is within the village walls where pleasure and celebration rule the day as villagers, artists, craftspeople, musicians, performance troupes and food vendors have all gathered together to create a marketplace festival in celebration of the arrival of their visiting Queen.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace will operate eight consecutive Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 5 through Nov. 24.
With trumpets blaring and cannon blasting, The Lord Mayor orders the gates of Fairhaven to swing open at 10 a.m. and close at dusk. The day is filled with an abundance of attractions appropriate for all age groups, presented upon 14 stages, each packed with a unique mix of continuous music, dance, comedy shows and circus entertainment.
The entertainment also takes place right in front of you within the village streets as a costumed cast of medieval commoners, knights and royalty celebrate a 16th century day of play. Part of the experience is interacting with the colorful characters roaming the village, creating an interactive street theater. Take audience with the Queen or mingle with peasants who endlessly proclaim … “Hip Hip Huzzah!”
The royal falconer will don his hunting garb and take you on a thrilling trip into the past explaining and demonstrating the use of falcons, hawks and owls in the ancient sport of falconry. Listen to fascinating bits of history delivered while a hawk flies overhead in a simulated hunt displaying the skills that enraptured nobles long ago and made falconry the sport of kings.
The Renaissance Festival wouldn’t be complete without the joust. Occurring three times daily, knights strap on heavy suits of armor and mount two tons of snorting steeds. With plumes waving and chain mail clanking, they take up their lances and charge at one another in tilt. Shattering lances, clashing swords and daring deeds of bravery all collide into a realistic recreation of a joust to the death – all for the queen’s amusement.
From gallant knights to the marvels of the vast ocean, the Lord Mayor outdoes himself once again in a bid for the Queen’s favor with a personal gift – the return of the living mermaids. The sirens frolic about in a 3,000-gallon aquarium.
Lady Alice of Wonderland and Lady Wendy of Neverland visit Fairhaven to share amazing tales of science and adventure. Pirouette the Magical Dancer ventures out of her musical magic box to dance and delight. And if you are lucky, she might just reach right into the sky and gift you a magical star of your very own.
Action & Adventure
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is home to a most unusual collection of people-powered rides and games of skill. Inspired by the joust? Try your skill with a lance on the Slider Joust challenge game. You can storm the castle in a paintball battle or try to solve the riddle of climbing Jacob’s Ladder. Mix skillful pleasure and comic adventure by throwing tomatoes at the insulting fools locked in the stocks at Vegetable Justice. Test your skill at games like the Dragon Climbing Tower, the Archery Range and the Maze. Fly high into the sky on the Pirate’s Assault Catapult. Take a ride on Christopher Columbus’ Voyage to the New World, the Piccolo Pony (a rocking horse bigger than an elephant), and Leonardo’s Flying Machine; a people-powered amusement ride based on Di Vinci’s designs for human flight. A family favorite is Mother (and Father) Goose brought to life with their costumed ducks and geese, the petting farm and camel rides.
Early holiday, shoppers can peruse over 140 craft shops in an open-air village market which provides a diverse selection of handmade items, such as pottery, jewelry, perfume, glass-blown ornaments, ceramics, bath & body products, medieval costumes, hand-carved candles, unique musical instruments, children’s toys and a full spectrum of clothing.
Watch artisans make a masterpiece before your eyes. Enjoy demonstrations of fine skills such as weaving, woodcarving, blacksmithing, glassblowing, pottery and jewelry making – all through the use of ancient skills and low technology. Be your own artisan. Learn to blacksmith and create your own souvenir at the new Dragon Forge.
Village kitchens cook up an endless feast of bread bowl stews, steak-on-a-stake, gourmet sausages and giant roasted turkey legs. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available. For dessert, try the fresh crepes, the cakes and cookies from the Monks Bakery, candy delights from the Chocolate Shoppe, Italian ice, gelato and a favorite among renaissance wanderers: a bag of cinnamon-roasted almonds. Festival pubs offer a wide variety of craft beer, wine, champagne, ale, honey mead, soft drinks, Medieval Margaritas and the new Friar Puck’s Premium Lemonade.
When you go:
What: The 26th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival
Where: Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85), between Concord and Huntersville
When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 5 through Nov. 24
Advance Discount Tickets: $25 for adults, $15 for kids ages 5 to 12
www.RenFestInfo.com or 704-896-5555