It’s my favorite season of the year: Renaissance Faire season!
The Renaissance Faire is the first chapter of Autumn for me. This year, however, it was extremely hot. And that made me start thinking about some of my top survival tips for a day at the Renaissance Faire – especially for first time visitors.
Most of these tips apply to any Renaissance Faire, but a few anecdotes may be specific to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. As it is the second largest in the country and located in a very humid climate, some of these tips may not apply to the Renaissance Faire in a smaller, colder location.
Top Survival Tips for the Renaissance Faire
1. Dress according to the weather
If you plan to dress up, make sure you look at the weather beforehand. I’ve never been during a rainstorm, but I imagine the grounds can get very muddy. And if it’s going to be hot, make sure you dress accordingly.
90% of the Renaissance Faire is outside, so you will be in the sun a lot! There are lots of shady areas, but I still recommend wearing sunscreen if you burn easily.
2. Dress up for the Renaissance Faire!
If you’re on the fence about dressing up, I definitely recommend it. Believe me, you won’t feel out of place. I’d say the ratio is 60% dressed up and 40% in regular clothes. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to go all out and buy anything either.
My first year, I wore an off-the-shoulder, lacy navy blue dress. Last year, I wore a burgundy dress that looked like something you’d see Margaery Tyrell wear. This year, I found a vintage dress in a closet at home.
3. Wear good shoes
I made the fatal mistake of wearing sandals this year. My feet didn’t hurt… but they were very dusty by the end of the day. Most Renaissance Faires are in the middle of a field, so the terrain tends to be very uneven and made completely of gravel and dirty paths. Make sure you’re wearing shoes that are comfortable and you don’t mind getting dirty.
4. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
This is probably the most important tip on the list, especially on a hot day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sensory overload of the Renaissance Faire, but make sure you’re drinking lots of water!
They sell water bottles at most food stalls, and at the Maryland Renaissance Faire they have a station for free water. Though, strangely enough the water tasted exactly like the natural spring water from Bath, England.
5. Grab a map
If your state’s Renaissance Faire is small, then you may not need a map, but you’ll definitely want to grab one for large festivals like the Maryland Renaissance Faire. The grounds are overwhelmingly large and filled to the brim with different stalls, stages, and oddly named “roads”. It’s super easy to get lost.
Pay attention to landmarks, like specific stalls or stages. And if you’re with a group, have a designated meeting spot in case you split up or someone wanders off.
6. Check showtimes when you get there
Most Renaissance Faires have a ton of shows, plays, and acts going on throughout the day. From acrobats and sword fights, to Shakespeare and jousting… there is a lot to see. If there are specific shows you know that you want to watch, look at the times when you get there and plan ahead.
For the Maryland Renaissance Faire, there are boards located by each stage with a list of shows and times. And on the map there is a full schedule printed for the various shows happening that day.
Top Tip: Jousting fills up very fast, so I recommend getting there at least 30-40 minutes before the show begins.
7. Bring cash
Most vendors only take cash! They do have ATMs on the grounds, but the lines get very backed up, so make sure you get cash ahead of time to bring with you.
8. Buy your Renaissance Faire ticket online
Another way to avoid the Renaissance Faire lines? Buy your ticket online, print it, and skip the lines completely!
9. Get there early or stay late
The Renaissance Faire is very popular and crowded on most days.
The crowds are the worst during the middle of the day, so if you want to enjoy the festival with less of a crowd, arrive when it opens or stay to closing. Or, if you’re up for it, stay all day long!
I’ve never gotten there earlier than 11AM, but by the time it’s 6PM, the crowds have significantly decreased and the atmosphere is lovely. It feels more authentic and magical when it’s less crowded.
10. Buy a flower crown – you won’t regret it.
A flower crown is definitely my #1 recommendation for purchases at the Renaissance Faire. They’re beautifully made, last a lifetime, and can be worn again or hang decoratively in your room.
There are so many amazing artists and vendors that set up shop at the Renaissance Faire. If you see something you love, buy it! Everything is so unique, and you won’t find the same type of craftsmanship elsewhere.
Travel back in time for the day and enjoy the magic! And if you want know more about the Renaissance Faire, check out posts about my first visit and second visit.
Excelsior! Onward & Upward,
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