Mar 092014
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 Arizona Renaissance Festival
A medieval-themed amusement park in Gold Canyon, Arizona – weekends during February and March

A renaissance fair is a medieval-themed amusement park with costumed entertainers and attendees, theatrical acts, arts and crafts for sale, and festival food. The Arizona Renaissance Festival was my first renaissance fair experience and there was a lot to take in.

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is set on 30 acres in Gold Canyon, 40 miles east of Phoenix. Now in its twenty-sixth year, it is open Saturdays and Sundays in February and March.

Arizona Renaissance festival

The setting is an imagined English village from Elizabethan times

Arizona Renaissance Festival
Arizona Renaissance Festival

Costumed entertainers and festival workers walk the lanes. Many visitors attend in costume. Costumes are available for rent or purchase if you wish to participate.

Arizona Renaissance Festival
It is a place for princess dresses and flower hair crowns. I saw many young girls in colourful ruffled skirts.


man in stilts

Man in stilts walking the lanes

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Where else would you see a lady in a tree blowing bubbles?

Arizona Renaissance Festival rides

Medieval-themed carnival games include target shooting with crossbows, throwing tomatoes at an insulting peasant, catapulting frogs, axe throwing, and others. Rides are people-powered.

Arizona Renaissance Festival stage

Royal Pavilion Stage

Hey Nunnie Nunnie

Hey Nunnie Nunnie entertainment act, a funny counseling session with silly songs

The Arizona Renaissance Festival has 13 stage areas with almost continuous entertainment. Acts include jugglers, belly dancers, Morris dancers, musicians, hypnotists, comedy acts, whip crackers, glass blowing demonstrations, and even lady lessons on etiquette and loveliness. Miguel of Don Juan and Miguel told us many of the acts are “innuendoed”, meaning there is appeal for both children and adults. A few shows are marked on the Festival program as LC (Loose Cannon), Parental Guidance Suggested. Three jousting tournaments are held each day.


London Broil, team jugglers

handwriting analysis

You can have your fortune told, palm read, Tarot cards read, or handwriting analyzed.

Arizona Renaissance Festival artisan sample

Over 200 artisans have goods on display, available for purchase.


Arizona Renaissance Festival

I think I need one of these


Fairhaven Farm is a free petting zoo

Arizona Renaissance Festival outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchen



Arizona Renaissance Festival

Picnic tables are set up on grassy areas and under tent shelters. Food available on food kiosks includes turkey legs, chili or meatballs in a bread bowl, corn on the cob, pizza, steak on a stick, fish and chips, pasties, Scotch eggs, curry, fruit, chocolate treats, and bakery items. Drink options include beer, wine, mead, soft drinks, lattes, cappuccinos and regular coffees.

Tickets to the Arizona Renaissance Festival can be purchased at the door or in advance online. There are additional charges for games, rides, and exhibition halls. The entertainment is free, but entertainers collect donations after each show. People watching is free. Huzzah!

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Superstition Mountain makes a beautiful backdrop for the festival

Have you attended the Arizona Renaissance Festival or another renaissance festival? What did you think?

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  41 Responses to “Arizona Renaissance Festival”

  1. How fun!! Your photos are excellent and really tell the story.

  2. This looks like a terrific festival to attend. Wonderful photos, too. Definitely adding this to our travel list.

  3. Great photos! I absolutely love Renaissance Festivals — it’s on my bucket list to go in costume to one that’s close to my home. 🙂

  4. I want a broom, too! This looks like so much fun. The costumes are stunning!

  5. Fun photos! We live in Ashland, OR, which is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Elizabeth Outdoor Theater – so your photos have a very similar feel to our Elizabethan theater.

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  7. I love the photos and the story you tell. I would want to attend this event due to your narration. Great post and echoing what Paul says above, forging swords then perfoming marriages? hahaha what a paradox.

  8. I love reading historical fiction so a renaissance fair sounds like the perfect place to take my 9 year old grandson for a vacation as he’s fascinated by knights. The Arizona Renaissance Festival seems a real bargain too with lots of free happenings.

  9. What fun! A Renaissance Festival and medieval English village are not what comes to mind when I think of Arizona. Loved your photos and a look at the other side of desert life. Thank you.

  10. I love going to renaissance festivals. We have one outside of Atlanta that is pretty big. I used to go every year, but I haven’t been at all since I’ve moved back to Atlanta. I need to go this year and try one of those gigantic turkey legs.

  11. I love Renaissance Festivals! We’ve been to the one outside of Mnnpls in Shakopee and have really enjoyed it. I didn’t realize that Phoenix also had one. Tks for sharing.

  12. Very good pictures that brought life to your words. Looks like fun

  13. What a great post! I admire anyone who can tell a story with so few words. And it really looks like damn good fun! Hope to make it there one day 🙂

  14. I haven’t been to a Renaissance festival in years. I was just in Phoenix and didn’t know it existed. We have family out there so next time we are there in February I will keep it in mind

  15. hello; when i was in high school our scout troop went to th houston festival for the day. it was a crazy place. my favorite games were the archery and one that resembled an oversized pillow fight. its held in september and october here. I imagine that given the costume they probably try to avoid really hot weather. thanks for sharing your experience. Take care, max

  16. I’ve only been to one Renaissance festival, but I loved everything about it. I went to the one that’s held outside of Charlotte, NC. Now that I’ve moved back to Idaho, it will probably be awhile before I get to go to another one again. My favorite part was the jousting. It gave me so many ideas for lesson plans on teaching Arthurian Lore, only I’m not in the classroom anymore…

  17. I have never been to one of these. I have always been a fan of the Renaissance. I think it’s all the great costumes… LOL. I feel like I was there through your pictures. It looks like a really fun event. I need to think about going to one around where I live.

  18. Looks like a fun experience. It certainly is photogenic!

  19. Had no idea such a place existed in AZ! What a fun post – great photos and most informative. Thanks for alerting us to its existence.

  20. I have enjoyed the view of Superstition mountain. I guess we need to add this event to our bucket list. I’ve been making children’s costumes for children for a few years now and this would be a chance to make/wear some fun costumes to this event.

    • Hi Neva. I love the view of the Superstition Mountains. There are in the background of a number of things I visit in the area. I do not sew and would not make any costumes of my own, but it would be a fun thing to do if I could. It would be fun to do that and take the children in your life to the festival.

  21. this looks like great fun. I have been to couple of others but not this one. Fabulous pictures you shared.

  22. We attended a Renaissance faire outside Chicago once. I’m a serious recorder player (took lessons through high school), so I always enjoy the Renaissance music. Nice “you are there” photos.

  23. Donna,
    Its been years since we attended one of the Renaissance fire’s in Texas. Your post brought back many memories and made me want to go to one again. They are quite fun! Thanks for jogging my memory!.

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