Arizona Renaissance Festival

March 9, 2014
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Arizona Renaissance Fair in Gold Canyon
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 setting is an imagined English village in Elizabethan times (that’s the time of Queen Elizabeth I, not the current Queen Elizabeth). Costumed entertainers and festival workers walk the lanes. It is a place for princess dresses and flower hair crowns. I saw many young girls in colourful ruffled skirts. Many adults also attend in costume.

Costume rental at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Costumes are available for rent or purchase if you wish to participate.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

The Queen makes her rounds

Man in stilts at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Man in stilts walking the lanes

Games at the Arizona Renaissance Festival

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

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.

Entertainment at Arizona Renaissance Festival

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

Team fire jugglers at Arizona Renaissance Festival

London Broil, team jugglers

Arizona Renaissance Festival

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

Arizona Renaissance Festival

I might just need one of these

Fairhaven Farm petting zoo at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Fairhaven Farm is a free petting zoo

Over 200 artisans have goods on display and available for purchase. Scenes of life from “olden times” fill one part of the festival area.

Outdoor kitchen at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Outdoor kitchen

Blacksmith at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Blacksmith

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.

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Its feels like no surprise to see a gypsy-like woman up in a tree blowing bubbles

Jousting arena at Arizona Renaissance Festival

Superstition Mountains make a good backdrop for the jousting arena

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is set on 30 acres in Gold Canyon, 40 miles east of Phoenix. It is open Saturdays and Sundays in February and March. 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!

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  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    March 10, 2014 at 9:43 am

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

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Marilyn.

  • Reply
    Viv
    March 10, 2014 at 11:57 am

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

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

      It was my first time at a Renaissance festival. There was so much to see I didn’t know which way to look.

  • Reply
    Patti Morrow
    March 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    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. 🙂

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Going to the festival in costume would be fun.

  • Reply
    Nancie
    March 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm

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

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

      The costumes are amazing. People watching is fun.

  • Reply
    Patti
    March 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Welli
    March 11, 2014 at 3:36 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Welli
    March 11, 2014 at 3:38 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:04 am

      There were lots of funny signs and amusing things to see at the festival.

  • Reply
    A Taste for Travel
    March 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

      If he’s fascinated with knights, he might enjoy the jousting show. We didn’t get to see it this time, busy with other things.

  • Reply
    Nancy Thompson
    March 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

      I agree that a Renaissance festival is not what you associate with the desert, but the desert landscape made an interesting backdrop for the festival.

  • Reply
    Jason Butler
    March 11, 2014 at 11:25 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      This was my first renaissance festival so it was all new to me. I didn’t try the turkey legs – looked too gigantic.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    March 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Until I did some research and visited this festival, I hand’t realized there were as much renaissance festivals in North America as there are.

  • Reply
    Jay
    March 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

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

  • Reply
    jacquie
    March 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    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 🙂

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Jacquie. The festival was fun.

  • Reply
    Arleen
    March 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 11, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      The Renaissance festival is a fun, family outing.

  • Reply
    maxwell ivey
    March 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    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

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Maxwell. I didn’t try any of the games, but I might if I go again. The archery would be interesting.

  • Reply
    JeriWB
    March 12, 2014 at 12:48 am

    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…

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      I didn’t see the jousting on this visit, so I guess I may need to visit again – maybe next year.

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper
    March 12, 2014 at 11:04 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks Susan. There was so much to see and take in at the festival, it was difficult to decide what to show and highlight in this post.

  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    March 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Looks like a fun experience. It certainly is photogenic!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Irene. Definitely an interesting place to take photographs and to people watch.

  • Reply
    Jackie and Joel Smith
    March 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      A Renaissance Festival is not what one might normally associate with Arizona. It was fun.

  • Reply
    Neva Fels
    March 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 12, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Beth Niebuhr
    March 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

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

  • Reply
    Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)
    March 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Mike
    March 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    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!.
    Mike

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    February 7, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Very cool! I didn’t know there is s Renaissance Fest in AZ. We’ve attended the one in Shakopee,MN and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      February 8, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Doreen, this was the first (and so far only) Renaissance fair I’ve attended. There was so much to see and take it! Quite a lot of fun.

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