Arizona Renaissance Festival

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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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43 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  13. 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

    1. 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.