We took a day to escape from reality and attend the 24th Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival east of Mesa. The Arizona Renaissance Festival is one of the largest of the Renaissance events in the nation because it is really five Festivals all rolled into a giant, costumed village with 12 Stages of Continuous Live Entertainment, Outdoor Circus, Medieval Arts & Crafts Fair, A Jousting Tournament with 3 performances a day and a day-long Feast.
There were 18 of us that met there. We saw some more than others because… let’s face it… it’s pretty hard to keep 18 people together in one place with thousands of festival goers! Our group consisted of me and Terry, Brittany, Lara and their friend, Katie. Our older 3 kids also went. Melody and Amber plus a couple of their friends, Jodi and Angela. Tyler and his wife Sharon came, along with another couple Shadd and Nadine. And from out-of-town, there was Terry’s first wife, Connie, and her husband, Larkin, plus Connie’s daughter Amy, her fiance Ricky and their friend! Wow! That’s a mouthful to get through!!! I didn’t get pictures of everyone but got what I could! The only 2 people who weren’t there were Melody’s boyfriend, Brian…. it’s just not something he enjoys. And Travis was in Mexico with YoungLife on a mission project building homes!
We did a lot of shopping in in the village marketplace with over 200 shops offering unique hand made items such as blown glass, leather goods, costumes, jewelry. For many of them, they work on their crafts so you can watch them. There are hundreds of people dressed in costumes of the times. It’s fun to see all the different colors and outfits! Some are very formal, like for Royalty (King, Queen, Prince, etc), some are simple, like what the “common people” wore, and some are for the “entertainers” like court jesters, knights, and dancers. There are so many food booths, you almost can’t choose what to get to eat! Our son Tyler believes the festival is what he “eats his way through”! He likes to try everything! There are mostly finger foods…after all…it’s the Medieval times! One of the most popular items is a big turkey drumstick! It’s so funny to see people walking around holding the turkey drumsticks that are as big as their fist! They are definitely big enough for 2 people to share!
The entertainment is the biggest attraction. There are so many shows to see. With all the different stages, there are shows scheduled about every 45-minutes to an hour! There is everything from dancing to singing to juggling to comedy to animal acts! Such a great variety… and always a lot of fun and laughing!
Brittany and her friend Katie got a Henna tattoo on their arms. They will last for about 3 weeks and were $15-$20. Amber, Amy and Ricky got their hair braided for about $15 and Amber got a head dress made of feathers and ribbons.
The Jousting Tournament was fun! There’s a big arena that seats a thousand or so people. Each section cheers for a different knight for the tournament. We were in the Blue & Silver section. when our knight did will in his ride, we would cheer. When others would do well, we would boo! It’s so funny to see the crowd get into it!
The Petting Zoo was… well… a petting zoo! But the girls just had to go inside to see the animals! There were baby pigs, baby sheep, puppies, chicks, horses, geese! The teen girls had as much fun as the small children… it think! LOL
And the highlight of the trip… at least for the teenage girls in our group… was the Prince of the Festival! He was, of course, tall, dark and handsome! We snapped some pictures of him with Brittany, Katie and Lara on the way in. And on the way out, we got pictures of him bidding them farewell with a kiss on the hand! I don’t think they will ever wash their hand again! They were giddy about the whole thing!
Overall, a great time with family and friends, a great way to get outdoors in the fresh air and a great escape from reality…at least for a few hours! Enjoy the pictures!!!!