Its hard to imagine that where we live is about 7.5 miles away from the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Yet we have never been to it as a family. Yearly, starting in October it seems like we have something to do every weekend through March. This means that getting the opportunity to go out to the Renaissance Festival rarely happens.
However this year we wanted to make sure that we went. Taking small kids in a stroller on uneven ground didn't seem appealing, however now that our kids are older they can enjoy it. Walking into the park we were met with characters galore. We even came across Gandalf the Grey.
We were met by a lady passing out maps of the land. Since I had never been there before I was skeptical that we would need a map. Boy was I wrong. This place was massive. The people inside were absolutely brilliant. From their costumes all the way down to the food was excellent.
As we continued into the park we heard the sound of music and the pitter patter of feet. That could only mean one thing: Dancing.
There seemed to be people dancing everywhere and they were great.
Continuing down the path we were met by the sweetest fairy there Juniper The Fairy. My boys loved Juniper and her playfulness.
Walking down the path we saw numerous shops selling hand made goods from pottery, glassware, kilts, swords and more. At this point I thought we were done with the Festival but I was very wrong.
Its been many years since I've shot a bow and arrow. Like I can't remember the last time I did. However, it took all of about 5 minutes of being at the Renaissance Festival for my boys to find the bow and arrows and want to shoot them. Secretly, I wanted to shoot them too. There's something about holding a weapon that seems dangerous, powerful and amazing. My boys had no idea the excitement I had. Paying the lady, we grabbed 15 arrows and moved to our booths where the bows were.
Instructing them to hold the bow on the grip, then place the arrow on the top of the grip and inserting the nock into the string, pull back and let 'er fly. Owen's first shot landed on the target, followed by Ethan's. Of course I had to get a shot or two in (as well as my wife).
Right beside the bow and arrow booth was a hammer toss booth. Figuring I could do that pretty easily I thought, "This is easy." Boy was I wrong. As you can see in the video below, I had to ask what to do first and then I swung away.
Taking a right down the path we discovered two things: The arena for the jousting (more on that below) and the petting zoo area. As you can see in the video below, my youngest son Owen is petting as many animals as possible. There were ducks, cows, goats, and even a deer.
About 20 minutes later (it seemed like) we were done with the animals and we were on to learn about some of the armor people wore during the Renaissance time period. Below is a picture of me in some replica armor (minus the sword because they wouldn't let me hold it)
Surprisingly enough, mixing a humid day with armor probably wasn't something I should have done. Man it was sweaty in there.
Taking the armor off, I needed a drink and to sit down. Moving down the last path of the festival, with drink and kids in hand, we came across the belly dancers. I won't talk about them, let me show you.
These ladies were sweating more then I was. They were incredible.
As I mentioned earlier, there were plenty of booths that had knives and swords. However, if you've been to our house, you know we have lots of swords and nerf guns. So naturally we needed something different. Insert the catapult. Yes you read that right. We got catapults, very tiny catapults that shoot marshmallows, pom poms and other small items. They are safe to use for kids, since an adult has to tighten them up to go further (which we won't) (yet).
Here you see my oldest son Ethan, checking out the catapult assortments and figuring out which one he was going to get. The triangular ones that you see next to him on the left are the ones we got.
Walking around my 4 month pregnant wife and kids in tow made all of us hungry. Finally figuring out what we wanted to eat, we sat down for lunch. I had a ginormous turkey leg, my wife had some beef stew in a bread bowl, and the kids had a meatball sandwich. Lets just say it was messy and delicious.
I would say that this was the highlight of our day, as this was something that I had been waiting to see since we arrived. We were a few minutes late because of eating lunch, but we quickly made out way down to our seats.
After listening to the rules and how the points were going to be scored, let the jousting begin.
Once the jousting was completed, our day was done. We were exhausted, sweaty and sticky. But we had a great day of learning, fun and food. I would highly recommend going to the Carolina Renaissance Festival or any Renaissance Festival you can. It was a blast, family friendly, the people in costumes preserved the history and made it come alive.
We will definitely be coming back again.
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