I’ve been talking about wanting to go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival for the past few years, and for some reason, just haven’t ever made a point to actually get there. We used to go as a family almost every year when I was younger, but as I grew into adulthood, I never had the kind of friends that I thought I’d have a good time with there. I’ve really come into my own in the last few years and as I’ve come closer to knowing myself I began developing friendships with people who were like minded, fun and diverse. This year I’ve told myself, no matter how busy I am, I am going to make time for the Renaissance Festival! And so I did! (Even though I waited until the day it was closing, lol)
Joining me on my journey to Harveysburg, Ohio were our friends Jimmy & Morgan (who are expecting their first baby 🙂 )and of course my adventure partner in crime, Geoff. Actually, on a technicality, we joined them, because they drove so we could carpool. Thanks Jimmy and Morgan!! Harveysburg is a village in Massie Township, Warren County, Ohio. The population was 546 at the 2010 census, so its a huge town lol. It is best known as the home of the Ohio Renaissance Festival. During the Renaissance Festival I’m pretty sure the population of Harveysburg quadruples. Ha!
We headed out around 12 on Sunday. It’s a pretty scenic drive once you get outside of Cincinnati, lots of farm land, horses and cows, pretty sky views and of course, CORN, lots and lots of corn. Actually the Ren. Fest is located smack dab between two corn fields. When you arrive, its really surprising how many cars are parked there. As soon as you see the front castle gates you can feel the excitement bubbling in you like a little kid. If you don’t get at least a little pumped, there’s probably something wrong with you. lol.
After a long walk for a quick potty break in a giant truck filled with port-o-potties (the Ren Fest’s only downfall) and a short stop at the Access Thy Money machine (ATM), we were off to explore. It’s always so neat to see all the people in costumes, people who work there and enthusiastic patrons. From young to old, most people carry the spirit of the Renaissance, even if its in a small way. There are so many interesting artisan shops to visit, even if you don’t have a huge budget for sword and corset shopping, they are pretty amazing to browse through. The artisans themselves are dressed in authentic Renaissance Era costume, and are always a source of interesting conversation, as most of them are in character. Take for example, the viking we met, who said he’s pillage me later, lol. He also taught us useful Norse phrases, and graciously posed for a picture with us! Ren Fest is an excellent place for you people watchers also, and a great place to take pictures. I personally love taking pictures of people from a distance, capturing them in a moment of enjoyment, interest, focus, etc. I took plenty of awesome pictures while I was there. I think when I go somewhere with a group they spend half the time thinking they lost me, due to me wandering around taking pictures. I always keep my free eye on the most noticeable head in my group (bald, curly hair, unique hat, etc.).
The Ohio Renaissance Festival is home to 11 stages, where performers put on over 100 shows a day. Seeing the Jousting is a must! I also am a huge fan of the hilarious Mudde Show, just wouldn’t recommend the front row if you aren’t prepared to get muddy. If you don’t mind a little mud, or a lot, I highly encourage you to sit in the front! Makes the show even better. You can watch dueling swordsmen, fire jugglers, and even listen to the music of strolling minstrels. You can visit the games section of the festival where you can throw knives at a target, tomatoes at a smack talking man in tights, or try you hand(s and feet) at the jacob’s ladder. And if all that excitement leaves you hungry there are plenty of interesting and tasty things to eat. I wont list them all here, but the thing I look forward to eating most at the Ren Fest whenever I visit are the roast turkey legs!! You can find a complete list of food stops here http://www.renfestival.com/the-event/food. Food and drink prices are actually pretty reasonable for a festival like this. I think we only spent maybe $25 on food and drinks for two people and it was enough food to fill us up. Something new that I got to see this year the end of festival Pub Sing which takes place about an hour before the festival closes for the season. I took a few video clips which I will share below with the gallery, because the music was just too awesome to not share. I think I could’ve stayed in that pub all day listening to the music, watching all the costumed festival workers and patrons raising their mugs in celebration of another successful and fun year together, but the last section of shops we hadn’t visited was beckoning Morgan, and Jimmy still hadn’t purchased his long dreamed of sword (to add to the collection of uh, a lot of other swords.) I bought a really interesting hand-made necklace, which I’m totally in love with, but I think the thing I took away from the festival that was most valuable, was the essence of the Renaissance, captured in my camera. 🙂 It makes me smile just thinking of it, and now every time I want to experience that joy again, I can look to my images for help.
If you’ve never visited the Ohio Renaissance Festival, I suggest that next year when it opens in August that you hit up your local Kroger for some discount coupons (tickets are $20 at the gate, $17 online), and make a point to go! Go in costume or go in your boring modern American clothes (going in costume is probably more fun!) but make sure you GO!! Choose from any of the themed weekends, including Pirate weekend, Barbarian weekend, Romance weekend, etc.
I’m sad the Renaissance Festival has come to a close for the year, but I’m looking forward to going next year, and who knows I might even go dressed as the gypsy I am!