HUZZAH! We’re so grateful to the AZ Renaissance Festival for hosting us at their event this past weekend. It was a packed day of fun, food, and fairytale dreams come true. My cheeks are still hurting from all the smiling and laughing we did.
This medieval event takes place every Saturday and Sunday through April 1 in a 30 acre village outside of Phoenix filled with performers, artisans, interactive games, people-powered rides and DELICIOUS food. I can’t stress enough the delicious food. Really.
Being my first festival with kids in tow, I wanted to share a few ideas on how to make the most of your visit to this 16th century celebration in the desert.
Renaissance Festival Tips
This is the absolute BEST time to visit the Renaissance Festival because for the remainder of the event kids are FREE with the purchase of an adult ticket. Purchase your adult tickets at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores to get $2 off each adult admission, then head to Cobblestone Auto Spa, Wendy’s or Hall of Frames to get coupons for your FREE kids ticket.
If you are a senior or military you can save $3 on an adult ticket my purchasing your tickets at the gate and showing your ID.
While I didn’t dress up myself, my daughter did wear a costume which made it that much more fun! Our costume of choice was a woodland fairy. We started with a dress we already had in the closet and accessorized with a few items from the Dollar Tree and Target including a green fairy skirt ($1), Fairy Wings ($1), Butterflies for her hair ($1) and a strand of flowers that were in the Easter aisle at Target.
Dressing up attracts more banter from the festival performers and Royals you’ll run into as you are exploring the grounds.
WHAT TO BRING
- Sunscreen – Despite the weather being perfectly cool, I still managed to get a sunburn right through my black hoodie. Bring sunscreen and reapply. You are in the middle of the desert after all.
- Water – They do have vendors with water, food and everything you need to get though the day, but, if you would rather spend your money on handcrafted nick knacks rather than bottles of water, bring your own.
- Cash – Lot’s of cash. The performers want tips. Your child will be distracted by every sword and fairy necklace you encounter. Every ride costs $2 – $7 and like I said… FOOD! You won’t be able to resist the chocolate dipped strawberries, caramel apples, frozen bananas, turkey legs and all the other items we devoured along the way.
- Comfortable shoes – If you wear flip flops you might be sorry. There is no avoiding the dirt and there is a LOT of walking to be done.
Festival vendors do not accept cards and while they do have ATM machines, there’s a fee to use them
- You have to find time to watch a joust. There are three throughout the day. Grab a turkey leg and head all the way back to the Tournament Arena. There are no bad seats, just bad knights. HA! Jousts are at noon, 2:30 and 5:00.
- The girls LOVED the faeries and the living mermaid! (From a mom’s perspective, the pirate next to the mermaid tank isn’t so bad himself!) These are great photo ops and the faerie has a freebie for kids. A magic marble that she pulls out of the bubbles she’s blowing! You’ll also come across faeries throughout the event that will sprinkle you with faerie dust. So magical.
- Eat a turkey leg! So, maybe 4 turkey legs was a bit much for two adults and two kids. We probably ate the equivalent of two turkey legs, but it’s just so fun to walk around with a gigantic leg you can feast on, or club someone with if they try to pick your pockets. We also shared a caramel apple, because they are literally bigger than your face.
- Pet a unicorn. What more can I say than that? Magical!
- Take in a few shows. Our favorites all included the juggling of fire and Rylie even got to participate in an act where she held a spinning plate on a stick while holding a “stick of dynamite” in her other hand with a ball spinning on top. Those dollar fairy wings were good for something!
We arrived at the festival at 10 a.m. and left at 4:30 and still missed SO MUCH! It was a blast though. I wish I could buy all the things, ride all the rides and of course eat all the food. If you can, I highly recommend coming up with a family plan ahead of time so everyone gets to see and do what they want.
At the end of the day we managed to have no whiney kids and a whole lot of magic and dust in our hair.
The Renaissance Festival has some really fun themed weekends coming up, including their favorite Time Traveler weekend which happens March 3rd and 4th. They’ll be bringing in the T.A.R.D.I.S from Dr. Who, and holding a Time Traveler contest at the Royal Pavilion where teams of Dr. Who(s), Doc & Marty, Bill & Ted, and a variety of other creative costumed characters will try their hand at winning first prize!
Be sure to check out their other themed weekends on their website at http://arizona.renfestinfo.com/special-weekend-events/