Visiting the Arizona Renaissance Festival
Arizona Renaissance Festival – We have never been to a Renaissance Festival, and therefore had no idea what to expect. Several of our friends inquired as to whether we were going to dress up for the event. That comment made we wonder what I might be getting myself into. Nonetheless, the photographer in me saw this as the opportunity to be presented with an unusual display of costume, color, and a myriad of photographic opportunities.
The Arizona Renaissance Festival is located in the town of Apache Junction, which is roughly an hour drive from east side Greater Phoenix locations. Here are a few fun facts:
- this is the 22nd year for the festival, and is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation.
- there are nearly 2,000 costumed characters, 12 stages with non-stop entertainment, and a 4,500-seat arena to watch armored knights joust.
- this 30 acre festival includes over 200 rustic shops, studios and galleries filled with unique arts, crafts, plus kitchens, pubs, games, and people-powered rides.
- the festival is open Saturdays, Sundays, and Presidents Day, February 6th thru March 28th.
- each day’s events begin with a 9:45 pre-opening gate performance, a 10:00 cannon shot, and ends with a faire-thee-well medley at 6:00.
I was taken by surprise with the long line of cars to get into this event, the massive parking lot full of cars, and the immensity of this place. You could easily spend an entire day here, and perhaps not see everything there is to see.
Overall, we had a wonderful time, enjoyed the spectacle of it all, and in particular I enjoyed seeing some of the small children all dressed up, wandering around with wide-eyed glee. In some ways, it felt like a 16th century European Disneyland.
If you are looking for something totally different, and would enjoy a little raucous revelry, then the Arizona Renaissance Festival just might be your ticket. The only caution I would through out to parents is that some of the offerings in this event are clearly PG-13.
Here are a few of my photographs from the event: