Huntersville, NC – Located just north of Charlotte, NC is a village where imagination,
fantasy, and history burst to life. It is a place where adults can feel and act like children while children are treated as royalty. It is a magical realm where you will forget about your daily cares and enjoy the magic of a simpler time and place. It is the Carolina
Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace.
Introduced to the Charlotte area in 1994, the Carolina Renaissance Festival and Artisan
Marketplace contained just six acres of village attractions. Now, the event has grown to
become one of the largest renaissance themed events in the country as well as one of the
largest attractions in the Carolinas.
Operating 7 consecutive Saturdays and Sundays in October and November, the 22-acre
tree-lined Renaissance Festival village is nestled amongst 245 acres of beautiful forest
coated in autumn colors. A perfect setting for a fictional, story-book renaissance village
filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, all with simulated architecture
and design of a 16th century European village. A fictional village called Fairhaven – a
peaceful shire where pleasure and celebration rules the day.
It is within the walls of Fairhaven that villagers, artists, crafts-people, musicians,
performance troupes and food vendors have gathered together to create a marketplace
festival in celebration for the arrival of their visiting King and Queen.
With trumpets blaring and cannon blasting, the gates of Fairhaven swing open at 10:00
am and close at dusk. The day is filled with an abundance of attractions appropriate for
all age groups, including 11 stages, each packed with a unique mix of continuous music,
dance, comedy shows, and circus entertainments. From sword swallowing to one-of-akind
old world musical instruments, the entertainment options are endless. The shows
are always spontaneous, and you can take part in the action if you wish – or sit back and
enjoy watching the audience volunteers who make a spectacle of themselves. You will
never know what happens next, on stage or off.
One of the special features of the Carolina Renaissance Festival is that the entertainment
is not confined to the stage. The fun takes place right in front of you on the streets of
Fairhaven Village, as a costumed cast of 300 medieval commoners, knights, and royalty
celebrates a 16th century day of play. Part of the Renaissance experience is meeting and
interacting with the colorful characters roaming the village, creating an interactive street
theater. Musical fairies and lively woodland sprites embody childlike innocence. Close
up magicians amaze and amuse. Wonderful statuary comes to life. There is even a
walking tree! You can take audience with the King and Queen, or mingle with the mud covered peasants who endlessly proclaim… “Welcome to the greatest show in Earth!
Huzzah!” Outrageously unpredictable and unstoppably hilarious, the Carolina
Renaissance Festival blends the comedy of Monty Python with the mythology of The
Lord of the Rings.
One would be remissed without mentioning the incredible array of live musical
performances – many of which are accompanied by ethnic dance influenced by Ireland,
Scotland, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Ancient old world instruments such as the
hurdy gurdy, hammered dulcimer, penny whistle, along with classical guitar ensembles
and gentle harp music all fill the lanes of the village. Even scurrrvy pirates and old Irish
folk songs have a home with adventure filled ballads that make you sing and shout along
- all part and parcel of the Festival day.
In addition to the non-stop schedule of entertainment, you cannot miss the birds of prey
exhibition where the royal falconer will don his hunting garb and take you on a thrilling
trip into the past explaining and demonstrating the use of falcons, hawks, owls and more
in the ancient sport of falconry! Listen to fascinating bits of history delivered while a
hawk flies overhead in a simulated hunt displaying the unique skills that enraptured
nobles long ago and made falconry the sport of kings. It is both educational and awe
inspiring as you learn about the popularity of falconry in the renaissance while watching
a falcon dive at over 100 miles an hour!
A modern recreation of the Renaissance era wouldn’t be complete without a depiction of
one of the grandest events of the time period – the tournament Joust! Easily the Carolina
Renaissance Festival’s most popular attraction, the joust is full of pomp, pageantry, and
chivalry. Three times daily, noble Knights strap on the heavy suits of armor and mount
two tons of snorting steeds. With plumes waving and chain mail clanking, they take up
their lances and charge at one another in tilt. Shattering lances, clashing swords, and
daring deeds of bravery all collide into a realistic recreation of a joust to the death!
These Knights (actually stunt riders and actors) battle inside the village on a large tournament field in a 2,000 seat arena. Adults and children alike can join in the fun and cheer their favorite knight with creative and sarcastic chants taught by the Fairhaven rabble rousers!
Games & Rides
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is home to plenty of activities for children including a
most unusual collection of people powered rides and games of skill. Inspired by the
joust? Try your skill with a lance on the Slider Joust challenge game. You can storm the
castle in a paintball battle or try to solve the riddle of climbing Jacob’s Ladder. Mix
skillful pleasure and comic adventure by throwing tomatoes at the insulting fools locked
in the stocks at Vegetable Justice. Test your skill at games like the Dragon Climbing
Tower, the Archery Range, and the Maze. Fly high into the sky on the Pirate's Assault
Catapult. Take a ride on Christopher Columbus’ Voyage to the New World, the Piccolo
Pony (a rocking horse bigger than an elephant), and Leonardo’s Flying Machine; a people
powered amusement ride based on Di Vinci’s designs for human flight. A family favorite is Mother (and Father) Goose brought to life with their costumed ducks and geese, the Petting Farm, and Camel and Elephant Rides.
Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, put the Carolina Renaissance Festival on
your Halloween list of things to do with free event admission for all children 12 and
under, with free tricks & treats to be found all around the Festival village, and a
Halloween Treasure Hunt with prizes! Children are encouraged to show off their
Halloween costumes and enter the Halloween Costume Contest!
In addition, the Renaissance Festival is a great place to buy your Halloween costume or
accessories. Early holiday shoppers can peruse over 100 craft shops in an open-air
village market which provides a diverse selection of handmade items such as pottery,
jewelry, perfume, glass blown ornaments, ceramics, bath & body products, medieval
costumes, hand carved candles, unique musical instruments, children’s toys, a full
spectrum of clothing, and much more. You can even create your own special gift at the
raku pottery booth.
Housed in rows of storybook shops and medieval style tents, you can watch artisans
make a masterpiece right before your eyes. Enjoy demonstrations of fine skills such as
weaving, woodcarving, blacksmithing, glassblowing, pottery, and jewelry making – all
through the use of ancient skills and low technology.
Did you work up an appetite perusing all the shops and enjoying all the entertainment?
Well you will be pleased to know that the food is as spectacular as all the attractions. In
addition to the shows, music, crafts, and the wonder of getting lost in another time,
people visit the Carolina Renaissance Festival for the food as well. Village kitchens cook
up an endless feast of bread bowl stews, steak-on-a-stake, gourmet sausages, and the
festival’s famous giant roasted turkey legs. For dessert, try the fresh crepes, the cakes
and cookies from the Monks Bakery, candy delights from the Chocolate Shoppe, Italian
ice, gelato, and a favorite of all renaissance wanderers: a bag of cinnamon-roasted
almonds. Festival pubs soft drinks, a wide variety of craft beer, wine, champagne, ale,
honey mead, lemonade and Medieval Margaritas to compliment the day-long feast of
hearty foods fit for royalty.
Each year the Carolina Renaissance Festival adds new entertainment and new facilities
making it the fall destination for quality entertainment in the Carolinas. And for visitor
convenience, the Festival has embraced modern times. In addition to purchasing
advanced discount tickets at Harris Teeter grocery stores region-wide, visitors can now
print their own tickets in advance on the Festival’s website at RenFestInfo.com.
So bust out your sense of good cheer, leave your cares behind, and take a day trip out to
the wildly popular and entertaining time machine known as the Carolina Renaissance
Festival and Artisan Market Place.
The 19th anniversary Carolina Renaissance Festival will be held weekends, Saturdays and
Sundays from October 6th through November 18th. For more event information call, toll
free; 877-896-5544, or on the web at RenFestInfo.com.
WHEN YOU GO:
What: The 19th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival.
Where: North of Charlotte between Concord and Huntersville. The Festival is located on
Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85).
When: Seven consecutive weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from October 6th through
November 18th. The Festival runs from 10:00 AM until 5:30 PM, rain or shine.
Advance Discount Tickets: $19 for adults, $9 for kids ages 5-12; available at Harris
Teeter Stores region wide. Children under 5 are always free. Tickets purchased at the gate
are $1 more, or print your own online at RenFestInfo.com. Senior (60 and over) and adult
Military discount tickets are $18 at the gate. Parking is free courtesy of Harris Teeter.
Information: Online at RenFestInfo.com, or call (704) 896-5544, toll free (877) 896-