Leave your table manners at home!
With Labor Day comes the return of one of the region’s most adored fall festivals: The Ohio Renaissance Festival.
This festival will transport you back to the 16th Century in an English village with knights, jousts, swordsmen, pirates, nobles, peasants and jugglers walking past you in timely costumes.
The 29th annual Ohio Renaissance Festival runs Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Monday for nine weekends — Sept. 1 through Oct. 28.
>> PHOTOS: Ohio Renaissance Festival 2017
WHAT’S NEW IN 2018
MooNiE the Magnif’Cent: This silent comedy show, performed by actor Philip Earl Johnson (a.k.a. MooNiE), involves juggling, balancing, a little magic, and a lot of audience participation.
Shipwrecked Stage: The festival has cut the pirate ship in half and turned it into a stage, where it will host several special guests throughout the festival’s run.
Whiskey Tastings: For the 21+ patrons, obviously, Henry’s Hideaway will hold daily whiskey tastings consisting of five premium whiskeys and instruction.
Here are 5 MORE things to know and love about the Renaissance Festival:
1. FUN THEMED WEEKENDS
This 30-acre permanent village has been authentically and historically re-created in the flavor of 16th Century England and has special promotions each weekend.
Family & Friends Weekend: For Labor Day weekend, adults can get two admission tickets for the price of one (Sept. 1-3)
Time Traveler’s Weekend: Dress up as a character from your favorite movie, TV show, comic book, or any kind of sci-fi/fantasy work and get in for $15.72. There’ll be a costume contest, too. (Sept. 8-9)
Pirate’s Weekend: Pirates invade the village with such attractions as the Pirate Stunt Show and Pirate Play Time. Adults and kids can also enter the “Talk Like A Pirate” contest. (Sept. 15-16)
Fantasy Weekend: Don some fantasy finery and join the witches and fairies of the village. There’ll be a fantasy costume contest as well. (Sept. 22-23)
Feast of Fools: The village would be full of various types of fools. The feast includes the Fool Olympics and King of Fools contest. (Sept. 29-30)
Highland Weekend: The village will celebrate Scottish heritage by hosting a haggis eating contest, traditional highlander games, and a knobby knees contest. Albannach, an internationally touring traditional Scottish band, will perform as well. (Oct. 6-7)
Barbarian Invasion: Join the barbaric hordes in a test of strength contest and a turkey leg eating contest. (Oct. 13-14)
Romance Weekend: To celebrate Sweetest Day at the fest, men can enter the Men in Tights Contest while the women compete for who’s wearing the Best Bloomers. There will also be a mass renewal-of-vows ceremony for couples at the chapel. (Oct. 20-21)
Tricks or Treats Weekend: Children 12 and younger can don their Halloween costumes, gain free admission, and trick-or-treat around the village. There will be costume contests for kids and adults and a pumpkin decorating contest for the kids. (Oct. 27-28)
There is plenty to see on 14 stages offering plenty of entertainment. Below is a mere sampling of the action, comedy, music, and song on the festival’s 14 stages.
Miami Valley Falconry: This regional educational and conservation group will perform a live birds of prey show, including goshawks and Harris hawks.
Cirqa Brava: The acrobatic duo, Sophia A. Balantine and Marina Petrano, will combine comedy with high-flying aerial stunts.
Christophe the Insultor: This Elizabethan heckler will insult you, your friends, and total strangers in a highly creative and vulgar fashion.
The Mudde Show!: The Tri-State-based Theatre in the Ground company will perform comedic versions of “Dante’s Inferno,” and “Beowulf,” redeeming your awful memories of high school English.
The Knights of Valour: Just to be clear. Unlike other jousts at other festivals, this is a full-contact jousting competition. Yes, you might see someone die, though we hope not.
Oops! Comedy Knife Throwing: Just think twice before you volunteer.
The marketplace offers handmade wares including unique items created by world-class artisans.
Here are just a few of them:
• Art of Ed Beard Jr. features original collectible artwork in various subject matter and technique.
• Danny Boy Pipes features handmade pipes and accessories.
• Dragon’s Head Forge demonstrates blacksmithing and sells functional and decorative items.
• Add to your closet with items from Authentic Wardrobe, featuring menswear and womenswear.
• Battle safely with Safer Swords, made from soft foam.
• Brown Cow Art features handmade leather items. Custom orders can also be made.
The Ohio Renaissance Festival artisan marketplace also features demonstrating artisans. Experience time-honored crafts such as glassblowing, blacksmithing, forging, leather tooling, candle making, coin stamping, jewelry making and boot making.
Festival favorites such as giant roasted turkey legs, steak-on-a-stake and bread bowl soups and stews can be found as well as delicious new items. The Chocolate Raven features handmade chocolates and fudge. Archibald Drake’s features an ages old Fish and Chips recipe. KJ’s Cajun Cuisine will have a menu from across the pond and down south. Wash it all down with a wide variety of beers, ales, wines, soft drinks, coffees and teas.
5. GROWN-UP FUN
The festival offers daily special events for those 21 and over. The Naughty Bawdy Pub Show ($20) features songs and limericks you won’t hear on the streets in an hour-long show. There’s also a Pub Crawl ($30) complete with games, trivia and more. There are also two tastings: hard cider tastings ($20 per person) and whiskey tastings ($38 per person or $42 with bonus variety).
WANT TO GO?
What: Ohio Renaissance Festival
When: Sept. 2-Oct. 29 for nine weekends – Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day
Where: Renaissance Park in Harveysburg. Located just minutes off I-71, exit 45 or I-75, exit 38 on State Route 73 in Warren County.
Cost: Tickets: $21-23 (adults), $9.50 (kids aged 5-12), $60 (adult season pass). Children under 5 free.