HARVEYSBURG — The Ohio Renaissance Festival has a big anniversary this year and it plans on celebrating.
For the 30th anniversary, organizers are expecting hundreds of thousands of guests to flow to the grounds Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Monday for nine weekends running Aug. 31 through Oct. 27.
The festival has seen many improvements since the new owners took over in 2015. Most who visit after a long time away say they don’t recognize the festival grounds. Large gardens and landscaping projects, new structures such as the 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q and seating arbors, flushing toilets and more.
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The addition of events to utilize the property for a longer time frame each year — Celtic Fest Ohio in June, the 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q, Bellwether Music Festival and Brimstone Haunt — continue to grow the property.
Here are 30 things not to miss this year, according to organizers for the event’s 30th anniversary.
1. Jousting – The original “heavy metal” done three times daily.
2. Queen Elizabeth – Meet Her Majesty as she wanders through the village.
3. Shipwrecked stage – See the impressive pirate ship during the Pirate Comedy Stunt Show twice daily.
4. Villagers – Willy Nilly wouldn’t exist without the interesting characters that call it home. Meet them in the lanes as you journey through the village.
5. Music – Enjoy the sounds of village musicians scattered throughout the realm.
6. Bread bowls – Delicious soups and stews served in bowls of bread.
7. Turkey legs – Succulent roasted turkey legs weighing in at 2 pounds each.
8. Steak-on-a-Stake – Juicy, seasoned cut of steak cooked to perfection and served on a stick for easy eating on the go.
9. Rides – Children of all ages will enjoy the thrilling human-powered rides.
10. Games – Test your skill at the many games in the Gaming Area.
11. The swordsmen – Enjoy this duo’s quick wit and even quicker swordplay while teaching you how to become a “Master of the Manly Arts.”
12. The Mudde Show – Don’t miss literary classics performed in the Olympic-sized Muditorium, where comedy meets earth.
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13. Kamikaze Fireflies – Enjoy a constant series of jaw-dropping tricks, audience interaction, and hilarity.
14. Shopping – Browse over 160 shops with unique, handmade wares with flare. Clothing, jewelry, home decor, candles, artwork, shoes/boots, leather products, and so much more.
15. Collectible mugs – Every year is different! What will it look like this year?
16. Closing gate ceremony – At the end of each day, the villagers come together to give you a serenade, thanking you for visiting the shire and offering well wishes for your journey home.
17. Family fun – There is something for all ages at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.
18. Highland games – A demonstration of Traditional Highland games are held during Highland Weekend that you can participate in.
19. Amazing maze – See if you can find your way through the maze, but don’t be lead astray.
20. Tower of London Dungeon of Doom – Tour the historical displays of punishment from the 16th century.
21. Queen’s bloomers – Treat someone special to the gift of a beautiful, fresh rose from a rose walker in the lanes or the booth.
22. Pub sing – Stop by the end of the day “Huzzah!” at the Aleing Knight Pub. You never know what might happen.
23. War Horse rides – Don’t miss your chance to ride a knight’s horse around the lyst.
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24. Parade – Every day at noon, the villagers and merchants come together to parade around the realm in honor of Her Majesty visiting their village.
25. Knighting ceremony – Become a Knight or Dame, Prince or Princess, as Her Majesty bequeaths title on all in attendance.
26. Pub crawl – For those 21 and over, join the pub crawl with your friends and have some fun crawling from beer to beer around the village.
27. Naughty Bawdy Pub Show – Another 21-and-over event, this show is just what you need to wrap up a fun day at the festival.
28. Knighting ceremony for kids – Children can be knighted by the Queen each day.
29. Great Q and frosty brew – Delicious barbecue served fresh from the 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q. Check out the impressive patio space, too.
30. Demonstrations – From world-class artisans such as glassblowing, candle making, boot making, leather tooling, blacksmithing, forging, just to name a few.