11 TOP Renaissance Festivals in the Virginia Area [2023]

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While many people know about the Virginia Ren Faire, the state and surrounding areas are actually packed with medieval festivities and the like. Read on to learn more about all the different places ye can participate.

Renaissance Festivals, or “ren faires”, as they’re affectionately known to their thousands of raving fans, are a unique way to experience the sights, sounds and culture of the Renaissance era. These events feature history demonstrations, like jousting tournaments and sword fighting demonstration, amazing food like turkey legs, Scotch eggs, and Shepherd’s pie, and activities for the whole family.

Below, we’ll discover the top renaissance fairs in Virginia or close by. We’ll also look at other festivals in the area that transport you to a different time and place, but which keep the historic spirit of the ren faire community alive.

How to stay cool

It’s hot out there at the ren faire in the summer. It’s even worse if you’re fully dressed for the occasion. Whether you choose the knight armor, a velvet costume, tapestry material, or something else, it’s important to plan for the heat.

Be sure to bring your water bottle with you and stay hydrated. A good sun hat is also highly recommended. Bodice chillers and ice pack pockets are a great way to keep cool, too. Fill the bodice chiller up with ice cold water and stick them in your pocket or under your shirt to stay cool.

A good sun bandana can help keep you cool too. Frogg Toggs are a popular choice and can absorb sweat while keeping you cool.

Lastly, choose your costume material carefully and cover up. While it may seem counterintuitive, covering your skin will actually keep you cool by protecting you from the sun hitting you directly.

Cool materials like silk and natural fabrics help, too. You can shop good fabrics at stores like Pure Silks or Renaissance Fabrics.

Virginia Renaissance Faire

The Virginia Renaissance Faire is an annual event that takes place in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, at the Lake Anna Winery. The festival is a celebration of the Renaissance era, with activities and events that are designed to transport visitors back in time.

There are a variety of things to do here, including watching the jousting tournaments, live music performances, and interactive comedy shows. There are also fire breathing performances and archery. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of food and drink options, including turkey legs, mead, and ale.

The Faire typically takes place during the spring and summer months, usually starting in May and ending in June. The festival is open on weekends from 10am to 5pm, with different events and activities taking place throughout the day.

Southampton Renaissance Faire

The Southampton Renaissance Faire is a popular event that takes place annually in Virginia. This ren faire takes place in Courtland VA, and offers free admission.

At this ren faire you can test your skill with a range of traditional games, such as archery, axe throwing, and fencing. Re-enactors also bring Celtic history alive with interactive events. There are live stage performances, costume contests, and a variety of vendors selling handmade crafts and goods.

As you would expect from a ren faire, they serve up festival favorites like turkey legs and Scotch eggs!

Harvest Faire

The Harvest Faire is an annual festival that takes place in Virginia during the fall months. Its goal is to reenact a 15th century European fall harvest celebration. Its 6 acres of village features period cooking and a variety of activities.

At the Harvest Faire, you can participate in a variety of games of skill, such as archery and axe throwing, as well as enjoy live music performances and interactive comedy shows. If you’d like to do more than just attend, this festival is always looking for participants, like volunteers, merchants, and re-enactors.

DaVinci Con

DaVinci Con is held in Lexington, VA, and prides itself on being “so much more than your usual ren fest.” Here you can enjoy the ren faire but also learn how to be a part of one as well as learn about the skills of the period.

Their Ren Fest features a period village with all the trappings of a great festival: the food, jousting, comedy shows, blacksmithing, and a falconer showing the birds of prey. It takes place on the grounds of the Virginia Horse Center, a spacious 600-acre property with full facilities and plenty of parking.

Old Dominion Fantasy and Medieval Faire

The Old Dominion Fantasy and Medieval Faire is a popular annual event that takes place in Goode, Virginia. It is a celebration of medieval history and culture, featuring a range of activities and entertainment options. Visitors to the Faire can take part in games of skill, watch live performances, and sample traditional food and drink.

The event is held each year in September. This family-friendly event offers something for everyone, including historical reenactments, demonstrations of traditional crafts, and even a jousting tournament. If you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend a weekend, the Old Dominion Fantasy and Medieval Faire is definitely worth checking out.

Blackbeard Pirate Festival

The Blackbeard Pirate Festival in beautiful downtown Hampton, Virginia is a swashbuckling adventure that takes visitors back to the Golden Age of Piracy. Held annually in June, the festival celebrates the infamous pirate Blackbeard, who was killed off the coast of North Carolina in 1718. The festival features a variety of activities, including live music, pirate-themed food and drinks, and historical reenactments. It is a not-to-be-missed festival; in fact, USA Today ranked this one as the #3 best pirate festival in North America.

Visitors can watch thrilling sword fights, witness a pirate trial, and even participate in games of skill such as axe throwing and cannonball toss. Children can take part in a treasure hunt, while adults can enjoy rum tastings and a pirate-themed pub crawl. The festival also features an impressive tall ship docked at the Hampton waterfront, where visitors can climb aboard and learn about the life of a pirate on the high seas.

Impromptu street skirmishes will take place throughout the event. To top it all off, there will be a full-scale sea battle in the Hampton Harbor to reenact Blackbeard’s final battle.

Ravenwood Faire

The Ravenwood Faire is held in Clear Brook, VA. It offers an immersive experience into the world of the Renaissance era. Visitors can expect to find jousting tournaments, live music performances, and interactive comedy shows throughout the day. In addition to the entertainment, the faire also boasts a wide variety of vendors selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing. Food and drink options are also available, with plenty of delicious options to choose from.

Be sure to check out the other regular events this company holds, like the Grapes of Wrath Armored Combat Tournament and Festival. It will be held on the grounds of the Mountain Run Winery and feature great wine and Ren Faire food vendors.

Maryland Renaissance Festival

The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a lively event that takes place annually in Annapolis, Maryland, during the months of August through October. The festival is set in a 16th-century English village and offers a wide range of activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages

This is one of the largest renaissance festivals in the region, and it is only a short drive from Maryland. Attracting over 300,000 visitors annually, it is set on 27 acres of land and is staffed by 1300 participants, ranging from performers to vendors. There are more than 130 shops selling their handiwork and over 40 food vendors.

Their Shakespearean Theater sets the stage for exceptional performances, like Shakespeare’s Skum, a comedy troupe performing hilarious versions of the master’s plays; Topsy Turvy, performing comedy and contortion; and Debracey Productions Joust Troupe, because what ren faire would be complete without jousting knights?

For a full list of entertainers, be sure to check out the performers page.

In addition to the entertainment, there are also educational workshops and demonstrations where visitors can learn about the history of the Renaissance, including blacksmithing, glassblowing, and weaving.

This is a not-to-be-missed festival. And be sure to get your tickets fast, because this one sells out quickly.

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is a one-of-a-kind event that takes place annually in the beautiful countryside of Manheim, Pennsylvania, on the grounds of the Mount Hope Estate and Winery. The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is held every year from August to October, and offers visitors a truly immersive experience that will transport them back in time. Like the Maryland Ren Faire, this one is another huge event you shouldn’t miss out on.

This ren fest is also pet friendly! So feel free to bring your best friend for the day. (Sorry to those with other pets, but this fest only allows dogs).

This festival is a celebration of the Renaissance era and offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience life as it was in the 16th century. From the moment you enter the gates, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time to an era of knights, queens, and castles. Tudor style building adorn the grounds, and the faire features a wide range of activities and attractions, including live jousting tournaments, theatrical performances, traditional craft demonstrations, and much more.

Before you book your tickets, check out the Faire’s themed weekends calendar. Themed events include everything from Fairies to Vikings to Wizards, Pirates, and Shamrocks! Dress up in your best and don’t miss out on your favorite theme.

GreyBeards Viking Experience

The Greybeards Viking Experience is a must-see event for anyone interested in Viking history and culture. Located in Warrenton, North Carolina, right near the Virginia border, this event features a fully immersive viking experience with performance by the GreyBeards Production Group.

In addition to the Viking Experience, GreyBeards holds a film festival dedicated to Viking films. The Rockin E’ Ranch, where the event will take place, also offers trail rides and lessons and archery lessons.

West Virginia Renaissance Festival

The West Virginia Renaissance Festival is an annual event held in Lewisburg, West Virginia, during the months of May and June. This lively festival offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience life as it was during the Renaissance era. The festival features live jousting tournaments, theatrical performances, traditional craft demonstrations, and much more. Visitors can explore the artisan and merchant marketplace, play games of skill, and enjoy a wide range of food and drink options.

One of the highlights of the West Virginia Renaissance Festival is the opportunity to interact with the festival’s colorful cast of characters. Visitors can meet knights, jesters, and other performers as they roam the festival grounds, adding to the festive atmosphere. Educational workshops and demonstrations provide visitors with a chance to learn about the history and culture of the Renaissance era. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out with family and friends, the West Virginia Renaissance Festival is a must-visit event that offers something for everyone.

About the Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire

There is a lot of buzz on the internet about the Abandoned Renaissance Faire. Originally an experiment of the Virginia Renaissance Festival, this collection of structures in the woods in Virginia was shuttered after just 2 years because of profitability. It is located on private property and is off-limits to visitors. The buildings are also crumbling and unsafe.