Now that I have called it by it’s official “Festival” title, I will hereinafter refer to it as the Ren Fair.
Try this outing info at the end of post.
The Ren Fair is an annual family tradition, but this year I have a surprise. I am thrilled to be featuring a guest post by someone who knows this place like the back of her hand. My sister Jennifer Craw is a younger, slightly shorter, bohemianer, pointier version of me. She is a Ren Fair expert because she and her husband go several times a year. They go for Pirates weekend to wear their pirate outfits. Then they go for Scottish weekend to wear their tartans.
Try this outing info at the end of the post.
They get more Ren Fair experience in a single year than this couple has had in their lives. Behold: Renaissance-style Fluffy and Peppers.
We followed Jen’s advice and had our most successful trip to the Ren Fair ever! We modified things for our kid-centric taste (Jen has only 0.4 children so she isn’t interested in pony rides or toddler play places just yet), but her tip on the best way to get there helped us breeeeeze in with zero traffic rather than waiting in a several mile long queue at an single intersection which has burned us every previous year. One year we covered ONE mile in AN HOUR in that line. With infant twins in the car! The. Horror. The. Horror.
And now, here’s Jennifer:
Huzzah! You’re going to the Renfest!
So, first the best acts:
A Fool Named “O” and LaLa – this is a mime act that will delight kids but also be funny for you grown ups (Jeremy and I were surprised by how much we laughed at this act, given that it seems geared toward the juvenile crowd. But we loved it!) The same people do an act called “Happenstance Theatre” which we’ve never seen, but based on the company it should be fun.
Dueling Fools – this one is more grown up, two guys sword fighting and saying funny stuff. Kids will likely still enjoy it for the physical comedy, though many of the jokes will go over their heads (luckily…they can be a little risque. But nothing too bad). This is the best act we saw this year.
Barely Balanced – an acrobatic act that was very impressive and pretty fun. We didn’t see them this year, but we liked them last year.
Fight School – similar to Dueling fools, but not quite as funny. Lots of information about swords and sword fighting styles, and some humor in there too.
Shakespeare’s Famous Fights – short scenes from various of the best known plays. Some were better than others, and it felt like it went on a little long. But the two actors doing Taming of the Shrew were a delight to watch.
Cheeky Monkey Sideshow – Sooooooo bad. So stupid, not at all funny, and who wants to see a woman drink petroleum? Not me.
The Danger Committee – technically they were awesome, but their act is throwing sharp objects at each other and missing by a hair. It freaked me out. I mean, amazing, but horrifying to watch. Same goes for the sword swallower. Unless you’re into that kind of thing…zoiks.
Pirates Royal – boooooring. Snooze fest. I will never get that half hour of my life back.
If you want to do archery, try going during a joust as much of the crowds will be off watching that and the line may not be as long.
The earlier in the day you go, the better the crowds will be. Oh! And don’t follow your GPS! It will likely try to have you exit the 50 on Defense Highway. That is always where the traffic backs up, and it ends up taking FOREVER to get there. Instead, stay on the 50 until exit 22, then loop back around. Actually, these are the good directions once you get on the 50 eastbound:
- Take Exit 22 just before Annapolis and take first exit to right on Riva Road.
Follow to second light, turn right on Harry Truman Blvd.
Follow 2 miles to end and light, turn right onto South Haven Road.
Proceed north across Route 450 onto Crownsville Road.
(There is a Quik-Save Mart convenience store at the intersection.)
Proceed 1/2 mile and the Festival is on the right.
Try this outing
Difficulty Level: Moderate. I gave it a moderate because the terrain is so hilly and rough that a stroller is really impractical.
- The traffic getting there can be the worst nightmare you’ve ever imagined. If you are trying to take kids, I cannot stress strongly enough that you should go a) by the route outlined above, b) early enough to get there before 10am, c) on one of the September weekends.
- Prices are a little cheaper in September. Check their website to make sure.
- If you’re getting there at opening, don’t get caught up at the entrance with all the other sheep. Most people go in and make their way around clockwise. This year we headed straight from the entrance gate down the back to archery where we had the place practically to ourselves! Then we leisurely made our way counter-clockwise through the free pony rides, the giant slides, and the incredibly popular toddler play place pirate ship. We also saw “‘O’, a Fool, and Lala” and part of a bagpipping and drum act because we were in the wrong place.
Fluffy Fun Factor (Kindergartener Rating): So awesome! I just wish we could stay longer. Why do we always have to go home so the babies can nap? It’s just not fair.