If you've never been to the Arizona Renaissance Festival then you are missing out! Every year during the months of February & March a small Renaissance village off of Highway 60 in Gold Canyon, Arizona comes to life with games, music, festivities and more. Tickets are $28 per adult and $18 for children 5-12, they are open on weekends only from 10am until 6pm rain or shine.
For those who are a fan of dressing up, you are allowed to dress up for the festival and they even offer special event weekend days such as "Pirate day" and "Time Traveler's Day". We've seen a wide variety of costumes at the festival including pirates, fairies, dragons, walking trees, witches, a wolf, a cheetah, and we've even seen someone walking around with a brightly colored TV on their head. We enjoy dressing up ourselves and usually go as pirates/a elf/and a witch. The festival is very easy to reach and they have traffic handled quite nicely so you won't have to deal with too much of a traffic jam.
Can you have fun at the festival without spending a fortune? That all really depends on what all you are wanting to do at the festival, all of the shows including the jousting are free with entry ticket. In addition to the shows there are rides, games, tons of shops, lots of different foods, a petting zoo, a torture museum and more that all vary in price. You can find some cheaper souvenirs in the $4-$10 range and then you'll also find items to buy in the $200+ range, food varies as well drinks start at $2, and food starts at around $4 for a slice of pizza, there are also a few bakeries offering sweets. We've had festivals where the only thing we bought was food and then sometimes we find thing we want to pick up, this time around we each found something we wanted to purchase, the kids went on a ride and we bought lunch for the kids plus a mixed drink for my husband, in total we spent just under $200 which isn't too bad.
All of the Shoppe keeps are in costume and often speak with you in character which is a lot of fun. You won't have a chance to get bored because there is always something going on, they have several stages that have shows through out the day so there is always something to see. Need to use the bathroom? No problem, the festival has several bathroom facilities located in various areas, and yes they are actual bathrooms not port-a-pottys.
All of the rides and games at the festival are man powered! You won't find a roller coaster or a traditional carousel, instead you'll find rides like a hammock swing ride, swinging swan, and more that are all powered by the staff! Each one runs using the speed and strength of those operating the ride. If you love seeing cute animals stop by the petting zoo to see the normal and the magical! (they have a unicorn), they also have camel and pony rides towards the back where the jousting is.
The jousting is a lot of fun! There is tons of seating but it fills up rather quickly so I'd suggest grabbing a seat shortly before the tournament is set to begin. Shaded spots are very limited so I'd get there extra early to snag one of those. The staff help keep you engaged before and during the tournament and everything is easy to hear/see no matter where you are seated. The show time we attended had a clear winner (the green knight) who won the pre-games and broke two shields vs one but it was announced as a tie.
You'll do a ton of walking so wear comfortable shoes! Being in Arizona it get's quite sunny as you are aware, the spot where the Renaissance is hosted doesn't offer a lot of shade to escape the sun so you'll want to bring something to help or purchase something at the festival to help keep you shaded. My husband and son like wearing pirate hats to protect their heads from the sun, and this trip I bought a parasol to help shade my daughter and I.
We always have a lot of fun at the festival and we look forward to visiting every year, there is a ton to do so you won't be able to see it all in one go but it is worth visiting. We've been to the festival for the last three years in a row and we still haven't seen and done everything the festival has to offer! Next year we'd like to do one of their Escape rooms. We were a little bummed we didn't see our favorite Dragon this year, but other than that there isn't a lot we'd change about the festival. The main thing I'd change is just adding more shading!
ðŸ’œ Have you ever attended a festival like this where you live? If not, what do you think your favorite part of a festival like this would be?