I was given free admission to the Arizona Renaissance Festival in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My daughter peered through the throng of people waiting to get in the gates of the Arizona Renaissance Festival this past weekend. She had talked about it all week. Even though she has been before, she didn't really remember much. "Will there be fairies there?" she asked me. Above the entrance, the King and Queen of the fair greeted all the guests with welcoming waves. The King looked down on my daughter and called her a fair princess. Llama, smiled shyly and hid behind her Daddy. My husband and I love the Renaissance Festival! We have been going almost every year since we moved to Arizona and before that, we visited the one in San Bernadino. Only at the Ren Fest can you step out of the desert and walk into jolly old England of the 1600's. Merchants and artisans line the dirt paths ready to sell you their wares - all speaking with various English accents. As soon as we walked through the gates, we make a beeline to the Twisted Sister's braiding booth. The lines there get super long and we promised Llama a fantastic Renaissance hairdo. She chose a braided heart for $29. While the price does seem steep, I must tell you that her braid lasted for four days. In fact, it would have lasted longer but I didn't feel comfortable letting her skip getting her hair washed for that long. She was fine with not bathing though. The braiding booth was right next to the Boathouse stage so we enjoyed a showing of Dead Bob and the Tortuga Twins during our wait. Both were incredibly funny and thankfully all of the more bawdy jokes went right over our six-year-old's head. She just laughed and told us they were all acting silly. For food, the festival has something for everyone's tastes. My husband always gets a giant turkey leg and a beer - both perfect and portable while chasing a toddler around the festival grounds. I chose fish and chips this time - my favorite English fast food. And no trip to the Renaissance Festival is complete for us until we visit one of the many chocolate stands to devour Queen's Berries. Which Dude ate more than his fair share of..
My mom then took Llama off for some Grandma/ granddaughter time, while my husband and I entertained Dude, who was right on the brink of a meltdown. We took him him to Fairhaven Farm, the in-festival free petting zoo, and his no-nap meltdown disappeared as he fed sheep, giggled at some geese and talked to oxen. At the end of our day, we found a nice spot of grass near the exit and waited for my mom and Llama. People watching is amazing at the festival. Not everyday you see this: When I mentioned the great people watching to my husband, he added, "Ya, like the guy with the horns." What? Guy with the horns? He was referring to this character: The Renaissance Festival is definitely a chance for young and old to dress up and live in a world of pure fantasy for the day. By the way, my daughter did get to see a fairy. Herself in the mirror.
Shopping with Grandparents is the greatest! The Arizona Renaissance Festival is open Saturdays and Sunday February 7th - March 29th, 2015. Gates open at 10am and close at 6pm. My recommendation is to get there early! The 60 freeway leading to the Renaissance Festival backs up a few miles before the festival entrance and is bumper to bumper as soon as you hit Gold Canyon if you wait until later in the day. Before you go, make sure to print a coupon for kids to get in free with the price of a paid adult admission. This is a huge $15 savings!