King Richard's Faire: A Parent Review
A shared fondness for Renaissance Faires brought my husband and I together years ago, so we were excited to be invited to King Richard's Faire this fall. For my family, the fun began weeks before the fair actually opened for the season, with trips to the fabric store and internet searches for costume ideas. Of course, fancy costumes are not required. A pair of home-made fairy wings will do, and street clothes are totally acceptable as well (though less fun in my opinion!). Renaissance fairs are a strange mix of theater, music, and circus. King Richard's Faire is no exception, with everything from a multi-act story performed on the main stage to jousting, tiger shows, and fire-eaters. There is no real loyalty to historical era or national culture. Belly dancers perform on stage with bagpipe players in kilts.
The Faire has a range of activities and performances that will appeal to people of different ages (keep an eye out for the PG-13 shows!), but is probably best enjoyed by children six or older. That being said, I've taken my son twice now -- first when he was a little over a year, and this year at three -- and he had a ball both times. The first year he was mainly interested in picking up sticks from the forest floor, this year he could appreciate more of the actual festival.
The Kid's Cove has a Princess Academy and a Knight's School where your children can participate, as well as various musical and storytelling events. The surrounding area has pony rides, an enclosure where the you can see the tiger cubs between acts, human-powered amusement park rides, and carnival type games using cannons, crossbows, and catapults. My son had a blast riding on the boats and pulling the rope that makes it move. Keep in mind that the rides and games are not included in the price of admission, so budget extra cash if you think your kids will be interested. There are also plenty of trinkets and costume accessories for sale throughout the faire.
In addition to the regular schedule of performances, each weekend of the Faire has a special event going on. Of particular interest to families:
- There is a Vow Renewal Ceremony for "all married lords and ladies" on Saturday September 13.
- There will be a Prince and Princess costume contest on Saturday September 20 for children 11 and under. The judges will be looking for the the best costume representing 16th century royalty.
- Saturday October 11 will be Best Fairy and Pirate Costume contests with prizes for most original and best look-a-like.
Things to keep in mind:
- There is no re-entry to the fair, so make sure you bring in any extra clothes, diapers, etc from your car.
- Outside food is not permitted. Food tickets are $1 per ticket and can only be bought in batches of five. Meal prices vary. A personal pizza is 7 tickets, an order of chicken fingers and fries is 9 tickets. There are water fountains throughout the grounds.
- A few of the shows are rated PG-13, but bawdy humor abounds even in the unrated shows, so be prepared for that.
- There are some very elaborately costumed cast members, so if you think your kid will be frightened by a Laundry Monster or samurai warrior, the faire may not be the best choice.
- The Faire is outdoors, so make sure to dress for the weather.