My first Renaissance festival! I had the opportunity to go with some friends last year as well, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out for King Richard’s Faire (KRF). As it was a game time decision to go this past weekend, I did not prepare a costume! I have no prior experience to compare this event, so we solicited the company of a friend who had just recently visited one down in Maryland! If you’re unfamiliar with my blog (Welcome!), my reviews tend to run long-winded so for your ease I’ve split it up into sections you can easily jump to below.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets as part of PR to write about the event for my lovely blog readers! The opinions expressed and experiences described here are solely my own. Unapologetically honest, as you’d expect.
Swipe ⬅️ Colorful Decorations for my first #RenaissanceFestival 🚩🃏 King Richard's Faire Guide & Review 👩🏻💻Blog Post! Went on 9/10 with friends and we spent almost the whole day there. You might have seen the disorganized IG story 📱. Our trip was not complete without sipping some mead, enjoying the shows and trying some of the food. Thanks to @dennehypr for hooking me up with some tickets since I missed going last year later in the season! There are still tons of dates in September and October if you want to go on weekend or on holiday. 🕯🎠🏹🍷🍺🤹🏻♂️ #KRFaire #KingRichardsFaire #CarverMA
Click the arrow on the Instagram embedded image to scroll through the event highlights with entertainment & food!
- WHAT: Renaissance Festival to celebrate the glorious olden days of gamey food, mead, colorful garments and sans-electric entertainment!
- Themed weekends (i.e. Game of Thrones Trivia, Vow Renewal)
- WHEN: September 2 to October 22, 2017, Weekends and Monday Holidays 10:30AM – 6PM. No re-entry so make sure you have everything from your car!
- WHERE: 235 Main Street, Carver, MA 02330 (~1 hr South of Boston) FREE parking!
- COST: $32/adult, $16 for children 4-11, free for children 3 years and under.
- CASH ONLY at the Gate. +$2 to each ticket price if you purchase online for the transaction fee.
- Food & Drink require “Tickets” – There are purple pointed booths near all of the food areas that you can exchange money for the tickets. $1/ticket, must be purchased in bundles of 5. Unused tickets are non-refundable. (More on this below.)
- Discretionary Tips: Have some small bills handy for the live entertainment shows you enjoy to show appreciation for the performers.
Atmosphere & Crowd
So you got you’re ticket, and you just can’t wait to frolic with your giant leg turkey leg and mead! Watch your step! The fair grounds are on dirt there’s tree roots, gravel and wood chips everywhere. Mind the staff dressed up in tight corsets and period inspired attire. Their costume policy only requires that your face is visible so you could really wear anything! We saw several (but not limited to): knights, Game of Thrones characters, elves, flower crowned fairies, witches, capes, (Disney) princesses, bar maidens, pirates, robin hoods. In the future we’ll wear a costume to join in the spirit! After all Halloween is right around the corner too! The village area has many colorful buildings set up in a circle to walk around. The main areas are marked on the map. Unless you are in the first batch of visitors arriving, you’ll hear raucous cheering in the distance! They have an area for actual bathrooms so you’ll see all of the parents with babies who park their strollers to access the changing tables.
I would categorize the Festival as a cross between Amusement Park (minus large crowds/long lines) and Carnival. Some of the attendees that gave the festival low ratings had differing expectations about what types of events and additional costs were involved after the admission ticket. We are a captive audience, so of course the food and additional games cost extra. They have several live performances in various areas that are are included. However, as with many other shows the performers will do their Tip dance/speech, “If you want to show your appreciation, yada yada”. At no point did I feel pressured to tip them but it was by choice. (Unlike the instance in Times Square NYC where a group of Sesame Street characters hustled us for cash. Lesson learned.)
Outside food is NOT permitted. Unfortunately they don’t list the actual prices on the website, but let me suggest bringing at least $20/person for food and beverages to exchange for tickets. If you want to stay for only half the day I would suggest saving your appetite, unless you want the novelty. Take a lap around the Canterbury Canteen to see the prices before purchasing your tickets at $1/ticket. It’s probably by design that you can only purchase them in intervals of 5 tickets. Safe to assume there’s waste from people who couldn’t use their remainder tickets.
They advertise the standard faire foods with the fancy Renaissance inspired names. There are no healthy options here. I thought it was hilarious that they served a side of fries in a plastic dog dish. I remembered some of the prices from items we purchased so feel free to extrapolate for other items listed.
- Turkey Leg (12) – we passed on this novelty food once we saw the price.
- Bloomin’ Onion (10) – the basket of onions comes with a tasty dipping sauce
- Loaded Seasoned Waffle Fryes (10) – Not enough cheese on ours compared to the same item our friend purchased.
- Cupcake (5) – couldn’t get this since I only had 4 tickets left so not sure if they had a variety of flavors. This is higher premium than the far superior Georgetown Cupcakes.
- Elephant Ear (4) – I settled on this to use up the remainder of my tickets. The crumbly sweet treat was larger than I expected!
- Mead (8) – Honey and raspberry flavors in small 6 oz. plastic cups. We sipped this as we walked around, but we’ve purchased tastier ones from the store ourselves.
- Bottled Water (4) – Sigh… I know I could buy a case of water for less! You could also get by with just the water fountains.
It would definitely be helpful to have more description of what these acts are doing so you don’t feel awkward about being rude and leaving mid-performance. They have several going on simultaneously with staggered timing in various locations. These actually were more entertaining than I expected. I remember just rolling my eyes for several of the kiddie shows at Six Flags.
- Challenge of Champions – alright guys on horses getting rings on the stick. Somewhat underwhelming and diminished experience with over the top narrations. Probably did not help that I had an obstructed view.
- Torture Show™ (PG-13) – Yep this is the fire breathing guy on their website cover. I liked the wooden bench small seating set up so everyone could see the act. The performer did a good job engaging the audience and leading them to decide what the final act would be. Hook eyes! He hyped up this act so much more even citing filming for Ripley’s Believe it Or Not than the Nail in Head act. He emphasized at various points the PG-13, which I thought was subjective. Some parents didn’t care either way.
- Daniel, Duke of Danger Acrobatical, Comical Weirdness – This strange old guy was oddly entertaining and reminded me of the “Inconceivable” guy (Wallace Shawn) from Princess Bride. He trained in clown acts, balancing, and mixed in some self-deprecating humor. He also included audience participation throughout.
- Royal Parade – All of the main characters walking through the fair grounds. I was not close enough to them to interact.
- Gibbon the Troubadour (PG-13) – Not sure if I should even count this since we saw this for a few minutes at the very end where there was a total of 3 people who looked like personal friends of the performer.
TO WATCH NEXT TIME…
- Washing Well Wenches Wet Dirty Women Good, Clean Fun – We caught the tail end of this show after bailing on the Troubadour. Everyone in the audience was hooting and hollering at this shirtless audience member volunteer.
- “The Mud Show”™ Sturdy Beggars – These muddy faced guys are on the cover so who wouldn’t want to see what this is about?
- Draiku Aerial Show – Again we saw bits and pieces of the end of their performance but I saw pics afterwards. They look so elegant on the silk ribbons!
My husband partook in some games and we did one ride. As each one is an additional cost it can add up quickly! At least there was no more than a few minute wait for each activity. Again similar with food you’ll have to wait until you get there to see the prices. I don’t think there was any prize for any of the games we partook in.
- Archer’s Field (5) – They have you line up in the various stalls to shoot with their one size for children and adults for the bows. My husband commented that the equipment was rudimentary at best compared to his personal archery equipment or stuff you’d rent at a shooting range. How Medieval! They have tiny circular targets on the bails of hay for you to aim your 12 arrows.
- Axe Throw (5) – It’s much harder than it looks! The axe is quite heavy so they will let your young one test this out to see if it’s even suitable for them to try. Similar to knife throw there’s a giant wooden board with a faded sigil as a target.
- Flying Carousel (4) – Surprisingly this was my favorite since both my husband and I sat down in these comfy hammock style seats with footrest. The ride operators cranked the seats to spin in a circle by hand and one of them would manually spin you as you circled around.
Shopping & Souvenirs
If you’re here with your little ones I’m sure something colorful will catch their eyes. As you can imagine with food most items here are highly marked up. Forgot your costume at home? You also have the option to rent! The pretty flower crowns and wands for kids drew us into one of the shops. They had various outfits for children and adults. For ballpark figure a children’s flower crown is $15 and a wand was $9. Prices are tax inclusive.
Overall I think KRF was a fun introduction for me to Renaissance festivals. I would encourage anyone to try it out since it’s a unique experience! Plan ahead and prep your costumes in advance to avoid the on-site price tag if you want to immerse yourself in the experience by dressing up. They have nice decorations around the area and several free photo-op set-ups for you to take memorable photos. CASH IS KING here so don’t fall victim to running short and using their fee ATMs. The best value options were the live shows, which were surprisingly entertaining. On their social media account you can also see sneak peaks of the pre-season auditions for the cast members. Many of the performers tour on their own for other events!
Rating: 4/5 ★★★★
Have you gone to King Richard’s Faire or another Renaissance festival? What was your experience like? Any recommendations for activities or other festivals?! Of course if I’ve missed aspects, feel free to ask and I’ll answer you the best I can!