31st Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival

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For thirty years I’ve lived about 45 minutes away from the Arizona Renaissance Festival, and I’ve never been there. Fortunately, my daughter Katie invited me to go with her, so we went last Sunday.

Forty-four weekends a year, the festival grounds, located in Gold Canyon, are closed. But for eight weekends in February and March, you can enter the Europe of 500 years ago.

My first impression was that it looks a lot like Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter movies. (Click on the smaller photos to enlarge.)

It was wonderful to see people dressed in period costumes, workers as well as visitors, and children dressed up in Hogswart robes, Disney princess gowns, and fairy costumes. And if you don’t have a costume, you can rent one near the entrance to the festival, or buy one inside. Katie and I wore 21st century attire.

Officially, swords are supposed to remain sheathed, so that fights don’t break out; but sometimes a duel just can’t be avoided.

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Everywhere you look, something is happening, such as music and dancing. (I do so love dancing!)

All sorts of shows occur all day long, such as this acrobatics/juggling performance. The lady is juggling knives while standing on her husband’s feet while he holds his body rigid in a horizontal position while balanced on his friend’s feet. How is that even possible?

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Katie’s been to the Festival before, and she recommended seeing the “Whip Guy.” Holy smoke!

There was absolutely nothing Renaissance about the Three Guys and a Bunch of Drums. They were more a hippie drum line. And they weren’t limited to drums. They also played the Lumbera, their own invention made from 2 x 4s of various lengths. I hoped it would sound like a marimba. It didn’t. And they played triangles.

There are loads of games to play. The tomato throw was extremely entertaining, and we watched it for a while. Kids were allowed to aim from closer to the target, ensuring more hits than the adults got.

There are all sorts of interesting rides for kids, and a costumed dragon and fairy to interact with and get your picture taken with. On the Leonardo da Vinci ride, you can operate mechanical wings and a corkscrew spiral like the ones in the famous inventor’s notebooks.

And so many things to buy! From food to clothing, crafts to hair braiding.

And speaking of crafts, people were on hand to demonstrate how work was done in the Renaissance.

And wherever we went, we were struck by the effort to make the Renaissance village beautiful.

We had a wonderful day at the Renaissance Festival, and we will definitely go again next year.

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