Open rain or shine, July 5-September 1, 2014, Sat. and Sun. only, plus Labor Day Monday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Taking its framework from the summer day in 1574 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Voted “Country’s Best Renaissance Faire” for the third consecutive year in 2013, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is open for nine weekends. This summer’s 27th annual Bristol Renaissance Faire promises the same perennially popular complement of 16th Century merriment, music, food and games that have repeatedly earned top national honors from subscribers of Renaissance Magazine and the Renaissance Festival Podcast, along with some new twists, like a super-charged joust that producers are touting as the most exciting in the country.
An explosive spectacle of thundering horses, bone-crushing hits and surprise theatrical finales, this summer’s joust will raise the bar on Faire-goers’ favorite spectator sport. Knights will boldly fight to be the day’s champion through a series of equestrian endeavors and alternating tests of skill, then determinedly compete to best one another in fully armored jousts of adrenalin-pumping intensity. The lances will be solid, the hits real, the tempers genuine, the dynamics ever-changing, and the outcomes edge-of-your-seat unpredictable.
Also among the unprecedented, Bristol’s interactive, multi-player fantasy game, RenQuest, will unveil a brand new DaVinci-inspired story line. Producers are also premiering Queen’s College, an immersive environment in which Faire-goers can learn period skills ranging from basket-weaving and candle-making to chain-maille construction. Further enhancing the living landscape of the 30-acre village, an expanded Bristol Marketplace will welcome an eclectic array of resident merchants and rotating guest artists; stages will resound with one of the best line-ups of nonstop entertainment to-date, and always-bustling streets will be dotted with an extravagant entourage of larger-than-life animal puppets.
Flying Dragons and Clashing Swords
Sixteen Bristol entertainment stages feature nonstop music, merriment, feats of daring and an eclectic assortment of comedic performers who invite their audiences to become part of the act. Joining Faire favorites, including Dirk and Guido, the comedic sword-fighting duo known as “The Swordsmen,” ropewalker, juggler and foolish mortal MooNiE the Magnif’Cent, Guinness World Record-holding fire whip artist Adam Crack, the Barely Balanced acrobatic comedy troupe, and the Sturdy Beggars™ Mud Show®, will be a breathtaking aerial silk act making its U.S. debut at Bristol this summer. Suspended from the trees of the wooded Faire site, the Draiku aerial duo will provide a dazzling display of airborne Chinese Dragon artistry.
Among this summer’s special musical guests, the explosive Celtic group, Tartanic, will appear during the Faire’s first and third weekends; Wolgemut, a high-energy minstrel troupe whose name in ancient German literally means “to be in a good mood,” will perform two weekends in July, and VaNa MaZi will arrive with its unique brand of Gypsy Jazz, throughout the month of August. Making their Bristol debut in 2014 are the Merry Wives of Windsor, an 11-piece, all-female folk band that has taken the West Coast Renaissance festival circuit by storm.
Bristol’s ever-expanding Marketplace offers a breadth and depth of unique shopping experiences that can’t be found anywhere outside the country’s top Renaissance faires. Nearly 180 artisans and crafters display wares ranging from stage-combat-approved swords and handmade chain maille to Scottish kilts, handcrafted leather masks, tapestry wall hangings, sterling silver jewelry, hand-caned brooms, bamboo flutes, even steampunkery and jester socks. Often, patrons have the chance to watch potters, glass blowers, bowyers, blacksmiths and other working artisans create their wares on-site.
Expanding upon the interactive nature of the Bristol Marketplace, the new Queen’s College transports would-be crafters and history buffs alike into an immersive environment where they can learn a rotating variety of 16th Century arts from basket-weaving and candle-making to chain-maille construction.
Live Action Fantasy-Play
Bristol’s ever-evolving live action fantasy-play game, RenQuest, has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the Faire season. Following the epic conclusion of RenQuest’s Chaos Trilogy in 2013, this summer’s departure to a DaVinci theme opens up the playing field to endless inspiration from the inventor’s imagination. Originating in 2008, RenQuest brings the worldwide popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, like World of Warcraft, into the live action dimension of the Renaissance Faire. The interactive theatrical gaming experience offers players an unprecedented opportunity to experience the Faire through completing quests, honing skills and defeating evil villains. The game spans the entire 30-acre Faire site and employs 30 non-playing characters dedicated to enriching the fantasy experience for patron-players.
Kids Quests provide the Faire’s younger patrons, ages 4 to 10, with two daily opportunities to embark on their own, age-appropriate adventures. Led by Jack and Jill, the 30-minute quests team youngsters with Bristol’s fairy tale creatures in a search for treasure and excitement.
More Kid-Friendly Fun
The Bristol Renaissance Faire is filled with kid-inspired experiences, including more than 30 games and rides, shows that make kids laugh, and special play areas bursting with whimsy and photo-snapping charm. Always entertaining and engaging, Bristol’s Kids Kingdom boasts a climb-aboard pirate ship, giant sandbox, crafts and games activity center, its own theater and a full cast of beloved characters. New to the Kingdom this summer, the Normal Sisters will invite children into their world of witchcraft for a hilarious, interactive stage show called “Caldron Mishaps.” Daily magic shows, story-telling and interactive role-playing adventures also take center stage throughout the day, and at 4:30 p.m., Queen Elizabeth herself shows up in Kids Kingdom for the celebrated Knighting Ceremony, at which she personally dubs all attending children lords and ladies.
Other popular, kid-friendly diversions include mad-cap tea parties with Lady Ettie, kid pike drills at the Military Encampment, toy ship sailing on Mouseboro Pond, and chance encounters with the Faire’s most elusive inhabitants, curious faeries known as Fantastikals, who this summer will be enjoying a newly landscaped Fairy Garden.
Medieval Village of Legos!
The newest feature at the Faire! Dale Klein, dedicated Bristol patron has built an historic medieval city out of LEGOs. The display has taken over 7 years to build and consists of over 400,000 pieces. Its cost tops $40,000! This creation has won several awards.
Tickets are $23.95 for adults and $11.50 for children, ages 5 to 12. Advance ticket discounts are available at the listed website or by calling (847) 395-7773.
Taking its framework from the summer day in 1574 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha. Enjoy 16th Century merriment, music, food and games.