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A Knight rides while competing in the Joust at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire: Fun for the Whole Family

As I entered the grounds of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I felt like I was instantly transported to some kind of alternate dimension. A place where it wasn’t odd to see 16th century noblemen interacting with bluejean-wearing women or Renaissance-era minstrels singing to a myriad of Jack Sparrows and Tokien-esque elves.

There’s no way around it: the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire attracts some interesting people. From costumed performers dressed as everything from the Queen to gravediggers and rat catchers, to the general public dressed as maidens, elves, and pirates, you’re unlikely to see a more diverse selection of costumes outside of a Halloween party.

As was pointed out at one of the performances, while many of these characters didn’t exist in the Renaissance, that certainly doesn’t mean you won’t find them at a Renaissance Faire.

However, it’s this odd mix of accurate performers and less than accurate fans that make the Faire so endearing.

Another great aspect of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is the performances. Whether you like Shakespearian theater, death-defying stunts, or silly music, there’s something for everyone. Some of my favorites from my day at the Faire included the Mud Show, the Righteous Blackguards, Whose Jest is It Anyway, and the Joust (All of which can be briefly seen in the above video).

One thing that impressed me was how much the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire had improved since my last visit five years prior. Not that I didn’t enjoy it before, but the quality of the acting and choreographed fights during the Human Chess Match and the Joust seemed much improved.

While the Faire is a great place for all ages, it’s worth noting a few things. First, some of the shows can be a bit risqué at times, so make sure to heed any warnings if you have any young or easily offended ears in your group. It should also be noted that some women wear rather tightly fitting clothing at the Faire. If you happen to be taking a teenage boy to the Faire, consider investing in a blindfold (just kidding…sort of).

A sword fight during the Chess Match and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

A sword fight during the Chess Match and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

All in all, the Faire is a fantastic experience for everyone. Make sure to plan a whole day at the Faire, as each weekend has a unique theme and story that carries through the entire day. And don’t be one of the many who skips Finale and Song at the end of the day. It’s definitely not to be missed and always a good time.

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    Visiting the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

    The 2017 Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is located in Manheim, Pennsylvania, just off exit 266 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It runs every weekend August through October (plus Labor Day Monday) from 11am-8pm.

    Admission is $26.95 for adults if purchased in advance on the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire website ($31.95 at the gate). Tickets for children ages 5-11 are $11.95. Children under 4 are free. (Article updated July 11, 2017 with updated information for 2017.)

    In exchange for this review, I was given free admission to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. As always, this had no effect on my review, and it was not subject to approval prior to publication.

    See map below for other area attractions.

    AUTHOR - Jim Cheney

    Jim Cheney is the creator of UncoveringPA.com. Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited all 67 counties in the state. Jim has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.

    2 Comments

    • Authiel

      It’s worth noting that the Faire runs admission specials, which make it more accessible for families and are good for people who aren’t certain of whether or not they’ll like the Faire.

      – Certain weekends and Labor Day Monday are 2-for-1, so one adult ticket is free with the purchase of another adult ticket. You can find coupons at Burger King, Wawa, Hess, and Turkey Hill. I’m fairly certain there are other specials on the coupons, but this is the only one I can remember at the moment.

      – There is a $4.00 costume discount at the gates.

      – There is a $5.00 discount for college students, senior citizens (55+), and military members.

      – During Heroes of the Realm (September 7 – 8), service members (firefighters, EMTs, etc.) and their immediate families can get in for $15 with service ID.

      – During Children’s Fantasy (August 31, September 1 – 2), children 11 and under are free. Adults can take advantage of the 2-for-1 special, since it’s active on that weekend.

      – During Chivalry & Romance (August 17 – 18), there is a blood drive from 9 am – 4 pm. Anyone who donates gets a free Faire ticket, good for any day of that season. They encourage you to make an appointment online, but accept walk-ins as time permits.

      – During the Pyrate Invasion (August 24 – 25) and Pyrates Return (September 14 – 15), there is a $15 discount for adults costumed as pirates. That’s about half price.

      – They have a sunset special. It’s $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for senior citizens, and $5.00 for children after 5:00. Be warned: the Faire starts wrapping up at the final joust, and so do the vendors, who stay open until around 7:00. The Finale in Song ends at around 8:00.

      – If you’d like to come back to the Faire or if you have a friend who is going, take advantage of the Return to the Past passes available at the Infomistress after 2 pm. Passes are $16 for adults and $9 for children.

      You aren’t allowed to combine specials/coupons, to my knowledge.

      • Jim Cheney

        Thanks for the detailed pricing information, Authiel. It does look like there are a lot of great options for those looking for a discount on Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire tickets.

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