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).
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.
Visiting the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
The 2019 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 $27.95 for adults if purchased in advance on the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire website ($31.95 at the gate). Tickets for children ages 5-11 are $12.95. Children under 4 are free. (Article updated July 8, 2019 with updated information for 2019.)
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.