We visited the Georgia Renaissance Festival on its opening day, April 15th, while enjoying a long Easter weekend RV camping trip in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The festival is held in Fairburn, GA, which was a manageable 45 minute drive from the campground. I'd like to show you all what we saw and offer some information if you want to visit the festival this season. I'll also have a discount code to save some money on the price of admission at the bottom of this post, so make sure you scroll all the way to the end for that info.
When: Every weekend and Memorial Day, April 15 thru June 4, 2017 10:30AM - 6:00PM
Where: 6905 Virlyn B. Smith Road, Fairburn, Georgia 30213 See this page for more in depth directions.
Tickets: Purchase online (I recommend doing this) and save some money and time vs. buying tickets at the gate. Also, stay tuned to the end of this post to save 25% off general admission and 30% off children's admission!
Our tips: We visited the fair with our 2 year-old and our 5 month-old. As with most Renaissance fairs, there is only a narrow sidewalk in some areas and the forest is quite hilly, so if you choose to bring a stroller keep in mind that you'll be pushing it up and down hills over uneven grassy or gravel terrain. Strollers with rugged wheels will be better suited for this task, while smaller umbrella strollers will just be a pain. We saw lots of folks pulling their kiddos in wagons (some decorated!) as well. The interiors of the shops are small, so be prepared to leave the stroller outside. Bring sunscreen and hats. The road leading to the parking area is a narrow 2-lane and traffic is allowed to enter from both directions, so the traffic can be ghastly. I recommend arriving before the gates open at 10:30 to try to beat the crowds. We got delayed a bit when trying to get on the road that morning and we ended up sitting in a slow-moving line of cars for well over an hour before we got parked.
We started out this Georgia Renaissance Festival review after a long wait in a line of traffic. I grabbed this blurry photo out the passenger side window because were almost there!
Parking was easy and it was a pleasant walk to the gates. The gate minders were all in full costume and spoke with loud, accented voices full of Elizabethan words and phrases. We were already getting into the spirit of things.
The entrance itself was visually impressive and we were excited to see what lay beyond.
Required selfie before going inside. You can almost believe that we didn't have a couple of subordinates tagging along.
We picked up a map of the fairgrounds which included a show schedule on the back. There's a surprising number of shows throughout the day including jousting, birds of prey, trained dogs, comedy, stunts and acrobatics, music, and more. I recommend taking note of the show times so you can plan your day around seeing the ones that interest you the most.
This is what we saw just beyond the front gates.
We both remarked on how the fairgrounds are clean and well-maintained.
Tucked away in quaint era-appropriate structures are endless craft vendors. Note to parents: We have a Joovy side-by-side double stroller, and though it's one of the narrower doubles on the market, it was just a bit too big to take into most of the shops without taking up the whole place or risking damage to the merchandise. Our shopping was limited to one of us peeking into the shops while the other stayed outside with the little bits.
There are a number of rides and games available, but as a nice touch, none of them are machine-powered, so you have things like this slide.
All of the buildings are different and I had fun walking around and taking in the sights. It was kind of like stepping into your favorite video game like Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft (I'll lay a bet on the fact that most of the attendees are gamers).
There is no lack of pottery vendors.
The first show we happened upon by accident was Icabod Wainwright's Wheel of Death.
Since this show was very visual, Jasper enjoyed it and made us laugh by referring to the wheel as a "treadmill." Gotta give him credit, because he's not entirely wrong.
More pottery and another cute building.
And if you want to purchase costumes for future Faires or cosplay events, you're covered. Corsets... corsets everywhere.
Hats off to the brave people traipsing around in the sun in full costume. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt in mid-April and I was still sweltering hot.
At least there's quite a bit of tree cover to filter the sunlight, and there was a cool breeze to ease the heat.
It just wouldn't be a proper Renaissance fair without some gypsy-inspired goods.
And some shiny.
I don't know what these are actually called, but I admit that I bought one during our trip to a Nashville fair many, many years ago. I couldn't resist the shiny, even though I knew I'd never wear it again (and I haven't).
This copper art hut was quite the visual feast.
Of course, there are all manners of junk food to be found at several different food courts across the realm.
Most shows have their own dedicated stage area.
Jasper got a kick out of the chickens near the petting zoo.
I couldn't stop photographing the cute buildings, so here's another.
You've gotta have a little debauchery when time traveling to the Middle Ages, and we giggled and snickered at the innuendo in many of the signs.
Here's a man who knows his station in life.
Jasper's 2nd favorite part of the day (stay tuned for the 1st) was this tortoise lumbering around. Anyone else getting Breaking Bad flashbacks?
The reptile exhibit was another highlight. How cuuuute is his little hat?
Jasper enjoyed seeing the reptiles but wasn't quite brave enough to try touching one.
More rib-squeezing attire for the womenfolk.
These ain't yo mama's My Little Ponies.
You have to have the village drunk heckling the townspeople from atop the roof of a local tavern. And there were many local taverns, all of them packed to the gills. If we didn't have the childrens in tow we certainly would have been sipping a chilled adult beverage or two. Or five.
Matt couldn't pass up the opportunity to sit upon an iron throne, even if it's quite a bit different from THE Iron Throne that we are all so familiar with. I'm dying for the next season to start.
Use of the Disney font aside, I had to execute some self control with these options spread before me. Fried green tomato BLT? Deep fried brownie peanut butter & jelly sandwich?! Deep fried ice cream "samich"? Those all sound like fun experiments I'd do for some posts here at Brownie Bites. Hmm... maybe I'll try making some of those at home.
We decided to start our snacking with a big ole bag of sweet 'n salty kettle corn.
Armed with popcorn and drinks, we trekked toward the birds of prey show and passed lots more cute cottages along the way.
Jasper was getting hungry so we had good expectations of setting him up with some juice and kettle corn to snack on while we watched the show, but it was not to be. At the beginning of the show it was announced that no food is allowed because it distracts the animals. Matt and I looked at each other with "Oh @$%#" expressions. Once we put the snacks away Jasper melted down because he's not old enough to understand such things, so we had to do the walk of shame with a screaming toddler and leave just as the show started.
Instead, we found a shady spot under some trees to cool off and eat. I had packed Jasper's toddler backpack with baggies of his favorite snacks so he plowed through some of those while we rested.
Jasper got a chance to run around and play and get out of the stroller for a bit, so everyone was happy. Sometimes being a parent means pulling the chute on the original plans and rolling with the punches to keep the peace.
Miss Shelby was happy to get a meal and some breezy shade, too!
She's kind of awesome.
Her hair is kind of awesome, too. She was celebrating turning 5 months old on this day!
After more walking around, shopping, and peeking in for a few brief moments on other shows (we didn't want to have another Walk of Shame moment), we decided we couldn't leave without trying something with "deep fried" in the name. Thinking of one of Jasper's favorite foods, we settled on some deep-fried macaroni and cheese nuggets.
It's exactly what it sounds like: balls of macaroni and cheese battered and deep fried.
Remember earlier when I said that the turtle was only Jasper's 2nd favorite part of the day? These nuggets earned the top spot. Boy loves him some mac 'n cheese.
We stopped to watch a group of kids learn a maypole dance.
Live demonstrations were going on throughout the day such as pottery, glass-blowing, and hand spinners.
Time to say goodbye! Overall, we had a great time at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. My favorite parts were interacting with the employees as they spoke to us in character, wandering the streets among the themed buildings, and seeing all of the fun costumes.
Want to save some money? Use discount code 'castle' when purchasing tickets online at http://www.garenfest.com to save 30% off child (age 6-12) tickets and 25% off of adult admission. Discount not valid on Student Day, May 9th.
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