The Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace is 30 acres of adventure and entertainment for the entire family. To attend the festival is to experience the food, crafts, and performance arts of a bygone era in a unique medieval theme park environment.
The festival boasts 13 different stages and pavilions with continuous live performances ranging from juggling and circus acts to comedy and story-telling. There is a record-setting whip show, countless varied musical performances, and dancers of all disciplines. That’s not to mention the main events of thrice daily jousting tournaments and multiple demonstrations in the ancient art of falconry.
There are “people-powered” rides such as DaVinci’s flying machine and the giant Piccolo Pony, along with interactive games such as a maze, climbing wall, and axe toss.
The medieval style arts and crafts fair has more than 200 merchants selling (and often demonstrating) the artisan work of blacksmiths, glass blowers, woodcarvers, potters, and more.
Food and drink options abound ranging from pub fare (with the requisite turkey leg) to fresh-baked bread bowls and enticing sweets.
What are the dates for the 2018 Arizona Renaissance Festival?
The festival is open every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, from February 10th to April 1st, 2018.
Where is the Arizona Renaissance Festival located?
The festival is held at 12601 East Highway 60, Gold Canyon AZ, 85118, east of Apache Junction (approximately two hours from Tucson).
What are the hours?
- Saturday: 10:00am-6:00pm
- Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm
- Also open Presidents’ Day Monday Feb. 19
Why would I go to the Renaissance Festival?
- To participate in renaissance revelry and interact with colorful characters and street entertainers
- To heartily cheer on your favorite knight and steed in the jousting tournament for festival royalty
- To find a unique gift while visiting the European style artisan and country fair
- To sample ale, honey mead, sausage pasties, and crepes
- To dress up in period costumes, fairy wings, or pirate garb
- To try your hand at archery, weaving, or the Jacob’s Ladder
- To get your kids excited about history in general, and the arts and science of the Renaissance period
How much does it cost?
Tickets at the gate are $26 for adult, $16 for children aged 5-12. Free admission for children under 5 years. Tickets for seniors aged 60+ are $23 at the box office only.
Advance tickets can be purchased at Frys for $2 less each or $1 less online with no additional service fee.
What is the parking situation?
The free parking, sponsored by Fry’s Food Stores, is well-organized and plentiful.
What should I wear?
Temperatures in this region in February and March range in the 50s-80s, often with blue skies and lots of sun. The festival is entirely outdoors so good walking shoes and light layers are best. Sunglasses and hats (feathered, perhaps?) would also come in handy.
What should I bring with me?
A camera for the countless fun photo opps. Consider sunscreen and a picnic blanket because shaded areas (especially for eating) are sparse.
Admission includes all of the performances (including the jousting tournament, falconry, & pageantry) and a few attractions (petting zoo), but you’ll want to bring cash for rides (almost all of them can be enjoyed for an additional fee) and food. There are 8 ATMs on site.
Are bathrooms available?
Yes. The “privys” were plentiful at strategic locations. They seemed to be well-maintained and stocked.
Is outside food allowed at the Arizona Renaissance Festival?
No. Outside food and drinks are not permitted at the festival. That said, our family did carry in our personal water bottles with no comment from event staff.
What dining venues are available on-site?
The on-site dining options are numerous. There is mostly “fair-type” food sold from stands and shops on the perimeter with typical fair pricing (Examples: $4 gelato, $9 turkey leg). Alcohol is served on-site.
For a truly indulgent experience, you can partake in five courses of fine food and drink at the Pleasure Feast (seatings are at noon and 2:30pm) while watching “raucous renaissance entertainment.” The $73.95 tickets are advance purchase and include admission plus all the Pleasure Feast extras.
What restaurants are located near the Renaissance Festival?
Not many…and the ones that are close by are not very good. If you really don’t want to partake in the festival fare, you should probably pack food to eat right before or after your visit.
BABIES & KIDS
Can kids attend the Arizona Renaissance Festival?
Yes! There are numerous activities just for kids such as a free petting farm, a storybook castle, a playground, and craft & story times. Kids tend to be enchanted by the authentic costumes, roving performers and period games, toys, and crafts. You’ll see stilt-walkers, juggles, musicians, and even “living trees.” Fun rides (ranging in price from $2-$5) include the Dragon Tail Tower Slide, the Swan Swing, Throne Carrousel, and Steam Pirates Airships.
*Note– The Renaissance Festival lists its entertainment as “varied” and states that some of the shows include improvisations and opportunity for the occasional risqué joke. These performances are thoughtfully noted with “LC” (loose cannon) on the schedule of events and on the signage at the performance site.
Should I bring a stroller?
Yes! A comfy stroller or a wagon with a shade would work well to navigate the dirt and gravel pathways winding through the acreage.
There are also strollers, wagons, scooters, and wheelchairs for rent on a first-come first-serve basis at the festival gate. We recommend bringing your own, as prices range from $8-$15 per hour with a 4 hour minimum and some were sold out on the day we attended.
Is there a designated area for nursing moms?
No – and we’d love to see a shaded or indoor private area added for this purpose. As it stands, the festival is not particularly nursing-friendly since shade is hard to come by and there is not enough seating for the amount of people who attend.
Are changing tables available?
Yes- in the restrooms. There are also some grassy areas that would be just fine for changing diapers. Trash cans are plentiful.
What about my other “baby” (dog, cat, etc)?
Pets are not permitted “because of the great variety of performing animals in the Festival.”
Is the Festival wheelchair accessible?
The Festival is held in a natural, outdoor setting. Wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs are allowed. The festival website states that they “have disabled accessible parking, disabled accessible portable toilets, and special seating at our Jousting arena.”
Can I have my wedding at the Arizona Renaissance Festival?
Yes. There are a variety of themed wedding packages at the festival to fit any budget. Call ahead to speak with the festival wedding consultants.
WHERE TO STAY
What hotels do you recommend for visitors to the Arizona Renaissance Festival?
Gold Canyon Golf Resort (located a few miles west of the festival) offers special room rates for festival guests.
Is the Arizona Renaissance Festival active on social media?
What else do I need to know before I go to the Arizona Renaissance Festival?
This is a popular event! Crowds can be thick and varied in sensibilities. Patience and a sense of adventure (and humor) will serve you well.
We also noticed that the festival got slightly busier and more raucous as the day went on. Many of the costumes worn are revealing (i.e. bare midriffs and generous cleavage). If these are concerns for your family, you may want to consider getting to the festival right when it opens at 10:00am before the height of the “revelry.”
That just about covers it. Have a great time! HUZZAH!