Every weekend in November the small town of Hammond, Louisiana, takes people back in time to a historical 16th century village (Albright) in England. The Louisiana Renaissance Festival (aka: RenFest) has been a popular destination since the year 2000, celebrating all things from the renaissance era. Here are the top 6 Reasons You Need To Attend The Louisiana Renaissance Festival:
1) The Shows & Events – There is no lack of entertainment at RenFest. At the festival (open at 10am) you’ll find many free shows that will transport you back to days of old. Whether you like comedy, music, juggling, or action, there is something for all ages. Each show lasts 20 – 40 minutes depending on the show. I recommend that you acquire a map & schedule of daily events at the entrance (for free) so you know when and where things are going on. Also, if you want a seat, you should get to the shows about 5 to 10 minutes early. Some of the fan favorite shows and events at RenFest are:
- Jousting: This is by far the top event to see. The Jousting Arena is set up at the far end of the property and has several bleachers set up for viewers. The show is great. There is an emcee who narrates the events as two knights come out bearing their colors and the narrator divides the crowd to root for their knight! Of course, there is actual jousting as the knights race toward each other with their lances and strike each other for points. There is also hand to hand combat as well. Besides the action, you will find yourself laughing as the two knights play to the crowd.
- Falconry Show: Another great show at the Jousting arena that has owls, hawks and falcons flying freely in this demonstration. Nearby is a tent where you can see these magnificent birds on their perches before and after performances. You can also have your picture taken with some of them.
- Pandorium Belly Dancing: Over by the Lakeview stage, you can watch gypsies belly dancing. What is great is not only do they do the typical belly dancing to the accompanying troubadour band but they also tell stories with their dances that kids of all ages enjoy.
- Shakespeare Approves: This show replaces the Robin Hood Presents at the Queen’s stage. If you want to experience Hamlet in a comedic fashion, then this is the show for you. William Shakespeare hosts as he tells the story of Hamlet using people from the audience to as his characters. Its a great way to get the family involved and laugh the whole time.
- The Duelists: Outside of Jousting, this may be one of the best shows at RenFest. You can find 3 showings of The Duelists at the King’s stage. The Duelists demonstrate the 10 steps in every epic duel. They showcase hand to hand combat using a variety of weapons—rapiers, daggers, swords and shields, axes, the halberd, maces, whips and more. On top of the exciting sword play, the show is chocked with humor and innuendo that will make you laugh out loud. Be warned, although they invite hecklers to jab at them throughout the show, they do jab back in a fun and comedic way.
2) The Food & Drink – No festival in Louisiana would be worth its salt if it didn’t have unbelievable food and drinks – RenFest doesn’t disappoint. At the fest you will find all kinds of fair and festival foods typical of both Louisiana and the Renaissance era.
For unique Renaissance foods, look for Turkey Legs, Pretzels, Scotch Eggs, Beef on a Stick, Shepard’s Pie, and a variety of warm soups served in bread bowls. If that doesn’t appease you, there are burgers, nachos, Chinese food, Mexican food, and even a donut tent. For dessert, you can find an array of treats like fudge, cotton candy, brownies, candy apples and frozen chocolate covered cheese cakes, among the many options.
To wet your whistle, you will find plenty of beer and wine options throughout the fest. They even have several pubs in Albright Village where you can grab a pint, sit, and listen to troubadours or catch a show. For non alcoholic options they have root beer floats, bubble tea, and a make your own flavor of soda booth. For the less adventurous drinker, colas, water, tea, and coffee are also available.
3) Rides and Games – At any festival or school fair you can always expect to see rides and games of chance or skill. However, at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival expect to see unique versions that test your medieval skills.
The rides are not only a sight to witness, but fun to experience. You might recognize various carnival rides from modern festivals, but with the twist of old school mechanics. You will see merry go rounds with powered by small horses, the swinging sea dragon ride made to look like a hippogriff and swung with pullies, or a tea cup like ride called the Crow’s nest spun by men around a pole with ropes and pegs. There are also a couple of renaissance era themed rides such as a Sliding Joust where you ride a wooden horse and slide down a track while holding a lance hoping to spear the hoop against an opponent coming from the opposite direction.
As for carnival games, there are tons of options for the knight in training. You can showcase your skills at archery, knife throwing, axe throwing, blow darts, cross bow shooting, catapults, and a rotten tomato throw at the village jester. If you have little ones that you don’t want hurling weapons around, don’t fret there are plenty of fun activities for the wee ones as well.
4) The Shopping – One of the fun things to do at any festival is window shop the various arts, crafts of miscellaneous merchants pawning their wares. At The Louisiana Renaissance Festival you won’t be disappointed in the merchants and what they have to offer. RenFest offers everything from jewelry, hats, and toys to weapons, magic wands, kilts, and period costumes. It is one of the few places perhaps in the world where even children will be happy to explore the shopping booths.
5) The Costumes – As you would expect, there are countless volunteers and workers decked out in full costumes throughout The Louisiana Renaissance Festival. Dress includes a wide assortment of costumes from pirates, knights in armor, simple medieval renaissance peasants, scots in kilts, and characters dressed as royalty.
What is interesting, is that not only are the workers of RenFest dressed in costumes, but also many attendees. You will see men walking into the festival wearing a kilt while holding the hands of little princesses and even a little Iron Man. Feel free to wear your favorite renaissance costume to the festival, you will fit in just fine as it is actually encouraged by RenFest with their daily costume contest held at the Queen’s Stage.
6) Ye Royal Village of Albright – As said earlier, The Louisiana Renaissance Festival has created a historical 16th century English village (Albright) on their 16 acre property in Hammond, Louisiana. The village is built around a small lake located in the center of the property. The experience the beauty of the property as you stroll amid pine trees.
Walking the Royal Village of Albright is an experience in itself. Of course there are shops, food booths, rides, games, and shows but the village comes alive as characters reenact the renaissance period.
You will various period demonstrations, including baking, butter churning, glass blowing, blacksmithing, and sewing. You can even take a tour of a medieval dungeon museum where you can learn different torture techniques used during the renaissance era.
For more information about purchasing tickets or seeing the schedule of events about the Louisiana Renaissance Festival visit their website at www.Larf.net. However, if you would like to ask us questions or share with us your RenFest experiences, leave a comment below! Huzzah to the Commenters!
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