King Henry VIII has been welcoming his minions to the Georgia Renaissance Festival since May, 1986 (not 1985 as some sources claim) and whether you use the full name or shorten it to "Renfest," it simply translate to fun.
Henry VIII of England was married 6 times during his reign from 1509 to 1547 and oversaw the Reformation. The Georgia Renaissance Festival recreates the era of his rule with knights in armor, court jesters, kissing wenches, jousts, and many other surprises.
The Fair, which began in 1986, was originally at a small location, but moved the current location off I-85 Exit 61 (GA 74) in the 1990's. Today the festival uses a 32-acre site.
No matter how you spell it (or misspell it), The Georgia Renaissance Festival is one of the biggest events in the Southeast. From April to the first full weekend in June, Georgia's medieval warriors venture out to do battle in traditional garb, perform Shakespearian plays, and jest and juggle.
Be sure to get there early to watch the opening ceremony, where the king and queen are the first to arrive to the cheers of everyone. Actors portray nobles, peasants, -- there's even a jester. Once inside, the Renaissance Festival offers a continuous barrage of fun and festivities for the whole family. As you follow the king and queen inside, you'll see things for the kids like the Corkscrew Slide, a tower with a slide wrapped around it with ever-expanding circles. Mom and Dad can pick up a pint at the pub nearby, then its off to one of the many stages, shops or rides throughout the park.
Everybody has a favorite, and one of ours that traditionally performs at the open-air venue is the Zucchini Brothers, Ripe and Green. These talented jugglers keep the crowd interested by combining acts of skill and precision with humor. But one slip could cost these guys a finger, or something worse. Magic is also a traditional medieval entertainment and the Renfest has an excellent magician as well and musical groups, frequently playing traditional instruments.
Of the acts we consider "must see," are the Birds of Prey, an excellent demonstration of the prowess of large birds - an eagle, owl and hawk. When we were at the show the eagle decided to perch on a nearby tree to the chagrin of a smaller bird who had no problem in letting the eagle know he wasn't happy. The Tortuga Twins (actually they are triplets who don't look like each other), whose bawdiness might not be suitable for younger children, are also on our must see list. Cast in Bronze: Music of the Carillon was also a favorite, but the musician no longer performs at this venue.
Of course the highlight of the Georgia Renaissance Festival is the jousting. Although there are three different jousts, the main one is announced by a parade through the village as the street performers gather with the king and queen to lead visitors to the exciting highlight of the day at the Joust Field. Here experienced riders mount garbed horses and take turns trying to knock each other off the horse, just like they did in the days of King Arthur, Lancelot and Ivanhoe. We always get caught up in the excitement, choose a favorite and add our voices to the resounding cheers of the other people.
About North Georgia tips:Plan on getting there early and spending the whole day when you go. The entire venue is outside, so dress appropriately for the weather that day. This means wear a light jacket for the cool mornings, bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and visors for sunny days and umbrellas if its raining.
You may not bring food into the festival area. Dogs are allowed on one weekend only, so check the website for the dates. Paths are grass/dirt and you can do a good deal of walking, so comfortable shoes or hiking boots are a good idea. There are plenty of benches to sit on if you get tired and plenty of food. Bathrooms are strictly portable, so you might want to bring some hand sanitizer for cleaning up.
Directions: Fairburn, GA is on I-85 southwest of Atlanta, at Exit 61, SR 74/Senoia Road. From the intersection of GA 400 and I-85, take I-85 south for 26 Miles to State Road 74. Turn right and travel 2 miles to the entrance on the right.