Get ready to step into the year 1585 when Queen Elizabeth I was England’s magnificent monarch. This is the age of legendary characters like William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and a host of famous Dukes, Earls, Lords and Ladies, and you’ll see them all here in all their finery. Remember to remove your hat as Her Majesty parades though the streets with her stunning Royal Court. It’s all happening at the Central Coast Renaissance Festival.
Attend the Royal Joust. This isn’t the make believe stuff you see in Las Vegas – it’s the real thing! Where else can you see men (and women) in full armor atop huge war steeds, charging at each other with lance in hand. Watch as they test their skills at various authentic contest games, ending with real combat. Get there early and prepare to cheer for “your” Knight! For many people this is a once-in-a lifetime experience.
Relax on a shady haybale and watch riotous stage plays and hilarious comedy acts on multiple stages throughout the village. See authentic Elizabethan dancing, plays, singing, a falconry show, juggling acts and buffonery. Throughout the village you’ll see living history demonstrations. The entertainment is amazing and continuous throughout the day.
Treat your tastebuds to a bounty of delicious foods such as BBQ Beef Stick • Chicken Stick • Dragon Dog • Ice Cream • Italian Ice • Meat Pies • Pan Fried Rice & Noodles • Polish Dog • Pretzels • Shrimp Stick • Vegetarian Roll • Corn • salads and more. Of course there are those famous gigantic fire roasted turkey legs that people love to wave about. Enjoy the Queen’s finest ales, beer and wine while being entertained by musicians, rogues and dancers.
Watch peasants, soldiers, merchants and royalty strolling about the village while you enjoy your feast. They, too, are enjoying this summer marketplace just as you are. Don’t be surprised when they greet you in the Queen’s tongue – just say “Good Day” in return. You’ll find yourself slipping into Elizabethan in no time.
You’ll be delighted by over 50 of the finest craftsmen selling unique arts, crafts and goods. From hand thrown pottery to drinking vessels, there is something for every taste and budget. Gentlemen always enjoy shopping from the sword and leather merchants, while ladies can’t resist the array of fine clothing and jewelry. You can even have your hair braided into the most beautiful designs and get a henna tattoo. You’re sure to find a special gift for yourself and someone else.
There is something for all ages. We didn’t forget the youngsters, who will enjoy face painting, pony rides, story telling and games just for them. There’s a children’s costume contest where everyone gets something and the winners take away prizes.
Bring your friends and family for the time of your life. There simply is no other event like this in San Luis Obispo County, and it only happens on one weekend – July 18 & 19 in the Enchanted Forest of San Luis Obispo’s beautiful Laguna Lake Park.
Costumes Welcome But Are Not Required
Don’t think that you have to wear a costume to attend the festival. This is not true! Only the participants putting on and participating in the festival are required to wear costumes (we call it “garb”). You may come as you wish.
However, you are more than welcome to come in a full costume, or perhaps simply wear a peasant blouse, hair wreath or hat that makes you feel more a part of the fantasy. Check out Goodwill for some inexpensive costume pieces. There are plenty of vendors in the festival who have everything you might wish to purchase, from hats, shirts, bodices and breeches to handmade boots and shoes, you’ll find everything needed to become an Elizabethan at any level from peasant to royalty.
If you wish to purchase an inexpensive, ready-made costume, click here.
If you do want to put together a costume, we highly recommend Elizabethan Costuming For The Years 1550-1580 as your guide (it’s also a good shopping guide). It is the best costuming book available for creating a Renaissance costume. You can order it by clicking the link below: