The Central Coast Renaissance Festival will turn San Luis Obispo’s Laguna Lake Park into a Renaissance village on July 16 & 17. This is truly the most unique summer festival in San Luis Obispo County.
So what should you expect? From the moment you arrive you’ll see folks dressed quite a bit differently from today’s dress. From peasants to middle class to nobility, the over 500 costumed participants populating the village represent every level of society from the late 1500s in England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Spain and the Far East.
Four stages of entertainment offer everything from music, singing, and dance of the period to comedy shows, ribald juggling shows, magic, acrobatics, storytelling, Shakespeare, buffoonery and much more.
Here’s some advice to get the most from your visit:
1. Get there early to beat the crowds. You can purchase tickets ahead of time athttp://ccrenfaire.com/get-tickets/. Of course, you can get tickets when you get there but this saves standing in line.
2. Wear good walking shoes, wear sunscreen and bring a hat. You’ll probably spend many hours outdoors and we want you to be comfortable.
3. Take photos! These characters have spent countless hours and dollars to get their costumes. No matter how regal they may appear, they are more than happy to pose for a photo. Don’t forget to take photos of yourself, your friends and family too. There are so many wonderful photo opportunities!
4. Watch a show. There are over 25 acts on four stages. All of them repeat at least once so you have a chance to see everything. Look for the posted stage schedules and pick up a program when you enter.
5. Take time to shop. There are over 60 vendors selling period items you will not find anywhere else. From leather goods to pottery, drinking vessels, hats, masks, perfumes, swords, jewelry and full costumes, there is something for everyone.
6. Enjoy the food. By all means try a barbecued turkey leg, the staple of Renaissance Festival food. There are meat pies, bangers, pulled pork sandwiches, tri-tip, ribs, fruit tarts, Thai food, ice cream and much more. You can wash it down with freshly squeezed lemonade, tea, beer, ale, honey mead and fine local wines. There’s even Hawaiian Shave Ice (I know, it isn’t period) to cool you down.
7. Bring the kids. This is a family event. There’s a costume contest at 1:30 on both days for kids. Everyone gets a prize. There are Shetland pony rides for the young ones, face painting, games, storytelling and a magic show they can participate in.
Sunday is Pirate Day and kids can climb aboard a 25-foot pirate ship and enter Buccaneer Boot Camp, where they’ll learn swashbuckling with balloon swords and learn to talk like a pirate. Arrrrr.
There’s also a free pirate’s treasure hunt on Sunday. Kid’s get a booty bag to go about the village collecting treasures from the vendors and guilds.
8. Try the language. When someone greets you with “Good Day My Lord (or Lady),” just say it back. You’ll quickly learn a few phrases that make you feel part of the fantasy.
9. Learn to juggle. The juggling school will have you juggling three balls in 10 minutes. It’s free, fun and good for your brain.10. Wander around. There are twisting trails throughout the forested village. You’ll encounter something enchanting at every turn, whether that’s a roving minstrel, a madrigal group, musicians or a group of fascinating characters.
11. Visit the Royal Court. Queen Elizabeth and her nobles are every bit as impressive as anything you’ve seen in movies and yes, they’ll pose for photos. You’ll see them dancing, entertaining Her Majesty, having a royal feast for lunch, and parading through the village.
Oh, my. The Spanish Armada is sailing to take over England. What will we do? At 4:00 the Queen will address the adoring crowd at the Glorianna Stage to reassure them. You don’t want to miss that.
12. Try something you’ve never tried before. Ever tasted honey mead? We have it. How about handmade root beer and cream sodas, just like in the old days? Yep, we have those too, and they are delightful. Handmade fruit tarts, yes, and have those with some ice cream. It’s heavenly!
13. Get your hair braided. Add some dried flowers. Oh, so pretty. How about a henna tattoo?
14. Really get into the spirit and buy a Renaissance shirt or blouse, a bodice or jerkin, maybe a hat, some leggings, boots… we have it all and are happy to get you properly dressed for the time period.
This is a quick sample of the wide range of things to do, see, eat and enjoy at the festival.
Hours are 10 AM – 7 PM on Saturday and until 6 PM on Sunday. Carpool with your friends and come for the time of your life.
You can purchase tickets ahead of time at http://ccrenfaire.com/get-tickets/ and skip the ticket lines.
Visit http://CCRenFaire.com for more information.