Visit a Centuries-old Village
For the last 40 years, families from across the state – and even out-of-towners – have been traveling back to the 16th century by trekking an hour northwest of Detroit to the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly. The annual event, spread over several themed weekends, takes place in a recreated town that covers 17 acres and includes merchants, food shops, entertainment and, of course, a castle.
Families are welcome to get into character by wearing period attire – yes, it’s time for your kids to break out their best princess, knight or jester costume (maybe even a mix of all three?).
“I think what makes the fair so fun is the escapism – you’re transported back in time to a 16th century village,” says Cathryn Blake, a representative from the Michigan Renaissance Festival. “And everything kids hear about in fairy tales comes alive here.”
Don’t miss taking your family to the Children’s Realm (that’s where the fairies tend to gather), where kids can be knighted by the queen. Blake also encourages families to arrive early to make the most of the experience.
“Like any theme park, the earlier you get here, the better place you’re going to have in line and the more you’ll be able to see.”
Become Part of a Knight’s Tale
Fairies from around the world take over the realm one weekend. And the next? Kilt-clad legions perform on one stage and Celtic dancers on another. Storytellers, heroes and other themed weekends follow, so there’s something new to discover every time your family ventures to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire Aug. 4-Oct. 28 about an hour and a half west of Philadelphia.
“I’d let first-timers know not to miss the ultimate joust tournament that takes place every day at 6 p.m,” explains spokesperson Candace Smith. Another distinguisher?
“The food is a step above,” with a classically trained chef on staff and a new beer hall in the works. parenfaire.com.
Go on a Royal Quest
Your kids will have a tough time deciding among the 16 different stages featuring music, sword-fighting, jugglers and more at the Bristol Renaissance Faire July 7-Sept. 3 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Chicago. As part of the fun, kids ages 4-11 can take part in the action with Kids’ Quest. They’ll help the Order of The Mice find a prince and princess among the crowds. The adventure lasts around 20 minutes. renfair.com.
Photo by Jessie Voigts