Thanks to Yellow Scene, one of the magazines I’m interning for this summer, I got free tickets to the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a tradition to Colorado for the past 39 years.
I have never been to the Renaissance Festival, so this was my first time going. My mom came with me because she was the only other person in my family who expressed interest in going. One of my roommates I had my freshman year of college works there (she’s a “soda wench”!) and she encouraged me and everyone I was friends with to go. I wanted to go last summer, but my schedule was too busy with work, so I never really had a weekend off to go. This year was the perfect opportunity, and this past weekend was the last weekend for the summer, so it was our last chance to go.
The Renaissance Festival is in Larkspur, about 20 minutes south of Castle Rock. The landscape for the festival is perfect, seeing as it’s this whole little village nestled in the forest with the mountains as a backdrop. It reminds you of something out of a movie that takes place during that time period.
There were so many people going to the Festival. The parking lots were filled to the brim with cars. People of all walks of life went to the festival; parents with kids, friends in their 20s, teens, the elderly. You name it, they were there. Not only that, a lot of people dressed up to attend the Festival. Many people were in “Renaissance” garb; men in kilts, all the way to a D’Artagnan look-a-like, and women in ornate princess costumes. It is probably one of the only events where dressing in costume in public is socially acceptable.
The village itself is huge. Neither my mom nor I expected it to be as large as it actually was. We didn’t even get to explore the entire place, it was that big. The benefit of it being that size was it helped to distribute the crowd so that it wasn’t crowded in one place. The sheer number of vendors the festival had was incredible. From soaps to journals to belts, the Festival sold everything you could imagine…and it was all handmade (not going to lie, I was lusting over some of the leather journals they had there!). A lot of the vendors made their living just from selling at Renaissance festivals all over the country, which I found interesting.
For lunch, we had the turkey drumsticks, which was a specialty. They were absolutely huge, but absolutely delicious. I was surprised at the variety of food they had. From the drumsticks, to steak on a stake, to baked goods, they had something for practically every palette. And their prices were reasonable too. Not too expensive, which makes the outing affordable (granted, you have to pay for admission, but still). The food was spread out throughout the entire village so it could be accessible no matter what part of the village you were at.
To escape the heat, we caught a show at one of their theater-type venues. It was a comedy show with these two women (Washing Well Wenches, I believe it was called). It was hilarious because they interacted so much with the audience and integrated it throughout the show. Their last bit was my favorite: they called three men up to the stage who wanted to win a carnation for their lady and in order to do that, they had to do ridiculous tasks in order to win the flower. Needless to say, those men must have really loved their women because some of the tasks really questioned their manlihood.
Our last venue was the jousting, because you can’t go to a Renaissance festival without seeing jousting. It definitely reminded me of A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger. It was a definitely a spectacle for the audience, seeing as it was kind of staged, but none the less, entertaining. It was the perfect way to end the day.
Mom and I both agreed that it was a fun day. We are alike in that we like to try new things and this was the perfect thing to do. If you don’t mind the quirkiness of the entire Renaissance Festival scene, from the costumes, to the shows, to the food and to the “huzzah’s,” then this is the perfect thing to experience at least once.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until next year to visit the one in Colorado.