Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Bay Area Renaissance Festival
Photo: bayarearenfest.com
Although Renaissance fairs typically recreate medieval English villages or towns, they are a phenomenon largely confined to the United States. There are at least several dozen long running Renaissance festivals in the US that are held every year. One of them is the Bay Area Renaissance Festival that takes place in Tampa, Florida.

The inaugural edition of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival was held in 1979 in Largo, Florida. It featured only a handful of entertainers including dancers, jugglers, mimes and archers. The festival was a success so it was decided to make it an annual affair. The second festival had a marketplace, food booths and a human chess tournament.

Over the years, the fair has grown into a full seven weekend event to accommodate growing demand and attendance. The festival was relocated to Tampa in 2004. It has a permanent site located near the Museum of Science & Industry.

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is held in the fictional village of Fiddlesworth during the rule of King Henry VIII (the first half of the 16th century). It is one of the first Renaissance fairs of the year, running from mid-February to early April. The festival is open weekends, rain or shine, offering its attendees 7 themed weekends, 12 stages of entertainment, jousting tournaments, food booths, and more.

Like most other Renaissance fairs, the Bay Area Renaissance Festival has a large marketplace where local artisans sell unique handmade goods as well as traditional and modern day foods and drinks. Every year more than 100 merchants contribute to the charming atmosphere of Fiddlesworth.

The program of the festival features exciting performances by a variety of artists including minstrels, puppeteers, magicians, court jesters, and dancers. Among the main highlights are full armor jousting competitions, arts and crafts for children, a live mermaid cove, fairground rides, beer and wine tastings, and roaming musicians. Traditional themed weekends allow to incorporate the elements of other epochs and even fantasy elements into the Medieval village without them feeling out of place.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Photo: Walter



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