Michigan Renaissance Festival

Michigan Renaissance Festival
Photo: michrenfest.com
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is one of the longest-running Renaissance fairs in the United States. Founded in 1979, it is held every summer in the village of Holly, Michigan. The festival runs from mid-August thorough late September, attracting about 250,000 attendees from Michigan, surrounding states and even Canada.

Like most Renaissance fairs, the Michigan Renaissance Festival is set in a fictional 16th-century English village during the Elizabethan era. The 17-acre village of Hollygrove has 17 themed stages, reproductions of Renaissance shops and taverns, and even a magnificent castle. Of course, the atmosphere wouldn’t be complete without an assortment of costumed characters including nobles, peasants, wenches, rogues, wizards, vikings, pirates, and even fantasy characters.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival recreates a 16th-century English village to the point that the caste system of the time is recreated as well. The cast is divided into several groups based on their character’s social class. The highest class includes the royal court (nobles and knights), clergy, visiting dignitaries, the mayor and rich middle class. The middle class consists of employed characters, tradesmen and merchants. Finally, the lower class includes farmers, actors, gypsies, beggars and pirates.

One of the festival’s main highlights is continuous entertainment that takes place on themed stages and in the streets. It features full-contact armored jousting, music, dancing, theater and comedy shows, games and activities for children of all ages, sword fighting shows, juggling shows, and more. More than 300 artisans offering unique items and food stalls serving authentic dishes and fair staples complete the experience.

The program of the festival also includes a number of daily royal events such as Pig ’N’ Swig (beer and bacon tastings), pub crawls, Renaissance Romance, Royal High Tea, Feast of Fantasy, and King’s Happy Hour.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival supports the tradition of hosting themed weekends catered towards specialized themes. For example, 2017 themed weekends included Royal Pet & Ale Fest, Highland Fling, High Seas Adventure, Wonders of the World, Shamrocks & Shenanigans, Harvest Huzzah, Festival Friday, and Sweet Endings.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival is known as the main filming location of the 2009 film All's Faire in Love starring Owen Benjamin and Christina Ricci. Costumed participants, festival-goers and local residents were used as extras during shooting. The film was shot in 2008 and premiered on the grounds of the 2009 festival.

Michigan Renaissance Festival

Photo: Dave




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