The Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville has been on my list of places to visit for a couple of years. During our recent visit to the area we decided it was time. We had a feeling the boys would love it, and they did!
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Carolina Renaissance Festival
Walking through the gates of the Carolina Renaissance Festival is like taking a step back in time. The festival kicks off at the end of September and runs through mid-November. With a variety of entertainment, you’re sure to find something for the entire family.
The festival goes rain or shine. Depending on the weekend you choose to visit, they also have special events. During our visit, it was the Pirates! But prior to that was the Halloween Daze and this coming weekend will be the Time Travelers weekend.
One of the first things we came to was the goose that the kids could hold. I hate that I didn’t get the name of the stop, but they had the best time petting and holding it.
From there, we went on to find other entertainers and a huge selection of shows.
Carolina Renaissance Festival Shows
There are tons of shows happening throughout the day. While some are recommended for adults only, there are still tons of family shows. The hard part is figuring out which shows you want to go to and where they’re located in the festival. We looked over the show times as we walked to see what we could catch. I will say that if you want to see any of the jousting shows, you may want to show up about 30 minutes in order to get a seat. We noticed those fill up really quick and we were never able to time it accordingly in order for the kids to be able to see it well.
Hands down, our top favorite show of the day was the one by Fire Circus, and one I recommend trying to catch if you have kids with you. Gypsy Geoff was an amazing performer and I loved how he brought the kids on stage to join in on the fun. In his show there was juggling, fire and of course balancing tricks.
The Belly Dancers were one of the last shows we caught for the day. It was a great show. The kids enjoyed watching this while they got their bellies full.
On the way out we caught this performer. He was great with the kids as well.
There was a Petting Zoo inside the festival and free to get into. You do have the option to buy a cup of food to feed the animals. It’s around $5 for a cup of food. We didn’t purchase a cup of food, but the kids still had fun petting the animals.
We also went into the Dungeon tour. It’s $2 a person to get into that. It’s a neat little exhibit, but you do need to take time to read stuff along the way. The kids had fun reading and looking at the items on display.
Carolina Renaissance Festival Fare
When it comes to eating at the festival, there is no shortage in selection. From pizza to smoke turkey legs, to sandwiches, you’re sure to find something to please your pallet. They also have a selection of craft beer and sodas. As for the prices, we found them pretty reasonable. The craft beer was priced at around $6 a glass which is what most places charge and well the giant smoked turkey leg was $9. The boys actually shared the giant turkey leg for their lunch. Do be prepared to wait in extremely long lines when it does come to food or drink. Both lines move extremely slow.
All in all our family had a wonderful time visiting the Renaissance Festival. While it isn’t really a budget-friendly event overall, there are ways to make it that way. Some weekends, kids get in free which would save roughly $28. Chances are we’ll eventually take the kids back to this event, but will be timing it on a weekend when they can get in for free.
Things to know when visiting the Carolina Renaissance Festival
I admit that this was one time when I really didn’t do my homework. Normally I plan things accordingly, but for this I wasn’t prepared at all. Here are a few things we learned from our visit:
• Keep in mind that we usually travel on a budget. While this festival is amazing, you can easily drop a lot of money if you aren’t careful. You pay to get in, but a lot of the activities do cost extra along with the food and drink costs since you can’t bring your own. You can bring a sealed bottle of water for everyone in your party. I didn’t see any refilling stations in the festival, but I’m sure there was a water fountain I overlooked along the way. If you do have a baby or special dietary needs, you can bring in your own foods.
• No one in the festival takes debit cards. We didn’t even think about this before we went. Like I mentioned earlier, I completely failed in researching. Be sure to bring cash for food, drinks, activities and tips for the performers. There are ATMs set up throughout the festival but using them does come with a hefty usage fee of over $3.
• I recommend coming as early as possible. That way you can catch as many performances as possible.
Going in, there is a schedule of events. We kept this with us all day.
• If you know ahead of time that you’re going, you can save a little money by purchasing your tickets online or at Harris Teeter. I wasn’t able to find coupons for the day we went, but there are times when kids do get in free.