The Ohio Renaissance Festival opened its village gates in 1990, and has been a popular annual event ever since. Played out over a 30-acre, recreated 16th-century English village, there are more than 100 daily shows on 14 stages and more than 150 costumed characters and arts and crafts shops. As the following guide is for veterans and newbies alike, let’s start with…
WHAT’S NEW IN 2018
MooNiE the Magnif’Cent: This silent comedy show, performed by actor Philip Earl Johnson (a.k.a. MooNiE), involves juggling, balancing, a little magic, and a lot of audience participation.
Shipwrecked Stage: The festival has cut the pirate ship in half and turned it into a stage, where it will host several special guests throughout the festival’s run.
Whiskey Tastings: For the 21+ patrons, obviously, Henry’s Hideaway will hold daily whiskey tastings consisting of five premium whiskeys and instruction.
Things To See
Below is a mere sample of the action, comedy, music, and song on the festival’s 14 stages.
Miami Valley Falconry: This regional educational and conservation group will perform a live birds of prey show, including goshawks and Harris hawks.
Cirqa Brava: The acrobatic duo, Sophia A. Balantine and Marina Petrano, will combine comedy with high-flying aerial stunts.
Christophe the Insultor: This Elizabethan heckler will insult you, your friends, and total strangers in a highly creative and vulgar fashion.
The Mudde Show!: The Tri-State-based Theatre in the Ground company will perform comedic versions of “Dante’s Inferno,” and “Beowulf,” redeeming your awful memories of high school English.
The Knights of Valour: Just to be clear. Unlike other jousts at other festivals, this is a full-contact jousting competition. Yes, you might see someone die, though we hope not.
Oops! Comedy Knife Throwing: Just think twice before you volunteer.
The festival offers a variety of games and rides, including the following: Storm the Castle Climbing Tower, Drench a Wench, Catapulting Frogs, Axe Throw, Vegetable Vengeance, pony, camel, and war horse rides, Jacob’s Ladder, Barrel of Bedlam, Witch’s Hat Slip Giant Slide, and many others.
Family & Friends Weekend: For Labor Day weekend, adults can get two admission tickets for the price of one (Sept. 1-3)
Time Traveler’s Weekend: Dress up as a character from your favorite movie, TV show, comic book, or any kind of sci-fi/fantasy work and get in for $15.72. There’ll be a costume contest, too. (Sept. 8-9)
Pirate’s Weekend: Pirates invade the village with such attractions as the Pirate Stunt Show and Pirate Play Time. Adults and kids can also enter the “Talk Like A Pirate” contest. (Sept. 15-16)
Fantasy Weekend: Don some fantasy finery and join the witches and fairies of the village. There’ll be a fantasy costume contest as well. (Sept. 22-23)
Feast of Fools: The village would be full of various types of fools. The feast includes the Fool Olympics and King of Fools contest. (Sept. 29-30)
Highland Weekend: The village will celebrate Scottish heritage by hosting a haggis eating contest, traditional highlander games, and a knobby knees contest. Albannach, an internationally touring traditional Scottish band, will perform as well. (Oct. 6-7)
Barbarian Invasion: Join the barbaric hordes in a test of strength contest and a turkey leg eating contest. (Oct. 13-14)
Romance Weekend: To celebrate Sweetest Day at the fest, men can enter the Men in Tights Contest while the women compete for who’s wearing the Best Bloomers. There will also be a mass renewal-of-vows ceremony for couples at the chapel. (Oct. 20-21)
Tricks or Treats Weekend: Children 12 and younger can don their Halloween costumes, gain free admission, and trick-or-treat around the village. There will be costume contests for kids and adults and a pumpkin decorating contest for the kids. (Oct. 27-28)
WANT TO GO?
What: Ohio Renaissance Festival
When: Sept. 1-Oct. 28, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Renaissance Park, 10542 East State Route 72, Waynesville
Cost: $21-23 (adults), $9.50 (kids aged 5-12), $60 (adult season pass)
More info: 513-897-7000 or www.renfestival.com