One thing that can’t go unnoticed at the Ohio Renaissance Festival is the enthusiasm of the attendees.
We spent a day there last fall to see what the spirit of the event is all about. After a short wait to park just after opening, the parking area was full of festival-goers donning their favorite Medieval garb for the weekend Barbarian theme. Even with temperatures reaching into the low 90s, one man was wrapped in a fur piece to go with his kilt.
Just ahead of me, in the next line over, was what appeared to be a Norseman complete with a horned helmet, fur-lined leather vest and a three-foot-long sword sheathed in leather down the length of his spine.
Nobody cut in line.
The 30-acre Ohio Renaissance Festival grounds are designed to resemble a 16th-Century English village and are filled with mature trees, which really come in handy on 90-plus degree days. Period-style buildings house merchants, artisans, eateries and craftspeople.
Food vendors are located throughout, offering food for almost every liking, starting with hot dogs and ending with steak on a stake. One very authentic-looking Middle Ages favorite is the giant turkey leg.
There is entertainment at every turn, including roving artists and Queen Elizabeth I herself, who travels with her court throughout the festival grounds. Fourteen performance spaces showcase swordsmen, fire eaters, story tellers, actors, musicians and comedians.
Or you can entertain yourself with the many games in Gamers Grove. Try your hand at throwing axes, knives or stars. Drench a Wench (a 16th-Century dunk tank) is available, or you can take the kids on the Ship Swings powered by a friendly Pirate.
A full armor joust takes place three times a day. In the Guinness Arena of Champions, Queen Elizabeth opens the joust after her arrival. The knights are introduced and make ring-catching runs through the arena to warm up the crowd.
Wearing armor that weighs nearly 150 pounds, two knights take five runs at each other, receiving blows from the blunted joust. It was a crowd-pleaser that day, and it remains the biggest draw at the Renaissance Festival.
The Ohio Renaissance Festival is open weekends through Oct. 28.