Renaissance Festival a sight to behold

"Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machine" is a crowd favorite at the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival. / Hope Cary, Times-News correspondent

Commentary by Hope Cary
Times-News correspondent

   HUNTERSVILLE — The annual Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace has reached its midpoint, running Saturdays and Sundays this year now through Nov. 23.
When we visited on Oct. 26, it was a warm, sunny day to view the festival. A group of singers greeted young girls, dressed as princesses, with a choral rendition of “God Save the Queen.” Beyond this lively introduction was something of a kingdom of wood and plaster buildings. These shops lined a dirt path where vendors and artisans sold their work. The winding path also featured performers — classic bards, stilt walkers and magicians.
   The festival didn’t hold fast to its title. Instead, it combined classical Renaissance with pirate culture, fairy tales, Steampunk and Monty Python references. In this fashion, shops sell pirate gear, fairy merchandise and other eccentric items alongside its contemporary pieces. Shops also sell pastries, toys, candles, banners, handmade shoes and bags, weaponry, handcrafted jewelry, armor, kilts, hand-painted silk and a variety of other items. This merchandise is artisan work; coin jewelry is hand-cut with a jeweler’s saw from coins around the world. A blacksmith demonstrates his craft in one area of the setup, using a lever to operate the bellows that fuel the forge.
Beside these sales, there also were several services and performances. Stands offered hair braiding, face painting, caricatures and massages while games include archery, an axe throw and a classic test of strength. Rides feature a giant rocking horse, a pirate ship swing and “Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machine,” a tip of the hat to the Renaissance artist. A crowd favorite also was the performance of the Tortuga Twins, a group of three jesters that feature a more medieval sort of humor.
The festival itself, however, seemed to center on the grand joust, where a noble hierarchy viewed the event from a royal box, while peasants filled the stands. A lady of chivalry announced the competitors and the rules of the tournament — that should the competitors fail to defeat the other in a certain number of passes, they would fight on foot with short-range weapons. These competitors rode in to the vibrant melodies of the band, one of which being the Rocky theme song — the festival was not short on cultural references.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival was an extremely enjoyable, all-day event that offered a variety of merchandise, services and performances.

 Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays now through Nov. 23. Tickets purchased the day of the event are $22 for adults, $12 for children 5 to 12 years old (children 5 and under will be admitted for free), $19 for seniors 60 and over, $19 for active and/or retired adult military personal and their spouses and $9 for child dependents of active and/or retired adult military personnel and their spouses; children must show dependent military ID. Event is held rain or shine, no pets are allowed and parking is free. For more details, call (877) 896-5544 or visit

Hope Cary is a junior at Western Alamance High School and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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