Want to explore the Middle Ages with knights, fairies, and other enchanted characters? Don't miss out on the return of the Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival, celebrating 30 years! For the 2023 year, the festival will be held every Saturday and Sunday starting September 30 to November 19. Gates open at 9:30 am but arrive early! Spanning over 25 acres, this historic European festival is one of the largest outdoor Renaissance-themed festivals in the country and includes circus acts, games, rides, jousting knights, falconry, and more.
Have a Merry Ol' Time
The Renaissance Festival welcomes you into the 16th century. Once you cross over to medieval times, you will be greeted by the fine servants of Fairhaven. The stone structures and colorful banners will guide you through this journey. Throughout the village of Fairhaven, you will hear beautiful music ranging from the guitar to the harp. The non-stop music accompanies a traditional Morris dance, an English folk dance executed with swords, sticks, and bells. Thou dost play well!
Throughout the Renaissance Festival, there are many activities and games for you to interact with! You can ride the World's Largest Rocking Horse, spin on Da Vinci's Flying Machine, or sail the high seas on the Voyage to the New World. Bring the kids along for a weekend, ride on a camel, or visit the petting farm! Throw a tomato at a surly peasant at Vegetable Justice, or try your hand at archery! Games & Rides are pay-as-you-play, generally between $2 and $7.
Feast Like a King
Eat, Drynk & Be Merrie! Getting hungry? No worries. With over 20 options for food and drinks at the festival, there are enough options to try something new with every meal! Feast like a King at The Cottage Bakery, devour classic meals like Sausage on a Stick at Lancer’s Kitchen or indulge in the sweet treats at The Waffle & Funnel Cake Inn. And did you even go to the Carolina Renaissance Festival if you didn’t get a turkey leg? If you’re looking for a place to quench your thirst, try Tudor Rose Pub or the Cappuccino Inn!
To close the day, come watch knights in shining armor as they battle for their honor in a jousting match! This modern representation of a Renaissance-era jousting tournament comes from a historical time of chivalry, nobility, and high ideals. By the mid-1200s, the joust emerged as the most common way to prove which of two (or more) knights were superior. Most contests were a “Joust a Plaisir” (for pleasure) in which a winner was declared based on points scored, though some were still conducted “a l’Outrance” (to the death).
Knights strap on the heavy suits of armor, settle astride snorting chargers, take up their lances, and tilt with each other on a large tournament field within the Festival. Watch as the Queen's bravest knights battle for her honor three times daily in the shire's tournament area. You won't want to miss this display of daring deeds of bravery and skill, including a realistic recreation of a joust to the death!
Special Event Weekends
Throughout the Carolina Renaissance Festival, there are certain specially-themed weekends and events that you won't want to miss! From the Pirate's Weekend to the Brewfest Festival, you can find a weekend ideally suited for you.
September 30th - October 1st
Receive 2 Adult tickets for $40 ($24 savings)! Coupon required. Valid for ages 13 and up.
Kid's Free Weekend
October 7th - 8th
Receive 1 FREE Child Admission with the purchase of 1 full-price Adult Admission. Coupon required. Valid for ages 5 - 12 (4 & under, always free).
October 14th - 15th
Learn the time-honored craft of beer brewing! Sample a selection of fine micro-brewed ale (the traditional drink of the Middle Ages), play a series of RenFest Beer Games, and adventurous costumed ladies are invited to strut their stuff in the Saucy Maiden Costume Contest! All in good, clean, fun, of course. Prizes will be awarded. Brewfest activities start at 12:00pm at the Haven (behind Edgewood Stage). Sampling sales end at 3:15, sampling last call is 3:30, and activities end at 4:00 pm.
Celtic Music Weekend
October 21st - 22nd
Win tickets for a return visit and much more! Hunky Highlanders are encouraged to show their stuff in the Men of Skills Competition! Contests include a Test of Strength, a Test of Confidence, and a Test of Skill. All in good fun! Prizes will be awarded. Contests start at 3:00 pm at The Haven (beyond the Edgewood Theatre). Huzzah!
Halloween Daze and Spooky Knights
October 28th - 29th
Enjoy FREE Child Admission with no coupon required for all children 12 and under. Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, the Carolina Renaissance Festival becomes the place to celebrate Halloween! Children and parents alike enjoy the fun and safe trick-or-treating experience with free treats to be found at over 100 locations throughout the Festival Village. And don't miss the children's Halloween Treasure Hunt with Treasure Chest filled with prizes!
Pirates' Christmas Weekend
November 4th - 5th
ARRRRGH! It's foolish pleasures and pirate's treasures! Plunder the Village with early Holiday shopping and save at the Fairhaven Village Marketplace! Spend $250 or more on the day you attend and receive 1 FREE Adult ticket. Spend $350 or more on the day you attend and receive 2 FREE Adult Tickets. You can also win free tickets for a return visit (and other prizes) in the Pirate Costume Contest! Dress as your favorite scurrrrvy dog and win prizes in the Pirate's Costume Contest! Contest at 3 pm for children, and an adult contest to follow immediately after at the Haven (located beyond the Edgewood Theatre).
Time Travelers' Weekend
November 11th - 12th
You don’t need a passport to Time Travel to the 16th Century! Come as you are or dress as your favorite time-traveling character inspired by movies, TV, comic books, science fiction, and/or fantasy - all costume genres welcome! Enjoy book signings by popular local science fiction and fantasy authors! Children ages 5-12 are FREE with a donation of school supplies at the Festival entry (ages four and under are always free).
The Final Huzzah!
November 18th - 19th
Chomp a Turkey Leg before Turkey Day, and don't miss the last chance of the year to experience your best day out in History! Don't miss your last opportunity of the year to experience your best day in History! Children ages 5-12 are FREE with a donation of can food items at the Festival entry (ages four and under are always free).