By CHRISTINA HEATON
The annual Georgia Renaissance Festival located in Fairburn, Ga., is finally underway this month with over 1,000 volunteers taking part in the recreation of 16th century European customs. Festivities include traditional costumes and nearly 10 stages of music and comedic shows, as well as a real-time equestrian jousting routine.
The Georgia state sponsored event will be hosted each Saturday and Sunday through the months of April and May, and finally concluding on the first weekend of June. Doors open each weekend at 10:30 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. The festival will also be open during Memorial Day and will observe the same weekend hours. The park provides free parking and free admission for any children under the age of 5 years.
Popular 16th-century food is also served daily at the park. Food items generally include salted meats, rice, spices and oatmeal. Stephanie Riascos attended the event this past weekend and spoke of the interesting food selection.
“I loved the food. I had never seen anything like it before, but it was really good” Riascos said. “It was served on a big silver platter and looked just like something out of a movie.” Traditional 16th-century beverages were also served at the event. Attendees can expect to see drinks such as grape juice (wine imitation), milk and cider.
In addition to the food and shows, art galleries and gift shops line the streets of the park. Children can also partake in face painting, bounce houses, and wagon tours. One of the most popular activities at the park is a large corn maze. The maze sits just inside northern section of the park and allows children to make their way through the puzzle and earn a prize upon completion. Rock climbing, archery and dart throwing highlight some of the other events.
The actors are not the only ones dressed for the occasion. Guests are encouraged to dress in their finest Renaissance costumes and are asked to actively engage with the other participants and actors. Samantha Holsclaw’s children celebrated their birthday at the festival this weekend.
“My husband and I both dressed up and we had a great time. I couldn’t have asked for more. Everyone was very nice, and most importantly, I had two happy babies when I went home,” Hosclaw laughed.
Melissa Mateo, who also attended the festival this weekend, was impressed by the actors at the event.
“I couldn’t believe how good these actors were,” Mateo said. “They had perfect accents and you could tell that they really enjoyed taking part in the show.”
She also visited the Jousting Arena and spoke of how genuine and realistic the jousting show appeared.
“The jousters were amazing. It was definitely my son’s favorite part of the experience. He loved watching the knights ride up and down the track on their horses. It was just unbelievable,” Mateo said.
Mateo already plans to come back with the rest of her family during Memorial Day weekend.
“We have family coming down from up north and I know the kids will absolutely love it. We’re coming back; that’s for sure,” Mateo said.
The festival is held almost entirely outdoors and is a handicap friendly park. Special arrangements can be made if wheelchairs or other motorized vehicles are necessary upon attending.