The author with friends at the PA Ren Faire.
The author with friends at the PA Ren Faire.

Arguably the nation’s best renaissance festival, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire at Mount Hope Estate celebrates its 30th season starting August 14, 2010. Faire staff and guests roam the faire grounds—you’ll meet pirates, fairies, knights, maidens, wenches and maybe even the queen herself.

The event is generally a family-friendly one, though parents should mind the language and behavior of other patrons. As a faire-goer, I can tell you that at times, a guest in costume has a few beverages and retains an in-character persona for the duration of his or her time there.

The faire contains several events. The shows are free of charge with price of admission (tipping always appreciated). The absolute must-see event at the PA Faire is an act called Barely Balanced. These folks perform stunts with two awesome elements: humor and fire. Barely Balanced is also an amazing photo opportunity for amateur and professional photographers. If you’re handy with a camera, you should also consider entering the 2010 photo contest (complete rules here).

Visitors may come to the faire in mundane garb (regular clothes) or in costume. Though it’s a renaissance faire, fantasy elements are welcome and frequently displayed. All weapons must be peace bound, even if they are made of latex.

The faire offers a reasonable selection of food including “steak on a stake” and soup in a bread bowl, my personal favorite. If you’re wearing a bodice for the first time, don’t forget to eat slowly—this will prevent cramping and gas. Always eat well in advance of corset-removal to minimize further problems associated with sudden stomach expansion.

You can also try your hand at many games played throughout history including Jacob’s ladder (not pretty in a kilt), knife throwing, archery and star-throwing.

The faire also runs themed weekends, so be sure to check the schedule. Popular weekends include Scottish Weekend, Irish Weekend and Oktoberfest.

The PA Faire is also known informally as a place for geeks to meet up with existing friends and meet new folks. If you’re into men in kilts or women in bodices, skip the online dating service and head to the faire—you won’t regret it.

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire occurs on weekends plus Labor Day Monday on August 14-October 31, 2010. Faire is open from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on these days.

For complete information and directions, please visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire website. If you have questions about the general culture of the faire or recommended vendors and acts, please leave your question below and I will gladly respond.

WHEN: Weekends plus Labor Day Monday, August 14 – October 31, 2010
WHERE: The Grounds of Mount Hope Estate (775 Lebanon Rd, Mannheim, PA)
COST: Adults $29.95, Children $9.95

Home Technology Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire 2010: Season Starts August 14