Saturday, May 12, 2012

Utah Renaissance Festival - Part 1

Sir Edward on Lady Chaos

Food, performers and jousts, oh my!  On Friday afternoon we ventured back in time to the Utah Renaissance Festival and Fantasy Faire.  This event takes place on a farm in Marriott-Slaterville, Utah, the first three weekends in May.  It was my first time attending, and I am now a fan.

Vendor booths along the dirt road at the Festival.

What is a Renaissance Festival, you ask?  This particular version includes vendor booths for your shopping pleasure.  Here you will find jewelry, clothing, decorative items, costumes, swords, and more.  You can try your hand at shooting a toy crossbow or try on pieces of armor.  As you can see, you will be walking on dirt roads and pathways.  Plan on shoes getting very dusty!

Chain mail and an axe, what more could a kid want?

We drove from Salt Lake City to the Renaissance Festival in about an hour (we experienced some minor traffic delays).  We planned to be there in time to see the last joust of the day, and made it in plenty of time. The festival is open basically during daylight hours, closing at 8pm in the evening. Since this is on someone's farm property, don't expect a lot of amenities.  Hand sanitizing stations are set up in a few areas of the fair, and there are portable toilets stationed along the way as well.  Logs and a few benches provide seating at the performance areas.

Statue tucked along the path.

I loved this statue along the way, with a sign encouraging children with wandering parents to wait by the angel until their parents were located.  It was not crowded on Friday afternoon, and we browsed through the booths at our leisure.  It was great to see some of the costumes people had.  Many were quite elaborate.

Wooden wares at a vendor stall.

One thing I enjoy at festival events is talking with some of the vendors.  We met some very nice people and saw some beautiful creations.  If you wish to create your own Renaissance or pirate costume, many quality pieces were available here.  

Leather hat suitable for any high class pirate.

Captain Jack wanders the festival, in a very convincing costume and sounding surprisingly like Johnny Depp.  When my husband spotted him drinking bottled water, he teased Jack about the rum being gone (surely you have seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and get the reference, right?)  We also found a pirate ship you can rent.

Pirate ship in a field.

After wandering in the hot sun for awhile, we were working up an appetite.  Food available at the festival includes hot dogs and burgers, and also crepes (at The Holy Crepe stand), turkey legs, and deep fried items (at Deep Fryer Tuck's). The hand-cut fries at the turkey leg stand were tasty.

I sample a turkey drumstick.

I have heard about deep fried Twinkies before, so I couldn't resist trying one.  Pretty tasty!  The creme filling gets all melty during the deep frying, and although it is probably a heart attack-in-waiting, it was fun to try.

Deep-fried Twinkie.

My daughter opted for deep fried cookie dough.

There are scheduled performances throughout the day.  The acts vary from musicians and dancers, to comedy acts and jousting.  I enjoyed the music from a cellist and harpist that accompanied our dinner.

The musicians were great.

The jousting Knights of Mayhem were by far my favorite performance of the festival.  We also saw a firedancer and the acting group "The Outlaws."

A "firedancer" performs.

It was nice to rest in the shade and watch this firedancer.  She "swallowed" fire early on, and then each set of fiery objects she danced with had progressively larger flames.  It was a nice little break.  This act was followed by "The Outlaws."  Although the lead actor was quite charismatic, the group needs better material. An early site gag was quite clever, but the act quickly deteriorated, and we slipped away early.

The Outlaws performing act.

Some of the booths we did not enter offered things like face painting or fortune telling.  In an early version of a Las Vegas wedding chapel, there was a small church building where couples could have a hand fast ceremony for fun.  We also passed an area with carnival type tossing games for children.

Advertising games for kids.

Various tossing games in the "Storm the Castle" area.

We saw cannons being fired and marveled at a large trebuchet.  I think my hearing may still be a bit off from those cannon shots...they were loud!

Every festival should have a trebuchet!

All in all, we had a great time at the Utah Renaissance Festival.  Once you purchase your ticket, it is valid all day, and you can come and go from the festival as you please.  Getting there is relatively simple.  Exit I-15 at exit 346, and head west.  Although the website promises once you leave I-15 road is well marked with festival signs, be warned that the signs are small.  Watch carefully for yellow signs hanging on posts on the left (south) side of the road as you travel west from the I-15 exit.  We had to really pay attention to spot them.  

This larger banner is hanging where you turn off Pioneer Road onto a dirt road.  Follow this road as it curves around, and someone will direct you to a parking space in a field.  Voila!  You have arrived!

Parking at the festival.

The festival costs $12 for adults, with a $2 discount if you come in costume.  It is a small festival, and I would actually love to see it grow into a larger event.  We had a very nice afternoon here, and would recommend it as a nice little escape.  Read about the jousting in part 2 of my visit to the Utah Renaissance Festival!

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