Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post below are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
For the past 26 years, somehow I never made it back to the Georgia Renaissance Festival after my first visit. It’s strange because I hear about it nearly every year. I either used the excuse that it was too far from where I lived, I didn’t have enough money (single mom days) or I heard about it a little too late. Boy do I wish I had no excuses not to go in past years.
Fortunately, thanks to U.S. Family Guide and Atlanta Kids Guide, I was given four complimentary tickets this year in exchange for an honest blog review. I’m so glad I went! There’s so much to share.
We had planned to go last weekend, but I got a pretty serious sunburn (even with SPF 50 sunscreen) the weekend before that and didn’t want to aggravate it any more, especially since the Georgia Renaissance Festival is an outdoor festival. We were able to reschedule with no problem, except that one of my son’s friends wasn’t able to attend. It was just me, my 15-year old son Nicholas and his friend Josh. Travis had to work.
The Georgia Renaissance Festival is an outdoor festival that’s fun for all ages. Children ages 5 and under are free and seniors get discounted tickets. The first time I went, I was around 9 years old. I remember enjoying it, but it was so long ago that my most vivid memory was that I found a $20 bill on the ground. At the same time, my fondness for the festival has stuck in my mind for so long that I’ve always wanted to go back.
Now that I’ve made my long overdue visit, I look forward to coming back year after year. I definitely had more fun as an adult and even my teenage son and his friend / classmate had fun.
There’s so much to do at the Georgia Renaissance Festival that I won’t be able to go into detail for everything. From food and drinks to entertainment and shopping, to crafts and carnival style games in the style of a 16th Century English Village with costumed characters and guests to match, I don’t feel like we saw everything there was to see. The good news is that you can buy discounted return tickets after you enter the gate. The 2015 Georgia Renaissance Festival spanned over 32 acres, so return tickets seem like a must. We’ve got a game plan for the 2016 Georgia Renaissance Festival.
Check out the attractions we were able to see below.
Food and Drink
The first thing the teenagers wanted to do was grab some drinks and get some kibbles. Go figure! We decided on the turkey legs unanimously. It was my first time having one. I barely put a dent in it. It’s rather awkward carrying around a half eaten turkey leg all day. Next time, I’ll bring a crossover body bag with a few empty plastic storage bags (gallon and quart size) just in case, but they did have extra foil available so we could wrap the uncovered portion. I ended trying to push myself to eat a bit more. After finally giving up, I realized I had overdone it because every time I passed a turkey leg vendor, my stomach began to churn, but they were very tasty.
I had checked out the food options at the Georgia Renaissance Festival’s website prior to our arrival to see what was available, since I’m EXTREMELY indecisive, yet still I kinda forgot about the many choices until after we had already had our turkey legs. Next year, I’m getting fried corn on the cob and scotch eggs. Even after barely making a dent in the turkey leg, I was full for the day. It wasn’t until I arrived home around 7 p.m. that I became mildly hungry.
As soon as Nicholas heard the shouting about “BEEF JERKY”, I knew we’d have to try it. The three of us shared from a big slab of hot and spicy beef jerky. Needless to say, we went through a ton of bottled water, but it was only 2 for $5 when you buy them in pairs. I actually found the food and drink prices to be decent. They are a little on the pricey side, but not nearly as pricey as food and drinks at the movie theater or an Atlanta Braves baseball game.
The Royal Value Combo Pack gets you food, drink, games and rides and admission for four, as well as coupons for discounted costume rental and souvenirs. It’s almost like getting your tickets for free.
We spent some of the time together and other times Nicholas and his friend Josh wandered around. You definitely need a map and a schedule of events. Each weekend’s schedule of the Georgia Renaissance Festival can vary. The festival opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. We arrived after 1 p.m., which is a bit later of a start than I wanted to get on the day. Had we arrived earlier, we might have been able to see everything, but I feel like I got to see a good variety of shows. (After typing up this entire post, I’ve realized a return visit is a must. I didn’t see nearly all there is to see). My vote for 2016 is to buy the Royal Value Combo Pack, then either get return visit tickets (discounted after you enter the gate) or just buy 2 Royal Value Combo Packs.
Hypnotist, Rick Stratton
I caught the tail end of Rick Stratton’s stage hypnotism and comedy show when we first arrived, then the three of us caught another one, where I was able to see a bit more of it. I was very intrigued. All of participants on stage were volunteers from the audience. Like Rick says, it’s almost unbelievable except to the audience members who know one of the participants on stage. I’m seriously considering participating next year.
Rick uses the power of stage hypnotism to entertain guests. The volunteers were seduced into thinking they were on a boat, then on the moon, in a spaceship and even convinced that they were the opposite sex. Many volunteers emotions were challenged. It was very interesting to see the hypnotism volunteers go from sad to happy, feminine to masculine and then to “sleep”. I learned that a hypnotized sleep is not real sleep, but the term sleep is used in stage hypnotism to put the body in the ultimate state of relaxation.
Wheel of Death
The Wheel of Death is new to the Georgia Renaissance Festival in its 30th year. Icabod Wainwright, known as The Wheel Walker, performs stunts on a 30-ft tall wooden and copper wheel. I gasped at the thought of danger, I laughed at his comedic entertainment and I was in awe with this performance.
The Tortuga Twins, A Comedy Show
(Rated PG and R)
I absolutely loved the performances by the Tortuga Twins (yes, there are three of them, part of the comedic element), but the ratings are a bit skewed. I saw the entire PG rated show with my 15-year old son and his 15-year old friend, Josh. If you’ve got a wee one, you might find their style to be Shrek-like with many hidden innuendos that go right over their heads, but school-aged children might be curious about some of the meanings of the words and phrases used throughout the comedy show. It’s mildly appropriate for a teenager.
In the PG-rated performance by the Tortuga Twins, they reenacted Little Red Riding Hood using audience participation. The 13-year old daughter of one of the parent’s was severely embarrassed and at one point looked angry. The show, whether you’re watching the PG version or the R-rated version, is not for the easily offended. The participants are not “volunteers”, but rather are picked by The Tortuga Twins from the audience. There are lots of sexual innuendos and even blatant remarks. Nonetheless, it’s entertaining. My son and his friend enjoyed the PG version and went back to see the R-rated version.
Splatter Time Mud Show
The Splatter Time Mud Show is a family friendly comedy show. During the performance I attended, they reenacted Dirty Dancing and even had the audience singing along with “I’ve Had the Time of my Life”.
Giving Tree Drums
(family friendly) Pronounced (vol-guh-moot)
Wolgemut appeared as a special guest artist over Memorial Day weekend 2015 and are new to the Georgia Renaissance Festival. The sound of traditional European music and original compositions written by and for the group are combined with dancing, humor delivering an overall energetic performance. The group certainly lives up to the meaning of Wolgemut, which is “to be in a good mood”.
There was a small petting zoo (free admission with the option to buy feed for $1).
(Not pictured: bunnies)
Kara the Unicorn attracted kids and adults alike. I’m pretty sure the…what do you even call the thing that sticks out of a unicorn’s head…was artificially and temporarily attached, but I was still fascinated.
Then there were goats. This is a baby goat, but there were a few more. You could even walk into the wooden pen and pet them! I didn’t go in because it was crowded. I take pleasure in simply looking at the beauty of the animals.
There were also sheep. Many of the sheep were lined up at the fence awaiting their chance to be fed and pet, but this little guy (or gal) was just relaxing in the shade.
Birds of Prey
I only caught the tail end of this show. I wish I had seen more, but what little I did see was awesome. I got a glimpse of a vulture and the hawk, but the show also features eagles and owls. The hawk was far too fast for me to catch in action as it flew freely above the audience.
Parrots of the Caribbean
There was a small walk-through exhibit featuring free-flying parrots. I love getting close to birds and taking pictures of them. Birds are tough creatures to photograph, but parrots usually sit still with all of their beautiful colors.
Last but not least, the star of the show is the jousting! Actually, I enjoyed every bit of what I saw all around the festival, but you definitely have to see the jousting. We saved the best for last and caught the 5:30 p.m. show.