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The Magic of Maryland’s Renaissance Festival

Jousts, Jesters, and Jamborees

For nearly five decades, the woods outside Annapolis have transformed every autumn into a scene of 16th-century revelry at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. With theater, live music, and entertainment around every nook within their 27-acre property alongside delicious food, drinks, and creatively costumed fairgoers, it’s a memorable trip back through the centuries for the whole family. 

From the convenient downtown location of our bed and breakfast in Annapolis, you’ll be less than a 20-minute drive from where all the Renaissance merrymaking happens, and our three elegantly decorated suites date back to the 1770s – you’ll be stepping into history both at the festival and during your stay with us!

Dressing the part at the Maryland renfest. Pedro Blanco - Best Photo - Honorable Mention

Dressing the Part, Art on Display, and Tasty Food & Drink

The merriment begins before you even arrive at the festival, as you can search out costumes to fit the period, whether as a fair maiden, fairy, knight, jester, or whatever era-appropriate outfit you can find or create. Consider it a warmup for Halloween, just around the corner. Or leave it up to the festival pros and rent a costume just after entering the grounds, with several options available for men, women, and children. Note that shoes and hats are not part of the rental costumes. You will need your most comfortable walking shoes. 

Dressing the Part, Art on Display, and Tasty Food & Drink

The merriment begins before you even arrive at the festival, as you can search out costumes to fit the period, whether as a fair maiden, fairy, knight, jester, or whatever era-appropriate outfit you can find or create. Consider it a warmup for Halloween, just around the corner. Or leave it up to the festival pros and rent a costume just after entering the grounds, with several options available for men, women, and children. Note that shoes and hats are not part of the rental costumes. You will need your most comfortable walking shoes.

Start your day with the impressive pipe organ recital at the Lyric Stage, which kicks off the day’s festivities in grand fashion at 10 a.m. From there, meander through the nine pathways that wind through the forest grove amongst wandering jugglers, magicians, and storytellers who bring the scene to life. Stop and browse at the many artisan shops, where you’ll find unique pottery designs at the Dancing Pig, handmade leather moccasins from Catskill Mountain Mocassins, ornate dragons and jewelry from metalworkers, and live glassblowing from the Art of Fire workshop. These arts and crafts vendors are the soul of the festival, bringing their goods from near and far, and it’s the perfect place to do some early holiday shopping.

Spread throughout, you’ll pass by any number of stalls to grab a bite and beverage, including raucous taverns that often break into lively singalongs. The affordable food ranges from fair classics like turkey legs, funnel fries, and corn on a cob to Maryland standbys like crab cakes and crab dip (fun fact – much of America’s crab comes from nearby Chesapeake Bay). Beers are plentiful, as is mead, famously the world’s oldest alcohol, and ideally suited to the atmosphere. Note: Be sure to bring cash, as many food, drink, and crafts vendors do not take credit cards.

Dancing at the Renaissance Festival in Maryland
Chariot racing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Live Jousting, Top-Notch Theater, and Stages Around Every Corner

Before your visit, it’s worth checking out the festival performance schedule beforehand, as there are twelve stages with ongoing shows all day, so you’ll want to avoid missing the ones that most grab your attention. 

The main attraction is undoubtedly the jousting arena, which seats 3,000 people on either side of the central dirt “stage,” where horse riders perform a spectacle of top-tier riding and jousting just feet away from spectators. At the jousting arena, you’ll also find other events like horse trick riding, archery, and the much-loved Birds of Prey show, where you’ll see majestic birds like the European eagle owl and the bright-white barn owl.

On the other stages, check out acts like the Celtic bagpiper band, the One Woman Stunt Show, Storytime in the Grove from different authors every weekend, and delightful performers like Hilby, the skinny German juggle boy. Don’t miss Shakespeare’s Skum, which has garnered acclaim for its comic reimaginings of the Bard’s repertoire, distilling the epics into 30-minute gems of hilarity and wit. The core acting company comprises over 40 actors who make their home here every fall, bringing masterful acting chops to their performances throughout the fest’s nine-week run.

2023 Festival Details

The festival takes place every Saturday and Sunday through October 22nd, 2023, and tickets must be purchased online, with either single-day or weekend passes available to reserve. If you think you’ll be going for two days, the weekend pass is a great deal, making the second day a bit cheaper. If your plans change, refunds are available, but you must inform them of your cancellation by 5 p.m. on Thursday before the day you had planned to attend the festival. 

Parking information and more FAQ’s can be found on the FAQ page of the website

Stay with us in Annapolis and discover the historic charm and unique magic of the Maryland Renaissance Festival!

Media image used with permission from rennfest.com.