I usually hesitate to deem one particular place or activity “the best.” It’s rare that you’ll see Top 10 lists here on KFDC; they feel misleading to me. Even my round-up of the best outdoor places consists of more than 60 of them in random order. That’s because “the best” is so personal, specific, and dependent on ages, interests, convenience to where one lives. I have favorites, for sure, but calling something the best generally is a no-no for me.
Except for one thing: Ren Fest.
Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile surely already knows that the Maryland Renaissance Festival is my very, very, VERY favorite annual event in the area. We’ve been going since before we had kids, and bringing them since they were babes. There are a multitude of reasons why it’s my fave — you can go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for more on that — but ultimately I love that at the core, it’s a celebration of the unconventional, a kingdom of mirth, where fun and delight reign and offbeat is normal. Ren Fest is the best. It’s just fact — in my book, anyway.
After very sadly but understandably being cancelled last year, the Maryland Renaissance Festival returns in 2021 starting this weekend, August 28-29! And I oh-so-highly recommend going. I pride myself on the number of people I have converted into Ren Festers — and I promise you want to be among them.
The merriment begins this Saturday, August 28, and runs every weekend, rain or shine, through October 24 in the lovely 16th century-style hamlet of Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Through September 12, admission is $21/adults, $19/seniors, $10/ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under. After that, ticket prices go up to $28/adults, $24/seniors, $13/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available. This year, tickets must be reserved in advance online. There are no day-of, in-person ticket sales.
In previous years, many weekends had special themes, like a Celtic celebration and pirate weekend, with events and activities offered on just those dates. While most aren’t happening this year due to Covid, there still are a few special weekends to be aware of:
* August 28-29: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with adult
* September 6: Seniors day — Free admission for all seniors age 62+
* September 11 & October 10: ASL Interpretation Days – Selected stage shows will be interpreted in ASL
* Bring a stroller or carrier for little ones, as there is a lot of walking. I recommend a stroller that navigates over dirt paths easily.
* Get a map and schedule on your way in to help you navigate and plan your day, but I recommend not overthinking it; Ren Fest is best experienced with a “go with the flow” mindset.
* If there’s a show you really want to see, get to the stage a few minutes ahead of time to get good seats, so the kids have a good view.
* You might encounter less crowds on Sunday, when many folks are watching football.
* Plan to spend on extras like food, games, and fun for kids — all reasonably priced, but it can add up.
* Tickets can sell out, especially on beautiful fall days as the chances to go dwindle. Between that and the new online sales only, you might want to reserve further in advance than usual.
* Consider pros and cons to going at different times: Early in the season, crowds are smaller because it’s usually very hot, and the admission fee is lower. Later in the season, the cool, crisp weather and autumn foliage adds some extra splendor to the visit, but also draws the masses.
* Let the kids dress up! Princesses, knights, fairies, and pirates will fit right in.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD ( get directions)
When: Weekends August 28 – October 24, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $21-28/adult, $19-24/senior, $10-13/age 7-15, free/6 & under