Jump back in time to the 16th century at this years Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI. It is hard to believe that this wonderful event has been around for 32 years now; but is has, and it is ready to please and entertain lords and ladies of all ages once again this season.
Patrons are welcome to dress-up in renaissance attire and they are encouraged to play along with the staff and performers. Practice your British or French accent as you meet new people. You’ll see elves, faeries, knights, princesses and other characters, some strange and unusual and others lavish and recognizable, as you stroll along. You will feel as if you have traveled back in time.
It’s recommend that you arrive early – beat the crowds – and enjoy the entire day. Take a program from one of the many gatekeepers welcoming you in. Check the times of what performances you want to see and plan your day. There are 16 themed stages of comedy and theater shows with continuous entertainment flowing through the streets of the 15-acre “Village of Hollygrove.”
Popular shows are the Ded Bob Show, Ample and Trite, and the Zucchini Brothers. Become a “Bob Zombie” at the Ded Bob Show, (geared toward a mature audience) it’s always a crowd pleaser, always the same show, but always hilarious. Ample and Trite are very funny with several different shows held each day. This comedy duo is local but they are well known around the country. Audience participation enhances the show and creates a fun and unique performance every time you see them. The Zucchini Brothers are high-energy comedians and talented jugglers. Watch them juggle knives, pins, flaming items, and Spam.
Other crowd favorites are the Washing Well Wenches and the full contact joust. The joust is complete with armored knights on horseback. Witness them battle it out several times a day. Pounding hooves and the crack of breaking lances echo in your ears – it is very intense – be there early to get a good seat.
Many food and drink items are available. Most liked are the turkey drumsticks cooked over an open flame and the soup in a bread bowl. If you like Celtic music and better beer, stop at the Guinness Pub. Located in the center of the village, behind the castle, is this local hot spot. Relax, take a break from the sun and enjoy the sounds of the many musicians scheduled at the pub. If the beverages catch up with you, the restrooms are called “Privies,” and are available in several spots around the festival grounds.
New this year is the Black Stone Castle Café. It offers gourmet menu items, such as Smoked Turkey Wraps, Stuffed Portabella Sandwiches, Prime Rib Salads and more. They also have special themed feasts, including a Pig Roast and Clam Bake.
The Tortuga Twins: 2010 winner’s of Renaissance Magazine’s Best Comedy Group are also new to the festival this year, as well as the Living Fountain, Waterfall Gazebo, and Pub Crawl.
Between stage shows, you may pass time by visiting the nearly 200 merchants. All sorts of wonderful items are available including renaissance period merchandise. There is clothing, jewelry, crafts and even swords for sale.
Shaded by large trees with a castle-themed play structure, the “Children’s Realm” offers free activities for younger visitors. More active festival goers may hop on one of the human-powered rides or visit the games area.
Special events include the Royal High Tea with the queen, entertainment, snacks and of course, tea. And for bawdy entertainment go to the Renaissance Smoker to enjoy cigars and ale with adult humor thrown (21 and older).
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is here and only runs seven weekends. For a complete list of all the festival’s entertainment, food, and themed weekends, visit their web site, www.michrenfest.com or call 800-601-4848. It is a great day with the family or with friends.
If you go: DATES & TIMES: Weekends, Labor Day, and Festival Friday (September 23, 2011) August 20 – October 2, 2011 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. LOCATION: The village of “Hollygrove” is located in Holly, Michigan Dixie Highway between Pontiac and Flint I-75 Grand Blanc exit 106 Follow the signs Parking is FREE TICKETS: At the Gate: Adult: $19.95 Children (5-12): $10.95 In Advance: Adult: $16.95 Children (5-12): $6.50 Children 4 years and under admitted FREE! Seniors/Students (with I.D.): $16.95 Season Pass: Adults: $79.95
Children (5-12): $42.95
Themed Weekends & Special Days:
BUCCANEER BEER FEST (August 20 – 21)
• Pet Fest
• Beer Tasting
• Jack Sparrow Look Alike Contest
• Tattoo Contest
HIGHLAND FLING (August 27 – 28)
• US Canadian Highland Games
• Men in Kilts Competition
• Celtic Village
ROYAL ALE FEST (September 3, 4 & 5)
• BBQ Competition
• Microbrew Beer Tasting
• Clam Bake
WONDERS OF THE WORLD (September 10 – 11)
• Belly Dance Competition
• Wine Tasting
• Sign Language Weekend
ITALIAN CARNIVALE (September 17 – 18)
• Wine Tasting
• Arm Wrestling Competition
• Chili Cook Off
FESTIVAL FRIDAY/MASQUERADE BALL (September 23)
•Educational activities for students
•Night time Festival Celebration
HARVEST HUZZAH (September 24 – 25)
• Traditional Archery Competition
• Homebrew Competition
• Beer Tasting
SWEET ENDINGS (October 2 – 3)
• Chocolate Festival
• Fencing Competition
• Juggling Competition