Recently, my husband and I had our first experience with a renaissance faire, The Valhalla Renaissance Faire; an annual event which takes place over two weekends at Camp Richardson’s Eagle's Nest Campgrounds in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Fortunately for us, and even more so for my four-year-old daughter, the weekend we attended this event was not only a Renaissance Faire but also a Pirate Festival!
The Valhalla Renaissance Faire was very exciting and even somewhat amusingly confusing for my children. They were unsure of what to make of all the people (even infants) dressed in Renaissance, Barbarian, or Pirate attire and the costumed actors who spoke in an unfamiliar language. Everyone, regardless of their outfit, whether working or just visiting, was extremely friendly.
My husband and I have wanted to experience a renaissance faire for over 6 years. We watched several parades, a magic show, a joust, an archery contest, played period games, listened to singing, watched reenactments. We were unable to experience everything the faire had to offer despite having been there all day!
Even with many of the activities being free, be prepared to fight the urge to spend a significant amount of money! There are many enticing and unusual items for you to peruse; a majority of these items are handmade and pricey. One of the biggest temptations is to adorn yourself with period garments. We ended up with a princess for a daughter the last half of the day.
As one of the parades marched by, a vendor was kind enough to point out the renaissance attire of different countries, teaching us how to distinguish the origin of each representative. Many of the people we met were renaissance faire regulars. The folks who attend renaissance faires are definitely an enthusiastic community of costumed individuals, who by-the-way, are more than willing to pose for pictures.
Of all the events, be sure not to miss the Joust. My kids loved it. Though it takes a while to get going (the introduction is somewhat drawn out to build suspense...something that was lost on many of young children present) get there early if you want your child to be able to see the joust.
When attending The Valhalla Renaissance Faire I suggest:
-Wear clothing and shoes you do not mind getting dirty
-Buy your tickets in advance. Many people were lined up to purchase tickets.
-Get there early. As the day goes on, the campground gets very crowded.
-Carry some dollars bills. At some events, performers work solely for tips
*This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Valhalla Renaissance Faire and Pirate Festival. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I express are entirely my own.