Renaissance Festival: Crownsville, Md., Becomes Fictional 15th-century Village

WASHINGTON — The Maryland Renaissance Festival is right around the corner, and for nine weekends starting on Aug. 26, it will transform Crownsville, Maryland, into the fictional village of Revel Grove in Oxfordshire, England.

The 15th-century village will be lined with artisan jewelry and pottery gift shops, pubs and food vendors that boast dishes such as steak on a stake, smoked turkey legs and chicken on a lance, to name a few. In its 41st season, the festival brings acrobatics, jousting, stage fighting and more to its 11 stages throughout the 25-acre village.

Every year, the festival emulates a year under the rule of King Henry VIII, and this year the storyline covers King Henry’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn and the subsequent drama that will ruin his marriage with Queen Catherine of Aragon.

“History buffs and people that love a good love triangle will enjoy this year’s storyline,” said Carolyn Spedden, the Renaissance Festival’s artistic director.

She added that while a lot of the acts and performances are repeated throughout the day, the re-enactment of the royal romantic drama, or Royal Court Events, are only performed once a day.

Spedden said that for first-time attendees, the diversity of things to do and acts to see is often a lot to take in.

“The scope of it really shocks people,” Spedden said. “‘I had no idea it was this big,’ is what a lot of people that come for the first time say. And it is big, in the sense that you can’t see everything in one day.”

“From symphonies to opera to theater to NASCAR, there tends to be a demographic for that. That’s not true at the festival,” said Spedden. “It’s very unusual, to see such a range of people come. From families, to single people to seniors. It’s a fun people-watching place because there are people with really different backgrounds and interests that come.”

In terms of attendance, The Maryland Renaissance Festival is the second largest Renaissance Festival in the country, according to Spedden; It has been around since 1977.

Spedden’s No. 1 tip for first time goers?

“We encourage everyone to come early” said Spedden. “Everybody waits till October, so it gets really crowded.”

To encourage people to come earlier in the season, the first three weeks of the festival are discounted, said Spedden.

The fair runs on weekends for the duration of almost two months. Here are the dates, ticket prices and everything else you need to know to prepare to step into the 15th century in the coming months:

Dates for this year’s festival:
Aug. 26 and 27
All Saturdays and Sundays in September and Monday, Sept. 4.
Saturdays and Sundays in October until Oct. 22

Doors open at 10 a.m.

Tickets (regular prices):

Adults (Ages 16-21): $25
Seniors (Ages 62+): $21
Children (Ages 7-15): $10

Children under 7 years old get in free and do not require a ticket.

For discounted ticket prices during the first three weekends, as well as two-day passes, season passes and other ticketing options, visit the Maryland Renaissance Festival website. 

This year’s entertainment schedule includes Royal Court Events and other planned performances and activities throughout the 11 stages in the fair.

Rules:
No refunds or rain checks will be granted.
No pets allowed, except trained service animals,
No weapons.
Smoking only allowed in designated smoking areas
Costumes encouraged.

Below is a map where this year’s Renaissance Festival will take place:

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