“Cheer your joisting champion at Shadowgate Downs, rub shoulders with Robin Hood and his Merry men, eat like a King at the Feaste of Fooles, take Tea with the Queen, frolic with the Fairies, battle with the Barbarians, dance with the gentry or the Romani—“
The Kansas City Renaissance Festival, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, invites visitors to do all this and more.
Located in Bonner Springs, Kansas just north of Interstate 70 off K-7 Highway at 130th Street, the festival opened Labor Day Weekend and runs until October 16. Each weekend you will find fun and exciting mini-themes. The remaining themes for this year are:
Irish Fest/Legend Quest with the Clanna Eireanne Irish Dancers, green beer and Irish toasts (September 24-25), Pirate’s Ale Fest with a pub crawl and “Talk Like a Pirate Contest” (October 1-2), Wine, Chocolate & Romance with chocolate vendors, beer sampling, romance bandit and roses (October 8-10) and Italian Carnivale with grape stomping and a mask contest (October 15-16).
Offering something for everyone from age 2 to 92, the Renaissance Festival draws close to 200,000 people to enjoy and engage in day-to-day life in the 16th Century. From culinary delights to apparel, music, dance, societal relationships and more, the mystical, magical 16th Century village of Canterbury delights and surprises.
The kids and I went Labor Day Weekend when the theme was “Middle Eastern Bazaar” featuring a wide variety of shows in 24 different performance areas. The entertainment here encompasses everything from jousting to wench tales, dance lessons, comedy and children’s story times, fire eating, magic shows, Robinhood and his Merry Men, and more—running continuously from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (gates close at 7 p.m.)
Artisans and Food and Drink Galore
One of the things that makes a day at the Renaissance Festival so much fun is the number of visitors who dress themselves, and sometimes their pets (we saw a dog shaved and colored to look like a lavender unicorn – horn and all!), in period costume.
You can also find anything imaginable there from hats and slippers to crocheted accessories, sandals, pouches, jewelry, hair flowers, parasols, and wings, although I got the feeling that many folk already came dressed for the party, they’re so into it! Other items for sale include leather goods, pottery, glass etchings, swords and blades (of course!), mosaic sculptures, candles, woven accessories, dolls, musical instruments, wood mugs, carved stone….you name it and you can find it here.
Culinary options are plentiful as well with the crowd favorite giant turkey legs, plus frozen cheese cake on a stick, grilled chicken, beef and pork tenderloin sandwiches, scotch eggs, root beer floats, kettle corn, Belgian fries, bangers and mash, meatball grinders, bread bowl soups, wings, honey sticks, pizza, crepes and gyros, just to name a few. There seemed to be more health conscious options this year as well with asparagus sprigs, Paninis, Caesar salads, garden burgers, lasagna, sweet and sour chicken, veggie wraps and grilled cheese, crepes and portabella sandwiches added to the menu.
For more information about the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, check out their website at www.kcrenfest.com, or call 913.721.2110.