A Renaissance fair, Renaissance faire, or Renaissance festival is an outdoor weekend gathering, usually held in the United States, open to the public and typically commercial in nature, which emulates a historic period for the amusement of its guests. Some are permanent theme parks, while others are short-term events in fairgrounds or other large public or private spaces.
Renaissance Fair participants generally borrow from a range of history and often incorporate fantasy or Hollywood-inspired elements into a presentation for public entertainment.
Renaissance fairs generally include an abundance of costumed entertainers or fair-goers, musical and theatrical acts, art and handicrafts for sale, and festival food. Some offer campgrounds for those who wish to stay more than one day.
Many Renaissance fairs are set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Some are set earlier, during the reign of King Henry VIII, or in other countries, such as France, and some are set outside the era of the Renaissance; these may include earlier Medieval periods (including Vikings), or later periods, such as 17th-18th Century pirates.
Renaissance fairs encourage visitors to enter into the spirit of things with costumes and audience participation. Many welcome fantasy elements such as wizards and elves
There are a lot of things going on all at once at a renaissance faire or festival. Here is a brief guide of what you might expect if you attend one as a spectator.