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Bristol Ren Faire open on Labor Day of final weekend of 2014

Queen and her Royal Court at Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisc.
Queen and her Royal Court at Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisc. Christine Nyholm

The Bristol Renaissance Faire, voted “Country’s Best Renaissance Faire” for the third consecutive year in 2013, is open through Labor Day, September 2, 2014. The step back into the past runs nine weekends during the summer months and is open this weekend, Saturday., Sunday. and Monday. in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

This summer’s 27th annual Bristol Renaissance Faire features the same perennially popular compliment of 16th Century merriment, music, food and games that have repeatedly earned top national honors from subscribers of Renaissance Magazine and the Renaissance Festival Podcast, along with some new twists, like a super-charged joust that producers are touting as the most exciting in the country.

An explosive spectacle of thundering horses, bone-crushing hits and surprise theatrical finales, this summer’s joust raises the bar on Faire-goers’ favorite spectator sport. Knights boldly fight to be the day’s champion through a series of equestrian endeavors and alternating tests of skill, then determinedly compete to best one another in fully armored jousts of adrenalin-pumping intensity. The lances are solid, the hits real, the tempers genuine, the dynamics ever-changing, and the outcomes edge-of-your-seat unpredictable.

Also among the unprecedented, Bristol’s interactive, multi-player fantasy game, RenQuest, features a new DaVinci-inspired story line. Queen’s College is this summer's new immersive environment in which Faire-goers can learn period skills ranging from basket-weaving and candle-making to chain-maille construction. Further enhancing the living landscape of the 30-acre village, an expanded Bristol Marketplace welcomes an eclectic array of resident merchants and rotating guest artists; stages will resound with one of the best line-ups of nonstop entertainment todate, and always-bustling streets are dotted with an extravagant entourage of larger-than-life animal puppets.

Sixteen Bristol entertainment stages feature nonstop music, merriment, feats of daring and an eclectic assortment of comedic performers who invite their audiences to become part of the act. Joining Faire favorites, including Dirk and Guido, the comedic sword-fighting duo known as “The Swordsmen,” ropewalker, juggler and foolish mortal MooNiE the Magnif’Cent, Guinness World Record-holding fire whip artist Adam Crack, the Barely Balanced acrobatic comedy troupe, and the Sturdy BeggarsTM Mud Show, will be a breathtaking aerial silk act making its U.S. debut at Bristol this summer. Suspended from the trees of the wooded Faire site, the Draiku aerial duo will provide a dazzling display of airborne Chinese Dragon artistry.

Kids Quests provide the Faire’s younger patrons, ages 4 to 10, with two daily opportunities to embark on their own, age-appropriate adventures. Led by Jack and Jill, the 30-minute quests team youngsters with Bristol’s fairy tale creatures in a search for treasure and excitement.

Other popular, kid-friendly diversions include mad-cap tea parties with Lady Ettie, kid pike drills at the Military Encampment, toy ship sailing on Mouseboro Pond, and chance encounters with the Faire’s most elusive inhabitants, curious faeries known as Fantastikals, who this summer will be enjoying a newly landscaped Fairy Garden.

Taking its framework from the summer day in 1574 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is located just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.,, tickets are $23.95 for adults and $11.50 for children, ages 5 to 12.