For the past 37 years, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival has been one of the most popular Kansas City and Midwest annual events and the place to explore and enjoy all that the Renaissance era has to offer.
Me and my kids—who have been hounding me since July about when we were going, we all love it so much—went this past weekend and were once again treated to the magical and mystical, 16th Century village of Canterbury that attracts close to 200,000 people each year.
Of course there were our favorite free entertainment shows—fire eating, magic, jousting, wench tales, comedy and juggling and a great deal more—all running continuously on some 20 stages around the property. Themed features this year include a Costume Contest, Pepsi Press-a-Wench, a Knobby Knees Contest, a Haggis Eating Contest, a Back Fur Battle, Highland Games and Villager Bingo.
New areas added for 2013 encompass the Mermaid Cove for families with small children with guideposts that each offer a snippet of a tale of a mermaid and a photo opportunity with her fishiness at the end, a Fairy Forest, Secret Garden, and a new area for vendors.
The one disappointment was that the awesome Barbarian Forest, where participants can test their bravery in “a battle of epic proportions,” was moved and scaled down to a much smaller and less threatening game of skull dodge ball and sword battles confined to a small roped-off circle – if you step out (or get gored) you lose. Nevertheless, it was conducive to more controlled fun and one where smaller children who would have been ordinarily dwarfed by the massive forest trees and bigger kids, have a chance to show their bravery as well.
In between the maze, archery and other games and crafts, shopping and eating, we enjoyed Human Combat Chess - a human chess game where the White Knight battles the King’s Pawn in order to please the King and Queen, and the Festival parade where almost all of the Canterbury characters meander throughout the property en mass several times during the day to give attendees a chance to see them all in their renaissance splendor.
But this was just the beginning of the fun here!
Like last year, we thoroughly enjoyed the wide array of culinary options including the crowd favorite giant turkey legs, cheese cake on a stick, grilled chicken, beef and pork tenderloin sandwiches, scotch eggs, root beer floats, kettle corn, Belgian fries, Paninis, Caesar salads, garden burgers, bangers and mash, meatball grinders, veggie wraps, bread bowl soups, wings, honey sticks, pizza, crepes and gyros, just to name a few.
New food offerings included cheesy bratzels, gourmet hot dogs, Mediterranean chicken kabobs, strawberry shortcake ice cream cookies and barbarian burgers, plus a wider array of vegetarian options like corn on the cob, onion rings, potato skins, fried veggies, fried pickles, corn fritters, mashed potatoes, lasagna, Spanakopita and grilled cheese and portabella mushroom sandwiches, among others.
Other fun and family-oriented activities include a petting zoo, take home crafts, children’s story times, dance lessons, living history exhibitors like the Court Seamstresses, the King’s Executioner and Nostradamus—Apothecary & Foreseer, and a wide array of musical acts.
Special adults only fun encompasses the Groggy Starfish Pub with beer and entertainment, the Feast of Fooles five-course dinner theater, and the Royal Pub Crawl.
Those who like to shop will find anything imaginable at over 165 artisan booths from hats and slippers to crocheted accessories, fine clothing, jewelry, hair flowers, parasols, wings, leather goods, sandals, dolls, musical instruments, wood mugs, carved stone, glass etchings, swords and blades (of course!), mosaic sculptures, dolls and services such as hair braiding and face painting.
Located in Bonner Springs, Kansas just north of Interstate 70 off K-7 Highway at 130th Street, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival opened August 31 and runs weekends until October 14 plus Columbus Day. For more information check out their website at www.kcrenfest.com, or call 913.721.2110.