Immerse Yourself in History at The Michigan Renaissance Festival
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is a very popular fair that focuses on recreating the look and feel of a fictional English village called Hollygrove. The time period emulates conditions during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in the latter half of the 16th Century. Every year, people come from all over dressed as fantasy characters, nobles, pirates, vikings, and more. As a nationally known and recognized festival, acts come from all over the country to perform here. The fair runs from early August, through late September. Many artisans come to the renaissance festival every year in order to sell arts and crafts, such as jewelry, clothes, and medieval wares.
For over 40 years, the Michigan Renaissance Festival has been taking people back in time to the 16th century. Originally, the renaissance festival started in Clarkston, Mi, but it moved to Holly, Mi, in 1985. The grounds boast an expansive 17 acres of village space with building reproductions of renaissance shops, taverns and a castle. There are 17 differently themed stages for jousting, comedy, theater and musical performances as well. Over a quarter of a million people visit the renaissance fair every year. If you are interested in the arts of the 16th century, or just like cool crafts and jewelry, over 300 artisans display glassware, jewelry and clothing to purchase.
A little About Queen Elizabeth I
The 16th century includes the years from 1501 to 1600. The Michigan Renaissance Festival focuses on the time that Queen Elizabeth I ruled (1558-1603), in England. Known as “The Virgin Queen”, Elizabeth was “wedded” to England according to herself. What she meant when she dubbed herself this, was that she was so committed to the country. Before becoming queen, Elizabeth had two others in front of her in the line for the throne. Much to her luck, those two reigns in front of her did not last long, and she got her chance to rule over England and show them how it’s done. Her big chance came in 1588, when she defeated the Spanish armada in battle, and solidified her reputation as a legend.
Queen Elizabeth liked to have lavish parties, with rulers from all over the world. Many princes and kings would attend her court and try to win her hand in marriage. She was a very intelligent and sharp witted woman, who knew how to get her way. While there were some internal loyalty issues during her reign, Elizabeth was generally loved and trusted by her people. Elizabeth was the last monarch in the House of Tudor.
Weekend Themes at the Festival
(As described on the official website)
Pirates and Pets (Aug 17-18)
Bring your dog & pirate pals for our Pirates & Pets weekend! This weekend will showcase pet rescue groups, pet training demonstrations & contests for dogs. Not only are there activities for your pets, but also for you! Toast your mates & enjoy the finest mead & beer.
Highland Fling (Aug 24-25)
The Highland Games will have you cheering for your favorite athlete in this 8 series event. Championships on Saturday and State Masters on Sunday. There will be a Celtic Village featuring special vendors unique to Highland Fling.
Vikings (Aug 31, Sept 1-2)
All vikings are invited to participate in pillaging the village. This will be a weekend filled with competitive spirit and new experiences. Do you have a awesome beard or mustache to showcase, well enter into our contest to win some great prizes!
Wonders of the World (Sept 7-8)
See our world market & entertainment from around the globe. Individuals & dance troupes are invited to the Michigan State Belly Dance Championship. If you don’t feel like competing, you can take a dance lesson or show off your steampunk attire.
Shamrocks and Shenanigans (Sept 14-15)
Transport to Ireland by visiting our Celtic Village, where you can find local Irish vendors & fun for all ages. Watch the Highland Games or kick up your heels with traditional Irish music & dance. This is the largest shenanigans party in Michigan!
Harvest Huzzah (Sept 21-22)
Enjoy all the special events and harvest artisan market. Make sure you stop by the scarecrow competition and cast your vote for your favorite scarecrow. Don’t forget to check out the BBQ competition while you’re in the Valley of Aberdare!
Festival Friday (Sept 27)
This day brings unique educational, shopping & entertainment opportunities. School Day is a field trip destination for K-12 students, w/ various lessons! Ladies Shopping Day will grant you admission to the festival and a host of other goodies!
Sweet Endings (Sept 28-29)
This weekend is destined to satisfy your sweet tooth with our Sweet Treats Festival. Prove that you’re the best fencer if Michigan in our Annual Fencing Championships. There is something for everyone this weekend, so don’t miss out!
The Michigan Renaissance Fair can be your next adventure with your family! Immerse yourself on any of these fantastic weekends, and learn something new!