A RenFest Primer

This is a little primer for people who’ve never been to the Georgia Renaissance Festival.

Getting Money in the 15th Century
There are three different ways to get money at the Renaissance Festival. Earning money at the Festival is more difficult than it appears, just look how hard the performers work in hopes that you might favor them with a green picture of Abraham Lincoln….get my drift? Seeing as you’re such an untalented boob, it looks as though your only hope is to head toward one of the handy ATM machines located in the Kingdom. One is near the entrance, the other is near the King’s Food Court. Be sure to stock up before you delve into the kingdom, you’ll certainly find one or two things to buy

Restroom Do’s & Don’t’s
Realize that bathroom facilities provided at the Kingdom are wildly more sophisticated than when the Festival first began…waiting for a turn to go behind a tree got old quick. The Georgia Renaissance Festival provides portable construction-style toilets at four locations in the park. Granted, portable toilets aren’t like a weekend at the Ritz, but they’re far nicer than bushes. Additionally, they have honeywagons at some restroom stations. Any restroom rules I’d suggest to you are the ones you should’ve learned by the time you were old enough to go potty by yourself. Ladies should look for the “women’s” restrooms which hope to provide a more pleasant experience for those who must sit.

How to Eat at the ‘Fest
The food selection at the Renaissance Festival is fairly well thought-out, to accommodate most tastes. The various food locations are almost always buzzing with activity, though the lunch-hour is a good time to AVOID the food stalls. People are creatures of habit, but if you (and your whiny family) can break the habit…just for the Festival….you’ll avoid some of the crowds. I suggest you choose something that you know you can eat, I mean, is it EVER a good time to experiment when your restroom of choice is a hot & smelly plastic box? C’mon, you know the answer to that one. The most stereotypical RenFest food and butt of many jokes is the Turkey Legge. They’re big, they’re smoky, they’ll leave your hands and face covered in barb-e-goo. Try one! Try two!  And remember, drink LOTS of water if you’re out all day.  If you don’t want to pay for bottled water, you can fill up a bottle or take a sip at the water fountains located at the washup area outside the restrooms.

One Festival : One Season : SPRING
The Georgia Renaissance Festival dropped its semi-annual schedule in 2000. Now with only one event per year, the crowds may be bigger. Many people enjoyed the Fall Festival, but the Spring Festival is when the Kingdom can be seen at its best.

Getting Around the Kingdom
The Kingdom is BIG and there’s a lot of stuff to see. Evaluate the size of your group, realistically assess the abilities of everyone and err on the side of the slowest walkers. If you have young children be prepared to carry them around (you’re probably accustomed to that by now). I recommend that elder patrons take it slowly, there are plenty of places to rest. See if you can find a rickshaw driver and hire him to zip you around the kingdom! Our Atlanta Springs are often as hot as our Summers, be prepared. The Kingdom isn’t paved, which is a good thing. The natural terrain can, however, present the visitor with uneven stretches of ground upon which they could turn an ankle if they’re not paying attention. So pay attention! It’s not the easiest ground to cover in a wheelchair, but there does seem to be ground-level access to all but a few of the Kingdom’s attractions.
I’ve seen folks in all sorts of wheelchairs roving around the site, so it IS accessible….but it’s sure to be a workout.

Parking in the Fifteenth Century
Parking is FREE, and well-organized. Follow the nice people with flags. Smile at them, they’re standing out in the hot sun trying to tell you….no YOU…to drive up and park here….no HERE! They’re herding a bunch of pushy, grouchy people who act like they’re late to their own wedding. Once you get parked, you may have a bit of a hike ahead of you. Consider it training for the real event.

Be a Good Neighbor (learning to participate)
Having just chastised you in the previous topic, I want to make sure that you DO know that it’s okay…even encouraged for visitors to participate with the wandering players. Confused yet? When approached by a knight, speak up and have fun…play along! When that pretty young wench strikes up a conversation, chat right back at her.

Busking, It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore
First of all, busking is the time-honored art of passing the hat around after a performance. Most of the performers at the Festival are given a portion of the proceeds raised at the gate. However, these funds quickly stretch thin among the ranks and additional contributions are always appreciated by those who entertain. If you feel so moved, toss a little money into the hat and know that, like all carny trash, those very same jugglers will buy a vat of wine with their hard-earned coppers. This is of course not true at all, the jugglers aren’t carny trash by any stretch of the imagination….they’re festival filth. Very amazingly talented (and teetotaling) festival filth. You betcha.

Get In Cheap(er)!!!!
If you’re a frugal shopper you’ll like the fact that you can pre-purchase tickets to the festival at a reduced rate. Generally these early discounts drop a dollar off the price-at-gate, so if the grocery store is out of the way keep on driving and save your time. Check at the Official Georgia Renaissance Festival website for up to the minute information on discounts and group rates.

Call Somebody Who Cares
Phones are located at several locations in the Kingdom, at the entrance and near the King’s Hall Food Court.

For more information go to the official Georgia RenFest website: http://www.garenfest.com/

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