Above: Steve Hoddy hosts the Birds of Prey Show, presented by EarthQuest, at the Georgia Renaissance Faire. All photos courtesy of the Georgia Renaissance Faire

The Middle Ages come alive every spring at the Georgia Renaissance Faire in Fairburn, Ga., less than a half hour drive from downtown Atlanta. The fair is a great place to take kids to watch jousters and jugglers, wipe their chins while they tackle a turkey leg, and cheer them as they try archery and carnival games.

There’s a more relaxed way to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of the 32-acre mock 16th century English village. Leave the little ones at home and take a day to stroll and take a grownups-only tour of the Renaissance Faire.

Ded Bob

A few of the shows appeal to an adult sense of humor, like the dark puppetry of the Ded Bob Sho and the musical-comedy team Hey Nunnie, Nunnie. Animal lovers shouldn’t miss the antics of the Dynamo Dogs or the Birds of Prey Show, which features hawks, owls and vultures. Drop in at the Parrots of the Caribbean, a free-flight aviary filled with exotic birds.

Take time and listen as the sounds of drums and harps drift past. A lot of the best music is played in pubs from groups such as The Harper & the Minstrel, Armoured Bards and Landloch’d.

Browse the shops for unusual and unique clothing, home décor and gift items. You’ll find everything from essential oils and herbs to custom-made leather boots and family crests.

Many artisans invite visitors to watch as they craft their wares. Some have demonstrations that continue all day long, such as the weavers, potters and handspinners. Others, like the glassblower, jeweler and herbalist, display their talents at scheduled times.

Dynamo Dogs

The Renaissance Faire is scattered with plenty concessions, but there are places to sit and enjoy food and drink. The Drunk Monk Pub offers a variety of adult beverages and live music.

The most civilized way to enjoy lunch is at the Peacock Tea Room. The tearoom has a variety of light meals on the menu, including sandwiches, fruit and cheese plates and pots of tea. Members of the royal court, including the king and queen, have been spotted sipping tea and enjoying the shaded seating.

The fair is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day. This year, it runs through June 4; hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The adult ticket price is $22 at the gate or $19 online, and discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

To get to the Georgia Renaissance Faire, take I-85 south to Exit 61. Turn right onto GA Hwy. 74, and follow the signs. In less than 2 miles, you’ll be at the entrance, where there’s plenty of free parking.

Get more information and purchase tickets at garenfest.com.

How to Enjoy the Renaissance Faire: Tips from Mistress Threadbare

The Armoured Bards

Plan ahead

  • Visit the website and check out the map and shows. Look for themed weekends like Maytoberfest, May 6-7, and Highland Fling weekend, May 13-14.
  • Try to get to the gate at opening time, if possible, so you can enjoy the fair before the day heats up.

Dress for success

  • If you want to dress for the day, costume rental is available.
  • Wear sensible shoes, even if you’re in costume.
  • Wear a hat and apply sunscreen throughout the day.
  • Carry a light bag that can function as a purse and hold a bottle of water.
  • Bring an umbrella; they provide shade as well as protection from rain.

Once you’re here

  • Pick up a program; it has a map and schedule. Make sure you know where things are, like restroom facilities, seating areas and first aid, as well as show stages. You can get a shop listing at the information booth by the front gate
  • Pace yourself. When you need to rest, find some shade and enjoy people watching.
  • Stay fed and hydrated. Make sure you have some protein. (I eat a lot of fruit, cheese and crackers, and I drink lots of water.)
  • If cast members try to pull you into a conversation, stop and interact with them; they can be very entertaining.

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is a freelance writer and editor based in metro Atlanta.