Photo: Courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival
Photo: Courtesy of Georgia Renaissance Festival

Throw weapons and tomatoes at the Georgia Renaissance Festival

Are you a fan of cosplay? Does the idea of swords and wenches sound like a good time? What if I told you that it's all contained in a family-friendly, month-and-a-half long festival? Grab your corsets and weapon of choice, the Georgia Renaissance Festival is in town.

The Georgia Renaissance Festival is an annual, immersive experience into 16th-century Europe. But please, obey the accepted vernacular of the region and properly call it the "Ren Fest," otherwise you'll stand out for the transplant that you are.

What do we wear to the Renaissance Festival?

As with most festivals, this is 99% outdoors. If you hear nothing else, please remember this. Do NOT wear flip-flops or wash and wax the car if it has been raining! You will be parking in a field and the town is built around an unpaved area like it would have been in the 16th century.

There will be a great deal of people dressed up in costumes that range from a Dread Pirate Roberts look-a-like to the town fool. Well-appointed Queens in immaculately detailed gowns all the way to gypsy-esque garbs in varying length and modesty can also be spotted. Don't worry, you can wear what you have in your closet. No one will flog you. Should you desire, there is plenty of opportunity to purchase period fashion from single items to the complete outfit with accessories.

What is there to do in 16th century Europe besides avoid the plague?

Last checked, there have been no reported instances of the plague in Georgia locations. However, many of the actors and fest visitors remain in period character. Should you sneeze, it will not be out of character for someone to point at you and loudly protest that you are infected with the dreaded plague.

Take in a jousting match, tour haunted ships and even test your skills at throwing various weapons. Kid rides are available, but are all powered by people. Remember, there was no electricity back then. Do not miss the tomato throw. As you lob chunks of tomatoes at the target, he hurls insults right back at you. A myriad of shows can be seen around the grounds from jousting to hypnotists.

When should we go?
Plan to spend the day, so pick a good one. The festival is located off of I-85S in Fairburn, about 35 minutes from downtown Atlanta.

Each weekend of the festival has a different theme, so be sure to peruse what best suits your situation. Storm Troopers are welcome on Time Warp Weekend, pets can make an appearance and togas are the dress of choice for Roman Weekend, there is a Haggis eating contest on Highland Weekend, and even one weekend offers free entry for kids.

Do you have any pointers?

  • Cash is widely accepted here and needed. Any activity will cost you. Most of the shows, however, are free. A children's playground and petting zoo are also on the free list.
  • There are skilled artisans at the show selling their wares. You'll see things such as blades, handmade sandals and boots, woven hats and stamped coins.
  • There are lots of food options, but if money is a factor, consider packing a cooler to picnic at your car. Just be sure you get your hand stamped before your exit the gate.
  • Parking is FREE!
  • Tickets are cheaper to purchase ahead of time through their website. Kids 5 and under are free.
  • If you bring a stroller, opt for the heavier duty type jogging strollers. This is not the easiest terrain to traverse if you are using anything to assist you in walking. They do have wagons and wheelchairs available for rental on site.
  • Just because axes and swords round out your outfit doesn't mean that it's open season. Please see the event website for restrictions and policies.
  • If you choose to participate in the pet-friendly days, please be aware of items needed for your pooch to enter.

See more information at accessatlanta.com/renaissancefestival.
Georgia Renaissance Festival runs April 18 through June 7, 2015.

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