Bay Area Renaissance Festival
Get Ready for Seven Weekends of Renaissance Festival Fun
The Bay Area Renaissance Festival returns for a 41st season and promises to offer its usual fare of artisans, contests, food and entertainment. What began in 1979 as a small gathering in Largo to showcase typical entertainment from the Middle Ages with mimes, jugglers, dancers and others, has grown into a popular Tampa Bay medieval tradition, attracting more than 80,000 fans annually.
The annual celebration set in a 16th century European village features stages offering live entertainment – everything from singers, musicians, and belly dancers to fencing and archery competitions and wiener dog races. Hosted by the event’s signature “dignitaries” King Henry and Queen Katherine Parr, the 2019 Bay Area Renaissance Festival presents over 100 artisans selling their handmade goods in the onsite marketplace where visitors can browse jewelry, apparel, art and sculpture, leather goods, metal works and more. In addition to the themed weekends packed with fun activities and guests, the Festival offers other special events purchased separately that can be experienced by couples or groups of friends attending such as a Royal High Tea, a Pub Crawl and a Pig and Swig, which consists of four craft beers paired with gourmet bacon samples.
The festival is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays starting February 16 through Sunday, March 31 as well as Festival Day scheduled Friday, March 29, marking the festival’s final weekend. This year’s event, which runs rain or shine, returns to its North Tampa site, located opposite the USF campus at 11315 N. 46th St.
For 2019, festival organizers have added several fun, new activities including Bow Blast, a new Robin Hood-style bow and arrow contest; Mead N Feed, an all-new Daily Royal Event for adults 21+ featuring a mead tasting paired with cheese, fruits, breads and more; and Pickle Jousting, during which competitors attempt to be the first to pierce their opponent using pickle weaponry. Visitors also get an opportunity to Ride the Noble Steeds following their joust as well as pose for photos with an oversized Jester, King and Knight that make up the Boddy Puppet Troupe.
Festival admission at the gate is $21.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 5-12 with kids four and under free. Discount tickets are also available at participating Circle K locations and online at the festival site.
As with past seasons, the Bay Area Renaissance Festival will offer special themed activities, entertainment and guests every weekend from its first week to its last. These themes include the following: Highland Fling, Feb. 16-17; Wine, Romance and Song, Feb. 23-24; Pirates and Pets, Mar. 2-3; Barbarian Brew Fest, Mar. 9-10; Shamrocks & Shenanigans, Mar. 16-17; High Seas Adventure, Mar. 23-24; Free Beer Festival Friday (Mar. 29) and Wonders of the World, Mar. 30-31. For details about what activities and special guests are scheduled during each themed weekend, click here to visit the official Bay Area Renaissance Festival website.
How would you like to win two free tickets to the Renaissance Festival? DESTINATION TAMPA BAY is proud to be able to offer readers the chance to participate in a special ticket giveaway. If your name is selected, you could win four free tickets to this year’s Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Click here to sign up for your chance!
Content Provided By Chris Kuhn Photos courtesy of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival