Chances are if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones (and the chances are pretty high), then you’ll love the 25th Annual Florida Renaissance Festival at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach from Feb. 11 to March 26. The horses and jousting, fairies and magicians alone would be enough to keep you entertained. And best to come thirsty and take in a pub crawl, then you’ll be ready to hang out with the fairies, magicians, performers and musicians that make up this pseudo gypsyland. Here’s a handy list before you head there, with a few new activities on the list:
1. Pub Crawl
Kick off your Ren Fest experience with a visit to the various pub stations within what’s billed as a “story-book Renaissance Village.” Follow the Storyteller and the ladies from the Wandering Gypsy Theatre to the five pubs that dot the village, while they go on about 500 years of Renaissance and 1,000 years of brewing history. Sample a different brew at each stop while partaking in contests, games and bawdy toasts. No worries, there’s plenty of food booths so you can soak up some of that alcohol. Crawls depart from main entrance at 1 and 3:30 p.m. daily and tickets are $25 per person available at the box office.
2. Jousting Tournaments
These are a definite must at the Ren Fest and draw such crowds they actually have hired handlers to keep them at bay when horseback competitors race toward each other. Here’s where you’ll most feel that Game of Thrones thrill as four fully-armored horsemen wield their lances at each other.
3. Aerial High Wire Thrill Show
This is a new addition presented by The Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean and featuring the Murcia Family. The fearless performers present a story of a battle over a treasure map while balancing on a high wire 30 feet in the air above a pirate ship. You won’t see that in any circus show (especially now that Ringling’s been shut down!)
4. Human Chess Game
This is one of the festival’s most popular and longest-running presentations. It’s almost like something out of Alice in Wonderland. Watch as humans become the pieces in a chess game, moving where told on the board. They’re all represented, the King, Queen, Rooks, Bishops, Knights and Pawns, with each player vying to out-think their opponent and call “Check Mate” first.
5. Magicians and Fairies
Just because these are fun and make up such a whimsical part of the Festival. If you’re feeling particularly festive and want to join in, perhaps don your own pair of wings or a magician’s hat. Regardless, they’ll all be wandering around and any representation of the Renaissance era wouldn’t be complete without them.
6. Themed Weekends
Depending on what you favor about the Renaissance Period, you can pick the perfect weekend to attend. Mateys and scallywags run amok opening weekend for Pirate’s Weekend and Wenches get their own celebration on the fourth weekend. Time Traveler’s, Masquerade, Vikings and Barbarians, Celtic and a Taste of FLARF with Renaissance-inspired foods round out the rest.