We always get excited when the local renaissance festival opens up for the summer. Larkspar, Colorado is the place to be if you're looking for a turkey leg, some fun shows and a jousting tournament. Because I like to make costumes I always get excited. Over the years I've taken my girls and have learned a few things.
Tip 1: Pick a costume out and wear comfortable shoes
Once you get there your kiddos will probably want one. I made the mistake of going without planning this in advance. I ended up renting costumes for one of the trips. It was expensive for little girls to dress like medieval peasants. I was kicking myself for not making a quick little something. The lesson here is that kids want costumes to walk in with. It can be the princess outfit already in the closet. or something along the lines of Robin Hood. The Dollar Store sometimes carries plastic swords or crowns. You make the effort to bring some basic items and you’ve got the start of a magical day.
There is a lot of walking, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Don't worry if they don't match your costume. Happy feet mean happy kiddos.
Added Advice: During the time of year our festival is open. It is insanely hot or the weather is irregular. Make sure your kiddo isn't in something that is too elaborate and will make her miserable as your family walk around. Check that weather and plan accordingly.
Tip 2: Bring some small snacks and water
Food costs so much more in the festival, just like it’s an amusement park, and your kiddos will get hungry. Most festivals allow you to bring in snacks. You can’t bring a big huge cooler, but you can have some snacks in your purse or back pack. Of course they will have some really yummy options and it's nice to splurge. Just know that it's better to not be waiting in a long line with starving thirsty kiddos. Curb that hungry tummy.
Tip 3: Bring some spending money
There are A LOT of fun games and ways to spend money there. I always found that if the girls brought money that they earned, they were a little more careful with how they spent it or they would just buy what they wanted. It's all part of growing up and a fun place to learn a little bit about choices. As the adult, expect to budget what you want to spend on. Maybe a kiddo would love a magical amulet, wooden sword, face paint or a new costume.
That being said, there are a lot of things your family can do for free, keep reading.
Tip 4: Take in a show
Our festival has themed weekends. The "Kids Weekend" has extra characters roaming around and shows that a little more appropriate for children. In general most fairs will have a lot of shows to choose from. They should be free and accept tips if you are inclined to support the hardworking actors. I usually check the shows and times even before we leave our house. For us, the trip to Larkspar, CO is a 2 hour drive. I want to know a little of how I'm going to create a fun day for the family.
With all the great shows available you will notices that there are a fair number that cater to adults. There might be some jokes that you're just not ready to explain to your little one just yet.
Tip 5: Enjoy the ambiance. Take time for free play.
These festivals are so fun! I love watching everything that's going on. Each event is going to be a little different. But the feel is usually pretty consistent. A procession of royalty, jousting tournament, pirate show, maybe an exotic cat show. Wonder around and soak it all in. Take photos and make sure you check in with your kiddos and how they're feeling.
Keeping all these things in mind will absolutely set you up for a successful day at the Renaissance Fair.