It’s time to party like it’s 1578.
This August, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire is setting up shop in Snohomish County.
Previously, the faire was held at Kelley Farm south of Seattle near Bonney Lake. Faire spokesperson Shana Casey said event organizers decided to move up north for a venue with more space and parking.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. over three weekends, each with a special theme: Aug. 5 and 6 is steampunk and pirates, Aug. 12 and 13 is fantasy creatures and Aug. 19 and 20 is Vikings.
General admission is $30, with tickets are available for purchase online only. Children 12 and younger get in free. Pets are not allowed unless they’re service animals. Costumes aren’t required, but they are encouraged.
Weaponry, leatherwork and trinkets will be for sale at an artisan marketplace. Food offerings include turkey legs, crepes, meat pies and pickles. Live entertainment is a huge component of the faire. Casey said they’ll host “tons of world-class acts” such as a fire juggler, comedians, trick horseback riders and whip specialist Jacques Ze Whipper.
“Even people who are like ‘I’d never have fun at a renaissance fair’ come and try it out and are always like, ‘that was the craziest time I’ve ever had,” Casey said. “It’s just a lot of different things for everybody.”
Nearby businesses look forward to the tourism the faire will attract, according to Janelle Drews, executive director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. She plans to go (if she can grab a ticket before they sell out) and, as a horse owner, she’s most excited to watch jousting. “It’s fun to see people in their element.”
Campgrounds and hotels are expected to see any uptick. High Rock Castle in Monroe is booked every day of the faire. The medieval-themed private residence built in 1993 opened as a bed-and-breakfast in May under new owners Angela and Daniel Wehnert.
“It’s great to be a castle adjacent to a renaissance faire, for sure,” Angela Wehnert said. She has attended the faire for years. While the change in venues might lead to longer drives for some, she believes the additional space Sky Meadows Park provides was needed.
Last year, Wehnert was able to park and enter the festival grounds with no problem. Her friends weren’t so lucky. They attended on a different day and got stuck in traffic for three hours. After waiting another hour at the gate, the group turned around and went home. Wehnert believes the changes that organizers are making this time to alleviate traffic are for the better.
“Last year was a real lesson for them and how overwhelming significant growth can be,” Wehnert said. “I think they put a lot of thought into the move and into the way they’re doing tickets, and I believe they will have it running much more smoothly this year. So I’m excited to see how it goes.”
Wehnert wants the castle to partner with the renaissance faire in the future. However, Casey can’t say whether the faire will be held at Sky Meadows Park in the years to come, as the organizers’ ultimate dream is to buy their own property and build permanent structures.
For more information on this year’s faire, visit washingtonfaire.com.
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