What: Arizona Renaissance Festival
When: Weekends Feb. 8-March 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: 12601 E. US Highway 60, Gold Canyon
How much: Adults $26/advance, $28/gate; kids (5-12) $16/advance, $18/gate
Info: 520-463-2600, RenFestInfo.com[/quote_box_right]Now in its 32nd year, the Arizona Renaissance Festival is still going strong in Pinal County.
This year the festival starts Feb. 8 and runs Saturdays and Sundays through March 29. It will also be open on Presidents Day.
Arizona’s annual festival is one of the largest in the nation. Its fanciful European style village is constructed on a 30-acre site just below the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, east of Apache Junction. This is where you’ll find theater, circus, an arts and crafts fair, acrobatics, a jousting tournament, people-powered rides and feasting.
Merchants hawk their wares, selling everything from clothing to custom ceramics. Unexpected sword-play may break out at any time. Watch blacksmithing, jewelry making, glassblowing, leather work and pottery throwing. Over 200 artisans are housed in the market lanes filled with whimsical storybook shops. There are 14 open-air stages where you can listen to raucous music and roaring comedy.
A variety of food is available throughout the festival – bread bowls, stews, steak-on-a-stake, roasted chicken, pastries, chocolates and the king of festival foods, the huge roasted turkey leg. For an extra cost, there is also a Pleasure Feast, a five-course, 1.5-hour dinner and comedy show twice each day in the Feast Hall.
The Faire includes living mermaids, Mother (and Father) Goose, Da Vinci’s steam ship, the Swan Swing, the Piccolo Pony (a rocking horse bigger than an elephant) the slider joust and interactive games.
Patrons can cheer for their favorite night in the 5,000-seat jousting arena that has become a main draw of the festival, which averages 14,000 visitors per day.