Having lived in Kansas City for decades, I’m no stranger to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. In fact the very first year I went in grade school, I begged my mom to make me a Renaissance princess dress for Halloween so I’d have a reason to wear my dried flower hair garland again.
So when the marketing coordinator for RenFest (as it is locally known) reached out to me to offer me free passes to cover the faire, I shouted “Huzzah!” and agreed. Read on to hear about this year’s adventure.
Now in its 41st season, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival began in 1977 as a benefit to the Kansas City Art Institute. Since then, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival has grown to be one of the largest Renaissance Festivals in the country, averaging about 200,000 revelers each year.
For the uninitiated, the Renaissance Festival strives to recreate a medieval faire atmosphere, with actors dressed in period costumes and always in character, games, rides, and a handcrafted marketplace. And don’t forget the food!
My family has been to RenFest multiple times over the years, and while we have our not-to-be missed favorites, there’s always something new to see and love. This year our group was slightly larger, including myself, my husband, my daughter, her boyfriend, and a close friend of the family.
We always start our trip back into medieval times with the requisite turkey leg. These things are literally as big as an adult’s forearm, infused with savory meaty goodness. I made sure to get a bite in before my husband stole it back to finish off.
After we had our fill, we found ourselves near the Clue Pursuit booth. Clue Pursuit is an escape room near Westport, and this was their second year with an escape experience at the faire. I was the only one of our group who had been through an escape room, so everyone was game to try it. Andrew quickly explained the premise behind the mystery.
We used all of our “phone-a-friend” clues, and managed to escape with three minutes to spare out of our allotted 20. It was so fun and I definitely recommend seeking it out to give it a go!
After the escape room, we wandered through the faire, stopping at various artisan booths and marveling at the wide variety of talent and craftsmanship. It’s obvious all the shopkeepers are passionate about their work, and put their hearts into each unique piece.
One such artisan team is Amanda Lynn Chainmaille, who my husband and I know from various cons. They make the chainmaille armor my husband’s Muses wear when promoting his books, and their RenFest booth is always filled with impressive pieces, from traditional maille, to pop culture/superhero inspired pieces.
While at RenFest, we always make sure to take in at least one performance, whether music, magic, tumbling, swordplay, or comedy routine. We often like to see Bob the Magician or the Washing Well Wenches, but after featuring the Kansas City nerd band Clearly Guilty here on the site, I wanted to make sure to see them perform. Below is a video of “The Companion Song.”
For a keepsake this year, my husband and our friend Sarah decided to split a geode. The booth had buckets of unbroken geodes to choose from, and machine-device-thing to crack them in half. Sarah gave it a few good whacks, and revealed the glittery innards. Science!
Before we left, we had to have one more can’t-miss delectable, and headed toward the crepe booth. I’m partial to the Super Deluxe, which has ham, mushroom and swiss in it. Sarah and my daughter opted for dessert crepes – one with strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and one with bananas, apples, cinnamon-sugar, and ice cream. DEEE-licious!
The day started out rainy but the weather cleared up to give us gorgeous weather through the afternoon, for a delightful day at the faire. Definitely a must-attend event in Kansas City!
What’s your favorite can’t-miss part of RenFest? Share a comment below!