|The Jousting Challenge in the |
tournament arena was a thrill!
Visit King Richard's Faire every weekend from September 3rd through October 23rd, 2016. Details here.
|Performers and guests alike sing together|
Many of the faire’s attendees embrace the theme of the day employing various costumes, as they assumed characters and accents to add to the fun. With guests dressed in corsets and crowns, soldiers in armor, boots, archers, elves, and period lay-folk, we couldn’t tell the performers from the festival guests—a perk of the Renaissance Faire atmosphere.
Many of the guests wore lovingly hand- made costumes and it was common to see couples or whole families all dressed in character. Others added just a small touch—elven ears or a set of fairy wings—to join in the spirit of the day. Because dressing in character is so welcome and encouraged here, the faire also maintains a weapons policy just to be perfectly clear and all guests can feel comfortable.
|L to R: Wood Nymph, Atmosphere at King Richards' Faire, Character roaming the grounds|
Upon entering the front gates we were handed a multi-purpose printed flyer detailing a fairground map, merchant list, menu offerings (with vegetarian and gluten-free designations), game options, and a schedule of the daily events and special performances. This flyer became our go-to guide to everything we could possibly need to know for our visit. We sat down with our flyer and circled the performances that caught our eye to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.
|Wood Nymph hiding among the trees|
We understood right away that King Richard’s Faire was very much an annual event for folks in attendance and most likely has been a place where special friendships have been forged through the years. Owing to this, the festival maintains a very intimate feel—not just in the magical setting of the sun spotted woods but in the familiarity and love between the festival goers and performers.
The attention to detail is what immerses you at King Richard’s Faire and why it’s so terrifically fun. Sure, there are plenty of inconsistencies to the time period such as selling French fries but if you’re going to do it, why not list them as “French Fryes” which they do. An there are a fair number of more “traditional” menu items and heartier English fare such as the Queen’s Turkey Stew, Shepherd’s Pye, or you can try for classic Fishe n’ Chips, and the Lord’s Pigge Sandwich (BBQ pulled pork). They have honey mead if you’d like to go old school ‘Ren beverage or “Gluten Free Beere” for a modern innovation. It should go without saying that the ginormous turkey leg is the food of choice at King Richard’s with the requisite photo-eating-leg that follows suit.
|L to R: Theme inspired menu items, Food and beverage ticket booth, Giant turkey leg|
The food vendors and other merchants dress in appropriately period-ish clothing though blessedly the food vendors skip employing an accent when taking your order. There are numerous vendors walking around selling flower headbands or roasted nuts and the colorful banners and giant sail cloths strung between the trees add to the festivities.
With nearly two dozen games featured in the Gaming Glen, there are endless ways to spend your time (and your money). What other festival invites you the chance to try your hand at axe- or knife-throwing? Archery was certainly the biggest draw with kids and adults lining up to land their quivers in the hay bales. Other games like “The Giant Strike” is a Ren-faire version of the familiar sledgehammer strength swing. It was as entertaining to watch people test their hand at these less familiar games as it was to play them.
|L to R: Knife Throwing challenge, Archery booth, Guest trying his hand at archery.|
We took in as many performances as we could—Daniel Duke of Danger acrobat, the Torture Show, Great Cats of the World, Jacques Ze Whippeur, The Mud Show, the Maypole Dance, Draiku Aerial Show, and The Challenge of Champions—and there were even more that we couldn’t see in time. All of these scheduled shows and performances were free, take place multiple times throughout the day, and there are always a few shows taking place in any given minute.
|L to R: Draku Aerial Show, Daniel Duke of Danger, The Torture Show|
|Jacques Ze Whippeur entertained|
large crowds throughout the day.
Spontaneous moments of “village life” spring up when you least expect and without fanfare. The funeral march pulling a white-sheet wrapped “body” and followed by a Grim Reaper was a good example of quiet moments of daily life unfolding in any moment.
|Moments from the joyful Maypole Dance|
The maypole dance (see our video clip) was lively and the dancers invited the bystanders to join in the weave. The wild cat demonstration by Oregon’s Great Cats World Park (see our video clip from their snow leopard demo) was both fascinating and very educational and judging from the crowd it drew and the oohs and ahhs they elicited from said crowd, it was a true highlight for many, including us.
|The Great Cats World Park delivered an entertaining and educational demonstration for the festival goers|
It goes without saying that the three daily jousting competitions are eagerly anticipated by all. Held at the top, middle, and end of the day, there’s a chance to catch a show at some point during your visit. The large tournament field is fenced in and there is plenty of room to stand for the show or lounge on the surrounding lawn as many do. There is much pomp and circumstance for this event with the emcee narrating play-by-play of the action.
|The Jousting Challenge in the Tournament Arena is one of the highlight of the faire|
|Jacob's Ladder tested adults and kids|
Shows like the wild cats, magic show, and Princess-sing-along are free and will certainly hold their attention and interest. Games such as “King of the Log” where kids “battle” with pillows to stay on top of a slippery log or try to climb up an extended rope ladder without flipping over and fallings softy onto the hay. You'll find pony rides ($6) and face and body painting ($15-30), a critter catapult (6 critters for $3) a Swan Swing ($4) so you can expect to have your "extras" add up very quickly after a few games.
|L to R: Spitting a mouthful of mud at The Mud Show, Fire breathing at The Torture Show, Dragon at Draiku Aerial Show|
|Father and son in matching skull capes|
The Torture Show which featured traditional sideshow feats like fire breathing and inserting long needles through the skin—ouch! (middle schoolers would love this stuff.) came with a PG-13 rating on their event sign and they offer verbal disclaimers about the show content during the show as well.
|Many families would dress up for the day|
|Wood nymph at King Richard's Faire|
- Most of the events are in the shade and the sail cloths above picnic tables and stages offer additional coverage yet areas like the tournament field are full sun so consider sunscreen.
- Performances are free—and there are plenty to see—but any games will cost you extra and adds up quickly.
- Cash is the way to go here—you’ll need it to buy food tickets as plastic isn’t accepted (though an ATM is available for steep withdrawal surcharges). In fact, food vendors do not handle money transactions at all as they operate on a food ticket system which is a little inconvenient as the food ticket minimum (5) doesn’t typically line up with the prices of the food items.
- Some food price samples were $4 for water, $8 for chowder or stew, $9 for Italian sausage or a BBQ Sandwich, $10 for chicken fingers and fries, $11 for a turkey leg. Tickets are $29/adult and $16/children (ages 4-11y) online.
- You can buy tickets in advance online with plastic but tickets "at the gate" are CASH only!
- We were thrilled that the giant parking lot featured different colored flags at the end of each row. It was a snap to find our car at the end of the day. Other festivals please take note!
- There are many special themed events throughout the six weekends such as Vow Renewals Weekend, Game of Thrones Day, Prince and Princess Costume Contest, the Fairies and Pirates Costume Contest, and others.
- The tournament arena can get quite dusty once the action is underway. Choose a lawn seat if you have any respiratory sensitivities.
- Dress up! If you are even the tiniest bit inclined to add a cape, a crown, or don a corset, you’ll never find a more welcoming place to dress up than this one. The enthusiasm of the festival goers to dress up—even in a small way—add so much to the atmosphere of the event. We saw plenty of people carrying their own pewter goblets to sip from wherever they went.
- If you look carefully, there are rather unconventional looking water fountains near the food “court” saving you a few bucks on a beverage. Bring your own (pewter) mug to fill up and take on the go!
- Many of the featured performers will kindly ask for a gratuity if you enjoyed their show. These performers are playing their hearts out and are very entertaining. Pack some extra small bills to express your thanks.