Want an escape from the real world for a day or weekend? All you have to do is head to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, happening the first three weekends in August at the Kelley Farm in Bonney Lake. Step through the Towne Gate of Merriwick where knights, fairies, mermaids, archers, entertainers and a queen await you. Your presence is desired as it’s you who will help cheer on the knights, put the villains in jail, and test your own skills at the axe throwing and boffer arenas. The Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire is a family friendly event that is sure to turn into a yearly tradition.
Celebrating 10 Years – HUZZAH!
Since 2009, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire has been delighting the Pacific Northwest with a trip back to the past. Whether you enjoy wearing a costume, want to get in on the fun and be a part of the entertainment, or just come out and watch, there is a place for everyone at the Midsummer Ren Faire, which continues to grow with every season. To celebrate their 10 years, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire is changing some things up.
“We have a new joust troop this year that we are very excited about,” says Shana Casey, advertising and marketing director for Washington Renaissance Arts & Entertainment Society (WRAES), the nonprofit that puts on the Oregon Renaissance Faire, Northwest Pirate Festival and the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. “The Knights of the Realm will be doing our joust this year and they are incredibly entertaining!” The Knights of the Realm will awe audiences with their full-contact jousting and other games, including swordplay both on and off their horses. Regardless of whether you are rooting for Scotland, England, France or Spain, you are sure to have a good time.
In addition to a new set of knights, opening weekend, August 3-4, has a new theme – Heroes and Villains: A Cosplay Adventure. If you have love anything fantasy or sci-fi, whether a favorite book, movie or TV Show, this weekend is for you! “We want to see all the cosplayers at the festival,” shares Casey. “And bonus points to those who have the best cosplay with a Ren Faire twist!” This is your time to be creative and break out that perfect costume, whether it’s a Storm Trooper knight or a swashbuckling Deadpool pirate. Be sure to stay for the Superheroes and Supervillians Party at the Hammered Troll from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. for those over 21-years-old who are camping at the faire.
Also new this year, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire will be welcoming mermaids to the Merriwick Pond. Mermaid and Mom is swimming up to the Faire with their pirate friends to provide entertainment in the form of songs, mermaid games and mythical storytelling. Be sure to get your photos with these lovely ‘maids, who are not shy at posing for the camera.
“This year is unlike any other!” Casey exclaims, “We have new shows (Mermaids YES!), new merchants & food vendors, new activities (like a Pub Crawl) and also, some of your old favorites!” You are not going to want to miss a day.
Food, Drink & Merriment
There is so much for every member of the family to do at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, you will want to come back again every weekend to see, taste and do it all! While the first weekend is for villains and heroes, August 10-11 the fairies return as one of the favorite weekends at the Faire. The highlight is of course Amy Brown, the famed fairy artist, who will be there selling her fae work as well as signing autographs from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you love all things fantastical, don your fairy wings and plan for a fun weekend at Merriwick. Saturday night, August 10, campers will be treated to a movie night and Vidor’s Vixxens for those 21-years-old or older.
The final weekend August 17-18 the pirates take over in swashbuckling good fun with sea shanties, fights and plenty of shenanigans to go around. Be sure to catch The Seadogs acts and the Washing Well Wenches for good, clean fun. The Tortgua Twins will be entertaining you with improv comedy storytelling you won’t see anywhere else. For campers, Friday August 16 is the Monster Mash Party at the Hammered Troll from 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. and Saturday, August 17 is Fire and Combat at 8:00 p.m. in the Arena and Red Dragon Inn.
No matter which weekend you choose to visit – why not all three? You will be entertained by the likes of Robin Hood and Maid Marian Present! – where your young squire just might get a part in the story – jousting, comedy and musical acts, and plenty of activities for the kids including the Piccolo Puppet Players, who recreate authentic British puppet theater. Dance to the beat of Baksana, an Eastern-inspired dance troupe and let your child be the hero with Wotan the Faeriesmasher. Your child can even make their fairy own fairy hut to attract the little folk to your house or garden. See the schedule for complete least of daily performances.
When you need food and drink to revive you, the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire has all the mouthwatering vendors you could ask for with favorites like turkey legs, British tarts, scones and shortbread, pizza, kettle corn, ice cold pickles (it’s a Ren Faire thing, trust us, on a hot day, you’ll love one!), and of course honey made sarsaparilla from McGilly Sassparilly.
Don’t forget to bring your coin of the realm, as there are rows of vendors with treasures of all sorts for you to look at and purchase. From fantasy puppets and shoulder dragons, to leather armor and fairy wings, if you don’t come in a costume – you can certainly leave in one! There is also plenty of artwork, drinkware, jewelry and other goods the entire family will love.
To get the full experience, including those fun after-hours events, camp at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. Camping is still available. “We have SO much fun planned in the evening!” says Casey. “Fridays, we are having themed parties and Saturday nights have special performances and a movie in the Faire for the under 21 crowd! Get the full experience and get your Ren Faire on!”
A few tips for Faire goers. Parking is free! Leashed, well behaved dogs are welcome, just be sure to pick up anything your dog leaves behind. It’s hot! Wear sunscreen and drink lots of water. “We have water for sale throughout the site and lots of seating and more shading,” Casey says. “We also have water misters for folks to stand under anytime throughout the faire, bowls of water for pets (look for them!) and I can’t live without my parasol! There are lots of different kinds of parasols for sale and you will appreciate them forever when it’s sunny!” Purchase your ticket into Merriwick’s gates online. Use code THURSTON25 for 25 percent off adult or family day or weekend passes. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire website.