22nd Tennessee Renaissance Festival Family Day

Find Celtic music and jewelry at Tolkien Town

Saturday kicked off the 22nd annual Tennessee Renaissance Festival in Arrington-Triune, Tennessee, and even the threat of wet weather didn’t stop people from flocking to Covington Glenn Village. Queen Elizabeth was on hand with her court to greet visitors to the village, and booths and entertainment filled the scenic woods.

This weekend was billed as Family Weekend, and there were quite a few young ones dressed as fairies, pirates and princesses riding the Wild Boar and the Sea Horse. For the discerning parent this can be a fun place to take your children. However, I was disappointed that much of the entertainment did not live up to the “Family Weekend” moniker.

The Empty Hats, a talented Celtic band with a “G” rating in the program, provided a “PG” program of innuendos, off-color jokes, and a song about the Devil bedding a widow 99 times. This was not family fare and was more in keeping with Axel the Sot, a comic that moves from one dirty joke to the next with gusto. Even the Buccaneer Blades of the Pirate’s Stage worked in several castration allusions. This was not to say some of the jokes and stunts of the various entertainers weren’t funny, but perhaps the families would have been better served if some of the sexual humor had been saved for another day or left off completely.
The entertainment came with a very lenient rating system. The “PG” entertainment and some of the “G” had more than their share of bawdy humor. Keep that in mind when bringing young, impressionable children.

With all that said, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the Renaissance Festival, enough to go back today!
There was plenty of good, clean entertainment: the afore-mentioned children’s rides, juggling, fire eating, knife throwing, jousting, human chess matches, interesting booths, and many, many people dressed in period clothing to admire and photograph.

Ed Beard, Jr., who did some of the art for The Fellowship of the Rings (movie) was on hand to sell and sign his artwork which ranged from religious art, to dragons, to skimpily clad female warriors who badly needed more clothing.

Speaking of Lord of the Rings, several event goers were dressed as characters from the books and movies such as this handsome young Aragorn.

The joust was rated “PG,” presumably because there was carefully choreographed usage of weapons involved, but it was clean family fare that offered the chance to see knights in armor atop their noble steeds galloping at full tilt towards their worthy opponents. Where else can you see that?

Musicians strolled the grounds and performed at various locations, while some of the ubiquitous ensemble players cracked jokes and flirted with the visiting ladies. The concession booths offered a wide variety of food from Scottish eggs, to leg of fowl, from cheese, fruit and cracker plates to frozen cheesecake on a stick.

The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is well worth a visit, and is more fun if you dress in keeping with the period. It’s a great place to wear your long skirt or pirate breeches. Just keep a close eye on the entertainment ratings when you pick which shows to see. God save the Queen! Huzzah!
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