Last Updated on August 19, 2023
Last Updated on August 19, 2023
The Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville (a.k.a. The Charlotte Renaissance Festival or Renfest NC) is an award-winning festival that transports visitors back to the medieval ages. It’s a uniquely mystic event that celebrates the Renaissance Era with spectacular shows, feast-worthy food, and entertainment.
The bucket list-worthy festival celebrates history with arts and crafts markets, demonstrations of knights on horseback jousting, costumed characters, and food. Explore the magical castles and cottages, old-timey pubs, and rides.
In this article, we will give you all of our tips for the North Carolina Renaissance Festival so you too can have a magical experience! Here’s how we’ve organized the guide:
- What is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?
- Where is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?
- When is the Festival? (+ Ticket Info)
- Things to Do
- Important Tips for the Carolina Renaissance Festival
- Nearby Places to Visit
You can quickly jump ahead to any of these sections or continue reading about what exactly is the Carolina Renaissance Festival.
What is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?
Travel back in time to the glory age of Camelot and the Renaissance!
Locally called ‘Renfest NC,’ the Carolina Renaissance Festival in North Carolina is one of the largest Renaissance fairs in the country, comprised of a 25-acre amusement park within a 325-acre woodland area that transforms into a whimsical storybook village named Fairhaven.
Where is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?
Address: 6445 Poplar Tent Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is located in Huntersville, just north of Charlotte. We recommend checking out the surrounding towns of Davidson and Cornelius during your stay.
Huntersville is also located close to Lake Norman.
We share more about Huntersville’s surroundings in our “Nearby Places to Visit” section.
When is the Festival? (+ Ticket Info)
- The Charlotte Renaissance Festival operates on Saturdays and Sundays from September 30 to November 19, 2023.
- Doors are open between 9:30 am-5:30 pm.
- Ticket Info
Things to Do at Carolina Renaissance Festival
Here’s a breakdown of all the fun things to do at the Carolina Renaissance Festival:
No matter what day you visit the festival, there is always a multitude of performances to enjoy. There are 16 stages scattered across the area, with names like “The Royal Pavilion” and “Fairhaven Theatre.”
Visit the website for an updated list of times and performances occurring at each stage.
Performances include falconry demonstrations, mermaid exhibits, and dance shows. The Renaissance Festival also engages independent shows to perform, like:
- Interactive storytime with the Tortuga Twins
- The Vaudeville Dancing Pig Show
- Juggling acts by the London Broil Show
And we can’t forget about the Queen! Queen Isabella is the festival’s titular character and makes an appearance five times per day. Catch a glimpse of her at the Royal Pavilion and the Tournament Arena as she presides over the jousting tournaments.
There isn’t a dull moment at the festival with the Queen and all the other shows going on!
Of course, it isn’t a proper medieval event without jousting! Jousting is a major aspect of both the Renaissance era and this festival, with knights on horseback fighting each other with lances, usually as part of a tournament.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival features three jousting demonstrations per day.
- The first is “A Joust for the Queen’s Favor” at 12:30 pm.
- The “Tournament of Champions” follows at 2:30.
- Closing the day is the 4:15 PM “Joust to the Death,” a recreation of the more violent form of this medieval sport.
Jousting is a staple of the North Carolina Renaissance Festival, and festival-goers won’t want to miss out.
Renaissance Fair NC is also a paradise for shoppers! There is a Village Artisan Market that showcases over 140 artisans selling all kinds of handmade and unique goods.
Browse the stalls and shops for souvenirs and holiday gifts. The Village Market’s website sorts the shops by category:
- Clothing, both modern and Renaissance-inspired.
- Services such as massages, fortune telling, henna art, candles, lotions, books, woodwork, and so much more.
You’re guaranteed to walk away with a fun, Renaissance-style gift or item.
No festival is complete without a broad selection of delicious food. Sample turkey legs and steak on a stake from the Queen’s Kitchen and browse the large array of sweets from the Cottage Chocolate Shoppe.
As you make your way through the festival, sip on a craft beer and enjoy funnel cakes, truffles, and pizza. The possibilities are endless!
Important Tips for Carolina Renaissance Festival
- Parking and Traffic for Carolina Renaissance Festival: Huntersville and the area around the Carolina Renaissance Festival can get very busy.
- Arrive Early: We recommend planning to arrive early- 30 minutes (or even earlier) before the gates open is ideal.
- Money: Plan to bring cash and more than you think you may need. Most of the vendors only take cash, and while there are ATMs inside the festival, the lines for them are often very long.
- Jousts: There are three jousts a day. If you want a seat in the bleachers for the jousts, start looking for a seat 45-30 minutes before the show starts. If you are sensitive to loud noises, plan to sit higher up in the bleachers.
- Skincare: Wear sunscreen. While some of Fairhaven is in a wooded area, some parts are not. The sun can be strong, especially while you are waiting for the jousts.
- Clothing: Dress in costume! Many people plan elaborate costumes to enjoy the day, and it’s fun to see all the different costumes. If you don’t have a costume, some are available for rent outside the main gate.
- Walking: Wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking at the Carolina Renaissance Festival! And all of the paths are natural surfaces- including gravel. So plan comfortable shoes as part of your costume.
Nearby Places to Visit
While you’re in the area for the Carolina Renaissance Festival, here are some nearby places that you should check out.
Lake Norman is North Carolina’s largest manmade lake and home to the 1,900-acre Lake Norman State Park. It’s a 40-minute drive from the North Carolina Renaissance Festival and a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Visitors can hike the 30+ miles of trail around the lake, go fishing, or rent a boat.
Mooresville is a great gateway to the NC Renaissance Fair.
One of the town’s best attractions is Carrigan Farms, a family-owned farm that hosts U-pick fruits and vegetables. There, you’ll also find a natural rock quarry swimming hole, which is especially welcome on hot days.
Mooresville is also a racing hub, and many of the top NASCAR team shops are located here. JR Motorsports, Team Penske, and Kyle Busch Motorsports are based in the town.
In each of their shops, you’ll find cars, trophies, memorabilia, and plenty of swag to take home.
Read More: How to See Speedway Christmas in Concord
The Great Wolf Lodge and SEA Life also are located in Concord, making it a popular family destination.
Read more: Our Favorite Restaurants in Concord
Of course, you can’t visit the Charlotte Renaissance Festival without a trip to the city of Charlotte itself. As North Carolina’s largest city, there is an abundance of things to do in Queen City.
Check out the vibrant restaurants, shops, and stores that line the streets. Catch a Carolina Panthers football game or a Charlotte Hornets basketball game, both of which garner extreme enthusiasm among residents.
You’re guaranteed to have a good time here.
More Things to Do in North Carolina (Travel Guides)
We’ve created many more NC travel guides beyond the Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville. Here are a few of them.