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Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville (Things to Do + 7 Important Tips!)

Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on May 17, 2024.

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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:

You can quickly jump ahead to any of these sections or continue reading about what exactly is the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

Read More: 25+ Best Day Trips from Charlotte (Within a 90-Minute Drive)

What is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?

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.

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do In North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

Where is the Carolina Renaissance Festival?

Address: 6445 Poplar Tent Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078

Carolina renaissance Festival wood walk

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.

Read More: The North Carolina Travel Map (with 1000+ Great Places Included!)

When is the Festival? (+ Ticket Info)

Carolina renaissance Festival shops
  • The Charlotte Renaissance Festival operates on Saturdays and Sundays from October 5 to November 24, 2024.
  • Doors are open between 9:30 am-5:30 pm.
  • Ticket Info

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Things to Do at Carolina Renaissance Festival

Here’s a breakdown of all the fun things to do at the Carolina Renaissance Festival:

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Carolina renaissance Festival performances

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.

Carolina renaissance Festival jugglers

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.

Carolina renaissance Festival queen

There isn’t a dull moment at the festival with the Queen and all the other shows going on!

Read More: 15+ Important Tips to Enjoy the NC State Fair


Carolina renaissance Festival joust

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.

Carolina renaissance Festival jousting

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.

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Carolina renaissance Festival shopping

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.

Carolina renaissance Festival vendors

Browse the stalls and shops for souvenirs and holiday gifts. The Village Market’s website sorts the shops by category:

  • Jewelry.
  • 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.

Read More: 40+ North Carolina Gifts from Amazing Local Businesses

Festival Food

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.

Carolina renaissance Festival booze

As you make your way through the festival, sip on a craft beer and enjoy funnel cakes, truffles, and pizza. The possibilities are endless!

Read More: 18 Amazing Restaurants in Charlotte (Where to Eat in Queen City!)

Important Tips for Carolina Renaissance Festival

Carolina renaissance Festival more rides
  • 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.
Carolina renaissance Festival man on stilts
  • 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.
Carolina renaissance Festival face painting
  • 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.

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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

Lake Norman State Park beautiful water

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.

Read More: 41 North Carolina State Parks Sites and How to Enjoy Them All!


Sun drop mural things to do in Mooresville NC

Mooresville is a great gateway to the NC Renaissance Fair, home to a walkable downtown, delicious restaurants, and more.

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.

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Cabarrus Brewing Breweries in Concord NC

For a day trip from Huntersville, check out nearby Concord. This city is known as the home of Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMax Dragway, both of which attract visitors throughout much of the year.

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


Day Trips from Greensboro NC Charlotte

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.

Read More: 17 Outdoor Things to Do in Charlotte to Fuel Your Adventure and Breathe!

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.

1 thought on “Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville (Things to Do + 7 Important Tips!)”

  1. Hi – Long-time vendor with the Carolina Renaissance Festival here! Concerning the advice about bringing cash: Yes, that’s a good idea because the cell towers are often overwhelmed with phone traffic, which slows down credit card processing. However, while food and drink are cash-only, most vendors also accept credit cards. Visitors can help lighten the load on cell towers by putting their phones in airplane mode, waiting to place calls or send pictures until they’re well away from the grounds, and texting instead of calling if they have to communicate during their visit.


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