Throughout the entire spring around Los Angeles, you can enjoy Renaissance-style fun at back-to-back festivals. First, the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire is one of the biggest in the area and takes place in Irwindale just outside of Pasadena. But if you can't make it to that one (or if it leaves you wanting for more), then you're in luck. Just one week after the first one wraps up, the Koroneburg Renaissance Festival begins in Corona, California, about an hour south of downtown Los Angeles in Riverside County.
The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire
The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire is one of the largest festivals of its kind in Southern California, beginning in early April each year and running until mid-May. You can visit this iconic fair at the Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area in Irwindale, which is located just minutes away from Pasadena. General admission tickets for adults start at $29.95, although discounts are available for youth, senior citizens, or by subscribing to the weekly newsletter.
The venue is set up along one main path that snakes back and forth, so you can see everything if you make it from one end to the other. Thirteen stages offer theatre, comedy, dance, music, and swordplay performances, including a children's stage and some adults-only offerings. You can ride the Maypole Carousel, Moon Swing, or Giant Rocking Horse or try your hand at archery, sword fighting, stick juggling, and many other rides and games.
Artisan booths house craftsmen and women making and selling pots, swords, and chain mail, while glass-blowing demonstrations happen on the hour. Encampments of costume-clad actors line the main thoroughfare where various parades and processions, including Queen Elizabeth I and her Court, pass by on their way to the Jousting Arena, where armored knights battle on horseback while the crowd cheers them on.
Fans of live-action role-play games can participate in the RenQuest live fantasy games set up for different age groups from young kids to adults, although this requires a separate ticket.
There are a few beverage booths scattered around, but virtually all the food vendors are in the Food Court, about one-third of the way down the trail. Food prices range from $5 to $17, where you can pick up a light snack or an entire leg of turkey.
Each year special ticketed events are added which may include pub crawls, wine tastings, tea with the queen, or other unique opportunities. There are also themed weekends that may include costume themes (Time Travel Weekend, Pirates Weekend) or discount admission (free kids weekend, military weekend). If you want to fully join in the medieval spirit, costumes are available for rent inside the gate.
Koroneburg Renaissance Festival
As soon as the Renaissance Pleasure Fair ends, the nearby Koroneburg Renaissance Festival kicks off at Crossroads Riverview Park in Corona in Riverside County. The park has a permanent renaissance village on site, making it the perfect location for this family-friendly event. The fun at Koroneburg runs from the last weekend in May through the last weekend in June and includes Memorial Day Monday. The renaissance village is set among abundant shade trees, cut off from modern civilization, so you really feel like you've stepped back in time. Koroneburg Renaissance Festival is produced by the Loyal Order of Reenactment Enthusiasts, who periodically (usually a month or so before the festival) present weekend reenactment and language workshops to better prepare the whole family to participate in the fun.
Apart from a packed line-up of entertainers, guests can also enjoy themselves by testing their hand at archery, making their own pottery, participating in a medieval-themed escape room, a ye olde pub crawl, and much more. Several weekends have different themes as well, and visitors are encouraged to dress up according to the weekly theme (you can even earn discounts for showing up in costume).
Tickets for adult admission start at $25 when you buy them at the gate, but if you plan ahead, you can pre-order tickets online in the weeks before the festival at significant discounts.