I've been discussing the Bristol Renaissance Faire with friends and coworkers for some time now. When first asked if I'd ever been to the Renaissance Faire, I thought of the mini traveling faire that stopped close to my hometown. I really didn't understand all the hype surrounding the faire, mostly because I was thinking of a mini campground, which was cool, but I couldn't understand all the excitement. When I finally realized that I was conjuring up the image of something completely different and there was indeed a whole village dedicated to a renaissance faire, I had to go.
The Bristol Renaissance Faire sits on 30 acres of solid entertainment. It's roughly a 40-45 minute drive from Milwaukee. Freeway and street signs clearly direct you to the faire grounds with ease. It's only open on Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It's a seasonal affair and Labor Day weekend is the final run.
There are two parking options - preferred and the free variety. The free lot is a bit of a hike. Wear shoes you are willing to hike around in and be sure you don't mind getting them dirty. The grounds are filled with trails that are not paved and highly treacherous to the everyday walker. I have to compliment the gentleman who was somehow managing to get around using crutches - that seemed like an incredibly difficult feat.
Different shows take place throughout the day. Plan ahead and get to the stages a little early as many fill up quickly. I was completely unaware of this fact and caught most of the shows at a distance. Stage schedules are available online. Also, consider printing a map. I was slightly distracted by how lost I was for the duration of my time at the faire.
The Renaissance Faire caters to all age groups. Not only are there games and events specifically for kids, but there are also events geared towards adults. I'm quite fond of the renaissance themed pub crawl idea. Stores are sprinkled throughout the grounds - think Celtic jewelry, word work, blacksmiths and pagan-themed bookstores. The shopping is endless, but even more impressive was the food. Although I didn't get to eat as much as I would have liked, I did have a delicious chicken salad pita, which was perfect in the 90-degree heat. There is plenty to eat including the famous turkey leg.
Interested in dressing up? You're not alone. In fact, I had a hard time figuring out who actually worked there and who was simply dressed up in renaissance attire. If you forget, or don't have, your own middle-aged clothing you have the option of renting an outfit. I saw at least one store with a rental option, but my guess is that there may be a few throughout the faire.
As I left the grounds I had a mix of thoughts, one being that I am looking forward to coming back next year and the second, what happens at the Bristol Renaissance Faire after hours?
For more information on the faire, visit renfair.com.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Lisa Simonson
Published Nov. 17, 2013
To some, that may sound like a morbid question, but isn't it also kind of beautiful? Maybe I'm just a sucker for overly romanticized ideas about living your life to the fullest and pursuing what brings you joy and happiness. However, it seems I'm not alone in that.
Published Oct. 23, 2013
I'm turning 26 and wanted to do something special. I wasn't looking for an average birthday celebration. I wanted to go out of town, maybe get crazy in Las Vegas, something new and exciting. However, it proved to be a bit difficult to coordinate my group of friends and get everyone on board for a vacation. Instead, I thought why not run 26 miles for my 26th birthday?
Published Sept. 24, 2013
Lisa Simonson sits down to talk making music, old people candy, alcohol and, of course, metal with local band Population Control.
Published Sept. 18, 2013
There are few things I'm embarrassed to admit. I'll freely tell anyone almost anything about my life; however, there's always been one thing I've had a hard time owning up to. I've never been to a Packers game. Not only was Sept. 15 the Packers' home opener, but it was also my first trip to Titletown.
Published Aug. 7, 2013
A recent trip to Walker's Point Tattoo taught me a valuable lesson about myself: I'm not very good at getting tattoos. Although not my first, I'm sure the other patrons in the shop thought it was, given my wincing, cringing and twitching.
Published July 16, 2013
Hoping to get my motorcycle license, I opted for a two-day Basic Rider Course at Ride Alive Motorcycle Academy.
Published July 8, 2013
It's not every day a local business reaches a milestone like its 25th anniversary, but that's just what happened for independent skate shop Sky High this past Saturday. The all ages celebration brought out both younger and older skaters, proving that this Bay View staple is here to stay.
Published July 2, 2013
Sunday Funday has become somewhat of a lost art to me. In the last few months I've taken on another project that resulted in a standing obligation on Sunday nights and requires my complete sobriety. However, given that it's Summerfest and one of my favorite bands was playing, I figured now was as good of time as any to give myself a mini Sunday Funday.
Published March 21, 2013
About a month ago a friend asked me to come down and visit her in Austin for South by Southwest. At first I thought she was crazy, but decided it was a brilliant idea. Of course, being so close to the actual event, I couldn't find tickets for less than $700.
Published Feb. 14, 2013
I believe I've mentioned that I'm somewhat of a workaholic, but one job or 10, we can all agree on one thing, sometimes work just sucks. Yesterday was one of those days, but instead of heading home I decided to try my luck one more time and see if a few cocktails could at least bring me out of my foul mood and cloud of self-loathing.