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Jousting, beer and kilts: The Renaissance Festival is back

Travel back in time this weekend to a 16th century village at the 38th Annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival.

Saturday marked the start of the Ren Fest, where visitors can see armored jousting, musical performances, acrobatics, and comedy and magic shows. A range of food and drinks are available, and artisans gather to sell apparel, jewelry, leather, toys and more.

“When I went last year, I got a henna tattoo and rode an elephant,” Emily Laga, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said. “It was not what I expected at all, everyone should definitely check it out.”

The Ren Fest can also be the perfect opportunity to take a break from the everyday.

“I saw so many random things when I went — people dressed as fairies, a belly dancing contest and jousting,” Despina Parthemos, a junior majoring in marketing, said. “It was a nice break from reality.” 

The Festival will be open every weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until March 20, with daily events including a beer and bacon tasting called the Pig & Swig, a Pub Crawl and the Royal High Tea, where guests can enjoy various teas and delicacies.

Guests can also expect to find a different theme every weekend. Check out the upcoming Ren Fest themes to look forward to below.


Feb. 13 and 14: Chocolate Fantasy

Give in to your sweet tooth with a wine and chocolate tasting, as well as a Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house-building competition.


Feb. 20 and 21: Highland Fling

Enter a Celtic Village with Highland Heavy Games, a kilt competition and Irish dancing.


Feb. 27 and 28: Time Travelers

Journey through time to see a fantasy market, a belly dance competition and a Dr. Who costume contest.


March 5 and 6: Shamrocks & Shenanigans

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a kilt competition, a craft beer and Irish fare tasting and more Highland Heavy Games and Irish dancing.4


March 11: Festival Friday

The Festival is only open this Friday for schools, with free admission for military members and happy hour discounts.


March 11, 12 and 13: Pirates and Pets

Check out the Pet Festival, see some wiener dog races and compete in the tattoo competition.


March 19 and 20: Barbarian Brew Fest

Finish the festival off with the barbarian market, the beard competition and the archery championships.


The Festival is located at 11315 N. 46th St., Tampa, FL 33617, and free parking is available. Step into another time with adult admission of $20.95 at the gate, or purchase advance tickets for $17.95. More information can be found online at