Over the edge of the the Wisconsin border lies a very interesting place; one where Queens and their knights still reign supreme, the shops still cater to those looking for shiny things and hand crafted wares, and where an occasional time traveler finds themselves exploring the grounds for a new adventure. There are few places where you can go to that instantly transport you to a such completely different time and the Bristol Renaissance Faire is one of those rare locales. The Bristol Renaissance Faire manages to mix authentic atmosphere with completely anachronistic elements, creating a welcoming atmosphere that doesn’t disappoint.
This summer marks the 30th annual Bristol Renaissance Faire and the majesty of its campus continues to marvel. The faire occupies 30 acres of land and has 20 stages throughout the space, meaning it’s practically impossible to see everything there is to offer.Bristol’s lively streets feature in-character performers creating on the spot moments that could be missed if you’re not in the right spot at the right time. Take a look at one of their schedules, which is filled to the brim with more shows than one person can see in a day. With acrobatic feats, live action roleplaying quests, huge portions of food (turkey legs!) or the alcohol infused Pub Crawl, there is something for everyone. That’s the charm of Bristol. No matter what age you are there is a journey you can take that will leave you smiling. It’s not surprising that Bristol has been voted “Best Renaissance Faire” the past six years (2010-2016).
Below I’ve highlighted some of the acts I was able to see during Bristol Renaissance Faire’s 7th weekend, a mere scratch of the surface of this fantastic experience.
The Mud Show
Despite the constant flow of self deprecating humor (“Back despite unpopular demand!), there are merits to the crowd rousing Mud Show. The conceit of the show is simple, performers hype the crowd with a slew of innuendos for a competition of death defying acts of muddy grossness. The winner of said competition gets the opportunity to not eat mud. The show is a messy, rude, and ultimately fun time as men sink, dive, and roll in the mud for your entertainment.
Moonie the Magnif’Cent!
Moonie the Magnif’Cent (who is celebrating his 25th year at Bristol) has a reputation, either one of goofy lighthearted jester or one of a performer with a short fuse for inattentive audience members. Now I’m not saying I’ve been on the receiving end of one of Moonie’s explosive taunts for not standing at the right time during his introduction (…), but both of those assessments are fair. When Moonie’s act leans toward these aggressive moments, they can be taken as harsh or delightful jabs at the audience that prime you to keep your eyes on performance. Either way, Moonie’s performance is typically entertaining. He operates mostly through whistles and hums (and the occasional “fa-la! La la la la”), blending improv with elements of acrobatics an mime for an impressive performance.
Lauryn Murray – Aerial Silk Fantasy
This is one of the acts that I just happened to have stumbled onto while traversing the hilly landscape of the Faire. If I hadn’t looked up at the right moment, I would have missed one of the most graceful and awe inspiring moments of the day. Lauryn Murray nimbly climbs up to the precarious heights of surrounding trees while hanging onto flowing silk. Her skill is incredibly impressive, seemingly floating 30 feet above the ground as she dances in midair. Murray’s movements seem effortless, attracting a big crowd throughout her time in the sky.
Adam Crack: Fire Whip Show
Adam Crack, who is a 23-time Guinness World Record holder, puts on an impressive display of tricks with a variety of whips and ropes. Like many of the performers at the faire, Crack relies on his quick wit and improv skills, pulling jokes on the fly as he jumps through his lasso and cracks his whips with insane speed. With tons of audience participation and a touch of fire, his act is one of the more fluid and fun at the fest and continues to be a must see no matter how many times I’ve experienced it.
There is still time to visit the Bristol Renaissance Faire this season. August 26th & 27th is Swashbucklers weekend, so this is your weekend if you’re up for pirate fun, and September 2nd-4th is the final weekend of this fantastic experience. Tickets are available online and through their partners (Walgreens and Menards) at reduced prices! Don’t miss out on these olden times adventures!