Some friends and I decided to venture out to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. I’ve been before, years ago, so I knew vaguely what to expect. However, I did not expect us to laugh as hard or have as much fun as we did. Although it rained for about 15 minutes, it actually worked in our favor; the temperature wasn’t too hot, and the day was still enjoyable. 

Before I get too far into my story, and I cannot stress this enough, I have to remind everyone to bring cash. Although there are ATMs, there is a charge, and it is better to remember ahead of time. 

Walking in, I simply didn’t know where to start. Little themed shops, games, and food vendors are scattered throughout the grounds, like the Archery station, where you can try your hand at shooting a bullseye, and several shows stages are set up down the hill from the entrance. The boys insisted we start with beer and turkey legs, but I opted for beef stew in a bread bowl, which I will continue to dream about for years to come. 

The entire festival makes you feel like you are immersed in one great big audience-interactive show. Characters approach you as you walk around the grounds, like Popcorn Pete, who tries to sell kettle corn in a comical, heckling manner. “Don’t you think your lady would like some corn, sir?” Even people that didn’t work there were in character, which made it even more fun.

Although we missed the jousting, we did get to see other shows, which run sporadically throughout the day. The first show we went to was probably the best. The juggler was fantastic, but I missed his name. Every time we thought he couldn’t do anything more complicated or add another trick without seriously hurting himself, he proved us wrong. He didn’t just juggle knives or fire, because that would be too easy. No, he juggled knives and fire while standing on a board balanced on a barrel and swaying back and forth. 

The other two shows we went to were shorter. The Washing Wenches were wildly inappropriate and hilarious. I wouldn’t bring the kids to this particular show. All of their participants were males… and I’ll let you use your imagination. The last show we went to was an impressive contortionist that juggled fire. 

All in all, we had a fabulous time. I do think that this is probably a trip for the older crowds. My group definitely enjoyed the alcohol and had some great laughs, but a lot of the jokes lean towards the inappropriate side. My last tip would be to wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking and sometimes a little mud, but it was all worth it. Go check it out! AND If you use this coupon, you can get $3.00 off!