Renaissance Days Come to Tennessee
As though passing through a time warp, you will be surrounded by the colorful pageantry of costumed villagers, musicians playing their merry music, artisans hawking their wares and accents from Shakespeare’s England.
If you feel a little out of place, don’t worry. Merchants selling Renaissance clothing will happily find something to suit all ages.
The Tennessee Renaissance Festival emerges as if by magic every May. Each weekend in the month of May festival goers throng to experience life in a mythical English colony under the rule of Queen Elizabeth. The year is 1585.
More than 60 artisans display their wares for thousands who travel from miles around.
Hold your breath while knife throwers hurl razor-sharp blades at each other, or laugh at wishing well wenches, swash buckling pirates and various comedy acts and stage presentations. Watch winged predators swoop at dazzling speeds to snatch food from the master falconer.
Your man may well transform into a Robin Hood, court jester, or knight with sword and shining armor to accompany his own Maid Marion. There are numerous free children’s activities. The wee lads and lasses can be knighted by Queen Elizabeth to become Peers of the Realm, enter a costume contest, or play in the Children’s Arts and Crafts area.
Renaissance festivals across the country draw a devout following of folk who dress the part and transform into peasants and royalty for the day. Here’s your chance to become part of the magic!
Castell Gwynn (“white castle”) presides over the village – the only Renaissance festival in the country held on the grounds of a castle residence. The impressive, twin-towered castle is a full-size replica of a Welsh border castle. Construction began in 1980 as the result of a passionate dream by owner Mike Freeman, professional photographer, who resides in the upper stories with his family. A free tour (11:00am – 3:00pm) of the castle’s first floor is included with festival admission. Inside are period costumes, tapestries, and even an original sword excavated (and dated) from one of the battlefields where Richard the Lionheart fought the Crusades. Freeman is only the fourth owner of the sword since the Crusades.
Freeman’s dream castle is still evolving, as he continues to add features as the inspiration takes him. Country music artist Taylor Swift filmed her video “Love Story” on the castle grounds, and it has been the backdrop for several weddings.
The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is located in Arrington-Triune, 25 miles south of Nashville. Plan to visit 10:00am – 6:00pm this final three-day Memorial weekend. Admission is $20 adults, $17 military and seniors, $7 children 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. Call (615) 395-9950 for more details.