The Northern California Renaissance Faire is back this year, albeit with COVID-19 warnings, after being canceled "due to plague" in 2021. The recreated Elizabethan English village will be open weekends, Sept. 18 to Oct. 24, in Hollister.
The event brings to life a village during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, complete with period costumes, refreshments and entertainment. Think knights jousting, Shakespearean-style performers, sword swallowing, live music and more. Old-world handcrafts will be on sale at the fair, as well.
There are also a variety of Renaissance-era activities to try out. These include challenges and tests of strength, such as archery, axe and knife throwing, javelin, and darts. Schools of juggling and of fencing will be operating, as will tarot card readers. And children especially are likely to enjoy the carousel and petting zoo.
Guests are encouraged to dress for the theme, bolstering the feeling of stepping (way) back in time, and there are also opportunities to enhance costumes there with fancy hair braiding or costume paraphernalia for sale. Rental costumes are also available for $18-$65 for adults and $8-$25 for kids.
Refreshments range from giant turkey legs and ale to tea with the queen, daily at 4 p.m. ($31 adults, $15.50 children).
Performers at the Faire in 2013. | Photo: Northern California Renaissance Faire
General admission tickets for the event are $30 per person, although numerous discounts are available, and children 12 and under get in free. The price includes all entertainment; refreshments and products are available for additional fees. (Outside food and drink are not permitted, so budget for eating at the fair.) Parking is $10, cash-only.
The event is recommending vaccines for eligible guests, and masking is currently optional for the outdoor event (though we imagine there may be some creative masked-ball-style face coverings this year!), but that may change if local guidance changes.
"The Northern California Renaissance Faire is following guidance from the CDC and local and state recommendations regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols," the event website states. "The State of California strongly recommends that all guests be fully vaccinated before entering the Faire. Currently, face coverings remain optional for all guests at this outdoor event. These recommendations may change before the Faire opens and will be updated accordingly."
The Renaissance Faire takes place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 18 to Oct. 24th. The event is located at Casa De Fruta, P10031 Pacheco Pass Hwy 152, Gate 6, Hollister. More information: norcalrenfaire.com