Jesters, gypsies, and royalty, Oh My: The Louisiana Renaissance Festival

Take a trip to another time period— the mythical creatures and countrymen of the Middle Ages await you in Hammond, Louisiana, for a weekend of revelry. Photo: Glitch00

Hammond, Louisiana, November 12th, 2013— The possibility of living out childhood fantasies of fairytale lands and heroic feats is a tantalizing concept for not only daydreaming students— admittedly or not, even the most realistic adult minds have imagined adventures as medieval protagonists. Fortunately, the Louisiana Renaissance Festival at 46468 River Road in Hammond offers the opportunity to both the openly enthusiastic and privately indulgent to experience those fancies.

The sixteen acre fairground provides substantial space for the Village of Albright to thrive for over a month of archaic revelry. Every Saturday and Sunday of November, along with the first, seventh, and eight of December, the domain of the Middle Ages welcomes its visitors from the twenty first century into an entirely different realm. Furthermore, the traders and artisans could care less about the weather— sunny, stormy, or anything in between, the festival will push on for its participants’ pleasures.


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The event functions as any community from the Renaissance would— merchants showcase their finest goods, food stalls entice passerby, entertainers beckon to the masses. Pocket change would come in handy during visits because commodities from candles and incense to fairy wings and wooden instruments await purchasers. As the holiday season nears, much of the festival can be considered a massive bazaar, exhibiting every plausible gift to sneak under the Christmas tree. Dozens of friendly shopkeepers, dressed in traditional medieval attire, display their wares from the opening of festival grounds at 9:45 A.M. to last call at 5 P.M. 

Speaking of garb from the Middle Ages, an encouraged trend among event goers is to attend in full costume. The official website for the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, www.LARF.net, notes that around fifteen percent of their guests meet the medieval dress code. From knights in plastic armor to leafy forest nymphs to lowly peasants, a factor in enjoying the fair is playing make-believe as a chronologically accurate character.

This year, the festival relates particular costume themes with separate time spans. While the chances to arrive as a pirate or hero have already passed, Celtic, Princess Bride, and Mask Weekend still await creative minds. The final days of the fair will be commemorated with brilliant fireworks shows. 

Undoubtedly, an afternoon spent at the Renaissance Festival will keep event-goers satisfied. With comedians and actors conducting shows almost every hour, visitors can grab a seat— or bench, in most cases— and munch on a monstrous turkey leg while viewing. Sometimes, the thespians will even choose members of the audience to engage in the on-stage productions, earning the festival a reputation for interactive theatre. In particular, one of the most celebrated performances is the jousting matches between rival knights on horseback.


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For the high-class maidens and lords, royal teas also take place, along with whiskey tastings for those of the appropriate age. A total of three food courts operate in different corners of the village, but a massive assortment of vendors sell specialty snacks and meals all around the fair grounds. Bagpipe competitions will occur at scheduled times and blacksmiths  demonstrate their craft to any interested. Weavers, spinners, glass blowers, and gypsies all showcase their practices for crowds. Palm readings ensue behind dark curtains and medieval lovers are wed into holy matrimony on the premises. 

The fair acts as a theme park, too, with its spinning and swinging rides. Visitors can partake in games of skill and courage, then strategically compete against friends in tournaments of cushioned combat. Walk into the Renaissance Fest as a mere mortal; leave as a trained warrior. 

The initial fee for adults at the entrance is $17.00, but adolescents aged six to twelve years old are only charged $10.00. Children under six years old can get in for free. Cash, credit, and debit are accepted as forms of payment. A portion of the profit from the Renaissance Festival is donated to the Renaissance Living History Center, which focuses on spreading knowledge of medieval times throughout the general public. 

Hammond is located almost directly between the major cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, an hour outside of both. The official Louisiana Renaissance Festival website recommends rustic camping with tents and RVs as an option for overnight stays, but the local Hampton Inn at 401 Westin Oak Drive gives a discount for event goers in particular. The hotel is situated only twenty minutes away from the fair grounds. 

Take a trip to another time period— the mythical creatures and countrymen of the Middle Ages await you in Hammond, Louisiana, for a weekend of revelry. Eat, drink, and be merry at an unforgettably unique event. 

Where: 46468 River Road in Hammond, LA 70401

When: November 16th and 17th, 23rd and 24th, 29th and 30th

December 1st, 7th, and 8th

from 9:45 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Cost: $17.00 for adults, $10.00 for children, aged six to twelve years, free for toddlers younger than six

Contact for More Information: E-mail info@LARF.org or call (985) 429-9992.

 

 


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Megan Boyanton

Megan Boyanton is a Mass Communications major and freshman at the Louisiana Scholars' College in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She not only writes in the "Out and About Louisiana" column, but hosts a morning radio show on KNWD 91.7 FM "The Demon."

She is an active member of the Phi Mu female fraternity. Raised outside of Seattle, Washington, she has resided in the Deep South for the majority of her eighteen years and has an intense passion for traveling. 

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