21st annual Bristol Renaissance Faire

Opening this Saturday for nine weekends through Labor Day Monday, September 1, the Faire's ( renfair.com )new RenQuest invites willing patrons to immerse themselves in an evolving adventure of riddles, spells, hunts and other challenges. As guest-participants interact with the period performers, artisans and merchants who inhabit the wooded village of the Faire, they will gain experience points, advance through the levels of the live action game, and eventually face the Dragon Bloodtharken.

"An estimated 20 million people have played Dungeons & Dragons since Gary Gygax first released the game in 1974," said Shane Hill, director of Bristol's Gamers Guild. "Today, gamers worldwide are flocking to the latest phenomenon of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and a growing number of these are seeking out opportunities to expand their group role-playing into live action settings."

"The interactive theatrical experience we're creating with Bristol's RenQuest goes well beyond the traditional expectation of live action fantasy games," said Bristol artistic director Ron Scot Fry. "We have an entire 30-acre village of 1,200 inhabitants in position to engage participants along their quests and a professional production team to ensure a top-quality and memorable adventure for veteran gamers, as well as those who've never experienced role-playing games before."

In addition to gaining individual experience points, RenQuest players will accumulate points toward the advancement of one of two feuding factions with which they are aligned – the brave and noble Order of the Sun, or the wild, chaotic Lunar Tribe. Some quests will last a day; others will extend over multiple weekends or the entire season. Throughout the nine-week festival, ceremonies will be staged and awards bestowed to signify the status of individual players and the feuding factions.

Like all Faire festivities, Bristol's RenQuest will take place within the framework of the summer day in 1574 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol. Along their quests, participants will partake in 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music, and one-of-a-kind encounters with a colorful cast of era characters. They will interact with noble knights, swashbuckling swordsmen, strolling minstrels, rope-walkers, jesters, jugglers and an eclectic assortment of comedic performers, all eager to aid (or thwart) them in their quests.

For two decades, the Bristol Renaissance Faire has been captivating visitors with an incomparable spectrum of experiences, from unabashed revelry to first rate people-watching. For those who want to check their inhibitions at the gate, there's ample opportunity to whoop and holler at jousting knights, get down and dirty with raucous, earth-clad mud beggars, or hurl a ripe tomato at a blustering braggart. Those inclined toward more serene pursuits will find a comparable bounty of enjoyments, from watching glass-blowers create one-of-a-kind works of art, to joining in a round of 16th Century court dancing, or listening to the dulcet tones of a world-class harpist.

Located just west of Interstate 94's Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Bristol Renaissance Faire will open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday, July 5 through Aug. 31, and on Labor Day, Sept. 1. Tickets purchased at the gate are $18.95 for adults and $9.50 for children age 5 to 12. RenQuest participation costs an additional $10 per day or $15 per weekend. A full-season RenQuest pass costs $100, which includes Faire admission after the first visit. Advance ticket discounts are available online at renfair.com or by phone, (847) 395-7773. For more information, visit www.renfair.com.

Faire Facts

Who: More than 1,200 period artisans, merchants and performers, including jousting knights, juggling jesters, willful wenches and ravishing rogues.

What: A rollicking romp through Elizabethan England, complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance, recreating the summer day in 1574 when Queen Elizabeth visited the English hamlet of Bristol.


  • New this summer, Bristol's RenQuest invites gamers and others to test their role-playing skills, beyond the realm of their computer screens, in a live- action series of interactive riddles, spells, hunts and other challenges.
  • Throughout their encounters with Faire inhabitants, players will gain experience points, advance through the levels of the game, and eventually face the Dragon Bloodtharken.
  • Entertainment

  • Sixteen stages of nonstop entertainment featuring Faire favorites such as Dirk and Guido ("The Swordsmen"); the Sturdy BeggarsTM Mud Show® ;MooNiE the Magnif'Cent – Juggler, Ropewalker and Foolish Mortal; and Barely Balanced, a 3-person acrobatic comedy troupe.
  • Marketplace

  • Nearly 200 artisans and crafters showcasing wares ranging from jewelry and leatherworks to tapestries and hand-crafted longbows
  • Demonstrations by potters, glass blowers, broom caners, forgers and other working artisans.
  • Food & Drynke

  • Roasted turkey legs, skewered shrimp, barbequed ribs, garlic sautéed mushrooms, steak sandwiches, grilled chicken, ice cream, fruit crepes and other delicacies.
  • Thirst quenching ales, fine wines, iced tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
  • When: Saturdays and Sundays, plus Labor Day Monday, July 5 through September 1 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., rain or shine

    Where: Kenosha, Wis., west of I-94 near Illinois/Wisconsin border (Russell Road exit)

    Tickets and Info $18.95 for adults and $9.50 for children (ages 5-12) at gate. Discounts available online at renfair.com or by phone, (847) 395-7773.

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