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THE TOP TEN REASONS TO VISIT THE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL OF NEBRASKA
at the Bellevue Berry Farm in Papillion
1. JOUST DO IT!
Come on! It’s the big show at every Renaissance festival! Gallant men (and some women!) in full armor, atop majestic steeds, galloping full force at one another with long wooden lances. Plus, at some point they’ll hack at one another with swords, axes, poles, and clashing shields. It’s an amazing spectacle to watch. Equestrian play is offered three times daily, and not one should be missed.
2. Food and drink fit for a king!
Mention a Renaissance festival and people will go on about the turkey legs, the original food on a “stick”! In addition to hoisting a kingly leg, festival goers can feast on favorites like Scotch eggs (hard-boiled eggs wrapped with sausage, dusted with breadcrumbs and fried golden brown – delicious with yellow mustard and a dark beer!), fish-n-chips, pit barbeque, giant pickles, kettle corn, and funnel-cakes, plus mead sampling and wine tasting. Slake your thirst and fill your belly, mate!
3. Live stage performances!
Renaissance festivals have a broad range of performers and entertainment, including fire-eaters, belly dancers, magicians, comedians, jugglers, musicians and acrobats. Various stages with an array of performances can be found throughout the festival grounds, so wander and enjoy!
If you’re looking for Disney-like purity, you’re in the wrong century. Some acts are more PG-13, with adult innuendo though less straight up crudeness than you’ll find in a lot of movies. You might laugh hard enough that a quick trip to the privy could be in order.
4. Family fun at the faire!
Don’t get the wrong idea, though – some acts may be PG-13 but there are loads of fun things for kids and families to enjoy. Visit the enchanted forest, with its free craft and activity tree-house, mermaid's cove, children’s stage, daily faerie tea party and butterfly release. And don’t miss out: there’s more fun and activity at the pirate ship, the may-pole, and in the spooky pirates’ cave….
5. People-watching like nowhere else!
Where else can you find an on-going parade of regal royals, colorful characters, fancy fairies, and noble knights? Costumes tend to alter the personalities of the people wearing them, so enjoy the show. Settle in at the wine tasting pavilion and spy not only the cast of the Renaissance Festival of Nebraska but also the playtrons (patrons who attend dressed in costume) who have worked on their garb all winter and are happy to finally don their festive apparel.
6. Shopping made interesting!
You can get amazing things at a Renaissance festival you just can’t find anywhere else. These artisans and specialty vendors are essentially brick-and-mortar (or canvas-and-rope) Medieval Etsy shops. Deck yourself from head to toe, with period and costume hats, leather and laced boots, and all the gorgeous doublets and gowns needed between. You’ll find a nice collection of historical knickknacks, an abundance of artful crafts, and tons and tons of swords and shields, both metal and wood. Take in the sights, sounds, and scents of the marketplace, with its candles, soaps, jewelry, pottery, honey, woodworking and more.
7. Role-playing is openly accepted!
A Renaissance festival is kind of like a frat party wrapped in Halloween. Fly your freak flag by wearing a pirate hat, fairy wings, a king’s crown or a cat mask. There’s no social hierarchy among the attendees of a faire — an executive dressed as a saucy wench may rub elbows with a local farmer in royal gowns. No one cares about your net worth or your upbringing. The only thing you’ll be judged on is how loud you can cheer for the jousters… and maybe your ax-throwing skills.
8. Romance and hot times!
It’s true - there’s a bit more exposed skin at a Renaissance festival than you might expect, but it’s all in flirtatious fun. Women wear gowns with plunging necklines, and men in tights leave little to the imagination. Even the manliest of men in kilts will keep you guessing whether or not they’re going commando under those plaid skirts. Your complementary views of period-playful corsets and codpieces are just part of the costuming fun at any faire.
9. History made fun!
It’s surprising how much you can learn at a Renaissance festival. At the encampment area, you can learn a lot about daily life in the 1500’s as reenactors demonstrate skills of yore and display their hands-on talents. They’re always willing to share a historical perspective or teach you a new skill, be it blacksmithing, weaving, belly dancing, or archery. Everyone is happy to talk to you about what they are doing, and it is a very welcoming environment.
10. Get caught up in the story!
Did you know that a good percentage of the people in costume, or garb, are part of an overall cast of performers for the festival, and that they all have a story-line that they are following? It’s true. Is this the year that Sir Dudley finally wins Queen Elizabeth’s hand? Will the Dark Faeries of winter successfully pass the baton to the Light Faeries of spring? The only way to find out is to join the Royal Court and the many creatures of myth and fantasy at the Renaissance Festival of Nebraska.