Hello! As promised, I have a full recap of our day at the Michigan Renaissance Festival to share today. Check out what we were up to before we arrived for the first part of our #DetroitDateNight adventures if you’re so inclined.
A trip out to Holly isn’t technically Detroit, but the point of our D-themed date nights (or days) is to experience new things around our area. That we did!
2015 Michigan Renaissance Festival
Scott and I took about a 30 minute drive from the Rochester Hills area and arrived at Hollygrove Grounds for the 37th MIRF (Michigan Renaissance Festival) mid-afternoon on the very first day of the 2015 kick-off Saturday!
We purchased one-day tickets at the door, but I now understand that you can purchase the same tickets in advance at discount prices from places like Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kroger, Walgreens, and more.
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is an annual event that has been going strong for 37 years! Located at Hollygrove Grounds (Dixie Highway), the Festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors from all over the state of Michigan, surrounding states, and even Canada.
It was impressive to walk into acres upon acres of fairgrounds that were solely occupied by 16th Century themed buildings and castles. Where else do you see that?
The MIRF first began in 1979, and attracted 11,000 visitors during its first five-day weekend! Today, the Festival extends through seven weekends including Labor Day Monday and Festival Friday.
Scott found out about the Festival by searching for things to do in the area and took me as a surprise on the very first day of the events. We were definitely in the minority by wearing normal weekend wear!
Walking up to the grounds, it was clear that I was one of the few who was surprised to be in attendance. Most patrons came decked out – head to toe – in 16th century costumes and dress.
We were handed a Festival directory map of events and found plenty to do. The first thing we ran into was a stage show. There were multiple stages that featured live entertainment acts (music, comedy, and shows) all day long!
There were multiple marketplace areas where you could find glassware, goblets, jewelry, and and overwhelming amount of Renaissance clothing.
The Festival was very family friendly, and had a lot of activities specifically catered to kids like face painting, man-powered kiddie rides, and a children’s tea party area. There were pony rides and even camel rides for both kids and adults!
If you come to the Festival, make sure to bring your appetite with you. We didn’t come very hungry, so we missed out on the baked goods (rumor on the streets is that there is a 100-layer cinnamon roll somewhere! <- what?), soup in bread bowls, Scotch eggs, apple dumplings, and the ever-popular turkey legs!
There are several special event tickets you can purchase for an additional fee that includes private dinners, shows, and even pub crawls.
We didn’t opt to do any of those, but we did join the pub crawl for few minutes while enjoying a round of ciders!
The main event we planned to attend was the jousting show. This attracted quite the crowd, and most gathered around early to ensure a spot to see the games begin.
All of the knights were fighting to save the Queen, and eventually there was only one left standing.
We took our time strolling through the grounds and eventually found the 16th century game area. Scott talked me into shooting a bow and arrow, which I quickly learned I was horrible at. I shot a fake deer once out of five times, and it was purely by luck. I’m no Katniss.
Next up was axe throwing! I couldn’t believe we could just walk up, hand them a couple of dollars, and have at it. It seems dangerous, no?
The man working the booth gave us a few pointers and cautioned us to be extremely aware of everything happening around us. As it turns out, I was pretty good at throwing axes. I hit and stuck two out of the three in the wall!
I guess that will come in handy next time I need to fight off any zombies or vampires.
The Festival closed at 7 p.m., so the crowds started dying down around 6 or so. I was itching to try a chili in a bread bowl or turkey leg, but we decided to make one last lap around and have dinner at home instead.
Our first time visiting the Michigan Renaissance Festival was an interesting one for sure. We had a great time, but I can’t enthusiastically say that I will be dying to attend year after year.
It’s always fun to see people in costumes, dive into fair food like kettle corn and turkey legs, and see a variety of people and entertaining stage acts, and the my favorite part was the free events like the jousting show! At $22 per ticket and at least $5 per food item (although parking was free), you should expect to spend a good amount of money for the day.
While the Festival is very family friendly, I’m not sure I would say the same for the shows and live entertainment. A lot of the acts could easily offend those who don’t have an open mind. We enjoyed some of them, but I just wanted to throw it out there.
We would go back to see the Michigan Renaissance Festival again next year, but we would probably bring a group of friends along. It would also be fun to bring kids and have them dress up in costumes. Oh, and there were so many dogs dressed in costumes, too! They were adorable.
We loved the live music (and especially the bands with bag pipes and drums), and I would be interested in coming back closer to Halloween to experience their Halloween in Hollygrove events.
Don’t worry… I’ll bring plenty of axes. Huzzah!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival? Did you dress up?
• What is your favorite type of festival theme?
Scott and I love attending festivals and would frequent them while living in Orlando. One of our favorites year after year is the Scottish Highland Games. You can see a super old throwback post (and video) here. Get your kilt on a enjoy!