Located in Scenic Gold Canyon AZ, the 2016 Arizona Renaissance Festival is a must see event as it combines food, entertainment, shopping, and more to create a truly unique experience.
When we arrived, I had expected a field of tents and moveable seats, but was not prepared for seeing a very large and permanent structure as the venue. I figured since the fair runs for only a few weeks and is held on weekends, a permanent structure would not be ideal, but one look at the impressive battle mounts changed my expectations.
As staff and many costumed guests gathered, the pre-opening ceremony was a lively and entertaining way to pass the time until one could step through the gates and step back in time.
Upon entering we were greeted by very friendly guests and staff as well as numerous vendors who were more than happy to pose for pictures and would strike up a conversation with you. The venue was lined with numerous vendors selling everything from food, books, clothing, games, rides, and artwork, and the prices and quality were very good. It should be noted that food booth and many vendors take cash only so thankfully there are numerous ATM machines around, but they are well placed so as to not disrupt the illusion of the setting.
We were very impressed with the variety, quality, and pricing of the food items as everything from pizza to Mexican, as well as traditional English cuisine was available which offered something for everyone. There were also various rides and the opportunity to ride animals such as elephants, llama’s, and a camel available.
As we walked we continued to be amazed at not only the numerous offerings but at just how large the venue was as the streets kept going and going each offering no end of options.
The festival is loaded with entertainment as we saw musical acts, comedy, and skill shows, and our schedule was overloaded with options.
There was even a grand dining option which offered a multi-course meal and entertainment, but due to a busy schedule we were unable to take advantage of this during this trip.
My wife had wondered why they had not taken the business model of charging more at the gate but having things like rides included in the price but then speculated it was due to a desire to keep the cost as inviting to everyone as possible. I do think that offering guests all-inclusive wrist-band options like you see at the fair for various rides and such might be an option so guests can spend more time enjoying the Fair and less time having to run to the ATM.
The staff was not only very friendly but they were well-organized as they had us parked very easily and kept the guests served and entertained.
You will want to arrive early as the roads in can fill up fast. We were able to get in without issues but when we left in the afternoon, the line stretched a considerable distance down the highway and was at a slow crawl.
The Fair runs through March 27th before they return the following year. In a day and age of high entertainment prices, it is nice to know that the Fair offers a full day of entertainment that the family can enjoy at a very reasonable price as well as a unique experience that we look forward to enjoying next year and in years to come.
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