Medieval Fun at Michigan Renaissance Festival

Medieval Fun at Michigan Renaissance Festival

(Sam Gurwin, Sept. 14, 2018)

Holly, Groveland Township, MI- Visiting the Michigan Renaissance Festival is like traveling back in time, to days of old full of kings and queens, jousting, and a mythical love of dragons.  Located in the forest outside of Holly, this destination is a world of it’s own.

Since 1979 the festival has attracted around 250,000 visitors and there seems to be no end in sight. Entertainment in the form of stage acts, wandering musicians, artisans, children’s  activities provide timeless thrills.

The Journey Begins Walking from the huge parking area in front of the Village of Hollygrove (the name of the Renaissance Festival amongst the Costumed Regulars). One senses the excitement already as many visitors dress up like Lords and Ladies of old. Some even talk like they did in those days.

Once past the Medieval Wall, the sights and sounds of the 16th Century hit you – whimsical music and booming bards, velvety costumes and the cold steel of armor, the smells of turkey legs and mead, and the rumble of happy excitement.

Among the vendors is Milinda Katchey of Happy Hookers Detroit. “It’s my first year here,” Katchey said. “And it’s been amazing.” Her shawls and dresses go well with the rest of the garb worn by ladies at the festival.

Nearby in Guinness Pub, tavern keeper Lee from Cass City said of last weekend “The weather is fantastic; a little cooler but good drinking weather.”

The pub is a favorite spot for Benardus Gerardus Wubbolts who comes to the festival each year guised as “The Dutchman.” With hundreds of costumes, The Dutchman has been a regular for 16 years.  “I don’t really do anything- I just stand here,” he said.  “I like People.  This is a magical place.”

Another Renaissance Festival favorite is the Jousting Ring, which is surrounded by cheering spectators.  Knights in shining armor played games of skill until two winners were chosen to joust.

On 17 stages through the park, acts included comedy, fire-handling, belly-dancing, music, juggling and more.

The Washing Well Wenches are one of the more popular acts, performing every year since 1992. The theme of the show is having fun while in search of a good male suitor. And of course all sorts of funny moments ensue! When not making crowds laugh, the Wenches are doing good works, including volunteering at battered women’s’ shelters in Flint and bringing in bus-loads of women to the festival who would not otherwise be able to attend.  “We are crazy but we are crazy good,” joked the leader of this merry band, a Washing Well Wench named Daphne.

From mid-August to the end of September the Michigan Renaissance Festival brings this 17 acres to life with a truly unique experience for all.  Learn more at http://www.michrenfest.com/.

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