Hear ye! Hear ye! The Renaissance Festival of Louisiana invites the people to its 17th annual festival in Hammond, Louisiana. The festival is a rare sight that takes place for six weeks out of the year and only in the month of November to December.
For two years in a row, the festival was nominated the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events in the Southeast for its entertainment for all ages and is continuing to expand. Each weekend is given a different theme every year to attract more people. The themes for this year are: Masquerade, Heroes and Pirates, Celtic, Time Travelers, and Romance.
Manager of ticket sales, Daphne Hebert said, “I’ve been working for the same vendor for almost a decade now.
As workers, they start coming into town within a month or so before the show opens to prepare their spaces. There are folks who stay year-round as groundskeepers, while the owners and office staff work all year to make sure everything is in place for when the vendors return.”
The festival hires over 600 workers who also go into full costume and character. They are trained to be professionally into character and to always entertain. The costumes vary from fairies, knights, masqueraded noblemen, kings and queens, fairies, belly dancers, and even pirates.
“I enjoy working at the Renaissance Festival every year. I’ve made great friends, and I look forward to reconnecting with them whenever this time comes back around,” said Herbert. “It’s a unique situation, because most of the vendors travel around the country all year, so we only see each other for a couple of months at the end of the year, but it’s like one big family reunion.”
This 16-acre Festival offers over 100 shops of variety collections. The stores can contain anything from real swords and armor, toys, jewels, collectibles, clothing and more. Booths offer anything from sweet treats from the bakery to renaissance styled food.
Vendor of the festival, Jamie Dearman, said, “The atmosphere was great. It kind of reminds me almost of an amusement park but different, more real if that makes sense. Since there’s not as much electronic stuff as compared to something like Disney, it makes sure to get people involved. I recommend anyone to dress up and gain that experience. I promise you won’t be the only one walking around in a full renaissance outfit.”
Every day, over 65 shows are put on that are educational or full of comedy for all ages. Some of the popular rated shows are: Pirate training, The Duelists, Shakespeare Approval, Glassblowing show, Lords of Adventure, and many more.
English graduate assistant, Jannah Mitchell, said, “I love going to the renaissance festival every year. My high school started that tradition for me and I still do it eight years later. The one thing I make sure to do every time is the ‘Washing Well Wenches’ show. It never fails to make a crowd laugh.”
The Festival also does many reservations for groups such as: birthdays, weddings, Royal High Tea and Meal times, student days for schools, and many more. The festival recommends those interested to reserve ahead of time as the tickets can sell out early.
“There’s something for everyone! Musicians and theatrical performers, shops full of every variety of hand-made goods, rides, a joust, and even falconers,” said Herbert. “There’s such a wide variety that something is bound to appeal to everyone in your group. Every year we offer something new to the crowd.”
Earlier this year, the festival committee released two press releases on two new upcoming events. The first being a Bagpipe competition that will take place on November 18th where anyone can join and apply on the online application. Another event is the Beverage Tastings offered on the 24th of November. This will include choices of tea tastings, wine tastings, craft beer, or whiskey tastings.
“If you want a trip you’ll remember away from so much technology, then go. Take the time to learn about our history and what it used to be like,” said Dearman. “It is an educational way to have fun and experience something unique. There is always something to do for all ages.”
For the parents with young children, the festival provided a place for you too. “Realm of the Child” is the rest area where children can rest, play, and still be entertained with the area becomes overwhelming. Families can access this area for free. There are many craft sections and interactive stations for children such as: bow and arrow shootings, pirate training, jousting, wooden swings, and many more.
“My advice to people attending for the first time is to be open to seeing something different. Especially if you go on a themed weekend, there’s no telling what you could see,” said Dearman. “Also, don’t be afraid to get into the spirit of trying new things, the fair only comes around once a year.”
The Festival is sponsored by the Renaissance Living History Center which is a non-profit organization that ensures educational experience. For more information, go to http://www.renlivinghistory.org or www.larf.org.