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A Mom’s Guide to the NJ Renaissance Faire

For those of you who have not been to the NJ Renaissance Faire before, it is a place that should not be missed for people in any walk of life. It is like being transported into the 1500’s in terms of the language, decor and garb.

Personally I love to dress up in costumes and this is a place where you can feel free to adorn yourself in whatever attire you desire with no judgments being made. While most people stick to the attire of that time period I have seen many other outfits as well including Yoda, Cloud, Jack Sparrow and a ninja.

The merchants, events, and activities at the NJ Renaissance Faire are unlike those seen in any other place. I had experienced it before in 2014 with my friends and this year I was lucky enough to be able to experience it again with my family. We were provided tickets to the Faire as part of an advertising partnership with the NJ Renaissance Faire.

The NJ Renaissance Faire

Where is the NJ Renaissance Faire this year?

The NJ Renaissance Faire is at the location of the Liberty Lake Day Camp. The address is 1195 Florence Columbus Rd Bordentown Township, New Jersey.

Entrance to the NJ renaissance faire

When is the NJ Renaissance Faire?

For 2021, the Faire is on the weekends of May 29th to the 30th and June 5th to 6th. 

Are dogs allowed at the NJ Renaissance Faire?

Dogs are welcome at the Faire. Remember to purchase them a dog ticket. The Dog Registration Form and Rules Form must be printed and filled out as well as a copy of proof of their rabies vaccination. This was my favorite dog at the Faire who really seemed to get into the spirit of the occasion. His name was Sir Mayan, Bone Collector of the House of Chi. 

a dog attends the NJ renaissance faire in a stroller decorated as a castle.

Are masks required?

Masks are required on the entire property aside from when people are eating or drinking. They do not detract from the experience at all and if anything they can be a way to expand your creativity for your outfit. My daughter chose to wear a unicorn mask with her princess outfit. Six feet of social distancing is also expected to be maintained between people from different households. The Faire capacity was also limited to fifty percent this year. There were hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the Faire.

Is cash being accepted by vendors?

Cash is being accepted by most vendors. There were some who accepted credit cards and Venmo. I would encourage bringing along cash and keeping it easily accessible in order to tip the various performers. There are ones that are on the stages for the various shows but also ones that just appear along the pathways as well for an impromptu performance. 

Some guests dress up for the NJ Renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

Do we need to dress up? What should we wear?

Dressing up is not a requirement but I recommend doing so in order to feel more a part of the action. For men, an easy option could be a tunic or vest on top of a long sleeved shirt. For women, an easy option is a long skirt combined with a peasant blouse. A cloak is also a great addition to any outfit. For my son I had him wear his baby Yoda costume without the headpiece which made a terrific peasant outfit. My daughter was excited to wear her princess Anna dress as well.

Often other characters such as pirates and fairies are seen there in case you have clothing of a similar ilk. I also highly recommend wearing boots since it can get muddy there if it is raining or has rained recently. Picking out some clothing similar to that time period will help you feel less like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

If you do not have anything at home but still would like to don the attire, do not worry. Many of the vendors there have costumes and accessories which are some of the most intricate that I have ever seen. If it is a rainy day I recommend wearing a clear poncho or carrying an umbrella so that others can still see your outfit.

What is the theme for this year’s Renaissance Faire?

The theme for this year is the Fairy Masquerade that is based loosely on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Many fairies can be seen flitting across the grounds. They are prepared to welcome mere mortals to the Faire this year to help restore the old Magicks to the Shire.

Are restrooms available?

There are large restrooms available that have stalls and a mirror located where it says Privies on the map. There are also Port-a-Potties in multiple different locations. 

How much is admission for the NJ Renaissance Faire?

  • A single day pass for adults (ages 13 and up) is $25. A single day pass for children (ages 5 to 12) or dogs is $10. A VIP pass is $80 which would give you admission for all four days. 
A child dances through bubbles from the bubble magician at the NJ Renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

What’s included with admission?

Admission includes entry to the NJ Renaissance Faire. Entrants can walk the grounds of the Shire and visit all the merchants and their wares as well as watch any of the free events listed on the event schedule.

What’s not included in the admission price?

Food and drinks must be purchased separately. They are not allowed to be brought in from the outside. If you are doing any additional activities such as archery or axe throwing these each have their own costs associated with them.

How can I save money on NJ Renaissance Faire tickets?

A VIP pass can save you money if you are planning on attending all four days. Groupon occasionally offers discounted tickets. If you follow @njrenfaire on Twitter they will occasionally post a promo code that is available for a short time period. 

How much is parking?

Parking is free and there is limited VIP parking available on a first come, first served basis for $10. When entering the road to the Faire there are plenty of attendants that will direct you to a parking spot. 

NJ Renaissance Faire Activities

The Renaissance Faire is chock full of so many things to see that the hours pass in the blink of an eye. When I visited in 2014 my favorite parts of visiting were the glass blowing demonstration and the Battle Your Friends section. Here I had a blast donning a lamé and fencing with them while trying to pop the balloons that were attached to us.

fencing at the NJ renaissance faire

I was wondering if there would be enough to do with my young children this year and I was surprised to find that the Faire actually has lots of great activities for children. My four year old asked if she could return here every day after attending. 

When we visited this year I was even more prepared and I had saved the events schedule and a copy of the map onto my phone so that we could make the most out of our time. I recommend downloading these and printing them out ahead of time. Both of these can be found on their main page: https://njrenfaire.com/

Musicians play at the NJ Renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

What is there for kids, tweens, and teens to do at the NJ Renaissance Faire?

Activities for little kids

  • Meadow Perry the Bubble Magician
  • Make your own wand to take home at Nipper’s Nook
  • Musical instruments to play with in the tepee at Nipper’s Nook
  • Tammy Vreeland Story Time at the Unicorn Stage
  • Quest to go find the fairy doors and then return to Tammy Vreeland to learn how to make a unicorn fly
  • Playground

Activities for big kids

  • Costume and Mask Contest
  • Shelli Buttons Aerial Acrobatics
  • Swings
  • Unicorn rides at Nipper’s Nook
  • Paolo Garbanzo Juggling Jester
  • Merry Music Makers
archery at the NJ renaissance faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

Activities for tweens

  • Swords & Stories: Kid’s Squire Show
  • Lords of Adventure Comedy Sword Fighting Show
  • Adamo Ignis Fire and Danger Show
  • Catapults
  • Outdoor table games
  • Climbing web at Nipper’s Nook
  • Merchant tent perusal

Activities for teens

  • Axe Throwing – $5 for 5 throws
  • Archery – Additional Fee
  • Blacksmithing Demos throughout the day at La Forge at noon, 2 and 3:30 pm
  • Outdoor table games
  • Jousting at Swain Field – Cheer for your favorite knight!
  • Battle with Friends (additional cost)
  • Shakespeare Approves! Shakespearean Comedy
NJ Renaissance Faire activities

Rides at the Renaissance Faire

Weather permitting, unicorn rides may be available at an additional charge.

Renaissance Faire Shows

To see a listing of the cast of characters and all of the shows that are a part of this Faire please visit this year’s program. All of the shows were free with admission. The only ones that would need to be paid for is if you attend one of the after hours concerts. If you arrive early enough, head to the Duke’s Court to learn the main storyline for the day and get a preview of some of the shows. These are descriptions of the shows that we were able to watch.

Tammy Vreeland Story Time

The storytime itself lasted about 15 minutes. The entire experience lasted for about 45 minutes total for us.

It was free with admission.

Tammy herself was nice enough to do a personal one with my two kids when we walked over. The unicorn walking around nearby drew them to the site. She read the book Unseen Beauty to them that she had written herself. Afterwards she sent them on a quest to find the fairy door with Unseen Beauty written on them. They had to find the fairy door and tell them what was inside of them when they returned to her. After they did she told them the secret for what made unicorns fly. It was very well thought out and was one of the things that my four year old enjoyed most about the fair. 

Tammy Vreeland Story Time at the NJ renaissance faire

Meadow Perry the Bubble Magician

This show lasted about a half hour long.

This was free with admission.

People of all ages love bubbles and Meadow Perry was a great performer who really got the crowd revved up about the show. The show was a combination of magic tricks as well as bubbles. Afterwards you could meet Meadow Perry as well as purchase bubbles or stickers for your kids. 

Meadow Perry the bubble magician NJ renaissance faire

Lords of Adventure: Comedy Sword Fighting Show

This show lasted for about a half hour.

This was free with admission.

This is best for ages twelve and up.

This was a show put on by a comedic duo. It was a mix of comedic banter between the pair as well as some playful sword fighting with wooden swords and knives. Some of the humor was lewd which may make this better for an older age bracket. 

Lords of Adventure: Comedy Sword Fighting Show at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire

Tournament Joust by Round Table Productions

This show lasted for about thirty five minutes.

It is free with admission and best for teenagers and up.

Jousting is always my favorite part of any Renaissance Faire and it should not be missed. First there is an introduction to the various riders as they trot out on their steeds. Here you can choose your favorite knight to cheer on during the show. The main event is when two jousters ride towards each other on their horses and attempt to de-seat each other with their lances. 

Nj Renaissance faire Tournament Joust

Costume and Mask Contest

This lasted for a half hour.

Admission is free.

There were different categories such as Best Overall Costume, Best Mask and Best Children’s Costume. Anyone was welcome to enter who arrived on time for this event. 

Make and Take Wand

Find some sticks behind the Unicorn Stage and bring them to the tepee at Nipper’s Nook. Here you will find ribbons, feathers and beads to help decorate your own free wand to take home. 

Kids can decorate a wand for free at the NJ Renaissance Faire.

Clothing, Gifts, Experiences, Play Areas & Food at the Faire

For a complete list of all of these things that are available at the Faire visit the page https://njrenfaire.com/merchants-food-and-drink/

In 2014 my favorite experience was the Battle Your Friends fencing experience. This year, my husband enjoyed the Axe Throwing with Grizzly & Company.

Our favorite gift idea was getting a horseshoe with your initials made in it for $10 at Hebrew Hammer Blacksmithing.  There are also people strolling the grounds with single stem roses for sale. These would be a great gift for your significant other. 

Little ones will enjoy the playground at the NJ Renaissance Faire

Aside from these things there were two playgrounds at the Faire. One playground even included part of a pirate ship! There was an area where kids could go on swings and walk on logs. They could also play with catapults here. At Nibbler’s Nook there was a large climbing spider web. 

Eating at the NJ Renaissance Faire

There are multiple eating options available at the Faire. The list of all the food vendors is available at https://njrenfaire.com/merchants-food-and-drink/. Their locations can then be viewed on the map. Most of them are near the Duke’s Grove and Privies.

There is a large pavilion here with picnic tables for eating. Watch live entertainment on a small stage and blacksmith demos nearby as you eat. This area is the most crowded so if you prefer to eat your food with some more privacy there are multiple pavilions with picnic tables throughout the grounds. 

Can guests bring their own food?

No outside food or drinks are allowed at the Faire. 

Best places to eat with kids

  • Duke’s Kitchen – I recommend the cheeseburger and their funnel cake fries. 
  • Kenyan Life – My daughter recommends their corn dogs. If your kids enjoy chicken tenders, those were also sold here. 
  • Rita’s Italian Ice
  • Mr. Softee
cheeseburger with funnel cake fries

Gluten-Free Options

Details coming soon.

Vegan Options

Details coming soon.

Vegetarian Options

There are vegetarian options available at Duke’s Kitchen. There are fries, funnel cakes and veggie burgers that can be purchased. 

Drink Options

There was maple lemonade available at Our Woods Maple. There was hot coffee available at Comfort Fun Foods. There were sodas and water available at the Duke’s Kitchen. 

arial artist hangs upside down at NJ Renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

More tips and advice for visiting the NJ Renaissance Faire with kids

Strollers

The Renaissance Faire is not very stroller friendly. In order to visit everything there is to offer you may stray from the pathways. If bringing a stroller I would recommend bringing a baby carrier as well or bringing a stroller with all terrain wheels. 

Changing tables

We recommend if you are visiting the Faire with little ones, still in diapers, that you bring a changing pad. We did not see any restrooms with changing tables.

Quiet private spaces for breastfeeding moms

There are some picnic tables that are located closer to the trees which may give you a good spot to nurse with a little more privacy. 

Preparing for a visit to the NJ Renaissance Faire

I recommend downloading the complete guide to the Faire before attending so that you can plan out your visit easily. The guide is located here: https://njrenfaire.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/NJRF-Program-2021.pdf

Books to read before visiting the NJ Renaissance Faire

How to get in the proper mindset for the Renaissance Faire with books

I have always been an avid reader so personally I feel that the best way to get into the mindset of the Faire is to read a good book before going. Be sure to check your local libraries as even those that are not open are doing curbside pickup for books now. We’ve also provided affiliate links in case you’d like to purchase the books directly from Amazon. We participate in Amazon’s affiliate program and earn a small commission when readers make a purchase using a link we provide them.

For young children they would likely enjoy reading Sofia the First books as these are some my daughter really enjoys. They each recount tales of Princess Sophia as well as her pet rabbit Clover. Kids may also enjoy Pete the Cat and the Treasure Map by James Dean. 

Bigger kids attending the Faire should read Magic Treehouse: The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack and Annie are transported back to the Middle Ages for this exciting tale. I devoured the whole series at this age.

Tweens attending the Faire would likely enjoy reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is one of my most beloved books that I read countless times when I was a tween. Even now when looking at a hill I cannot help searching for a hobbit hole. This book is one of those that changes your entire world view and makes you look at it with a magical lens. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer is great for an introduction to the world of fairies for this age range. The protagonist is a young boy who is also a criminal mastermind whose life becomes entangled with the world of the fairies. 

For teenagers to read beforehand I recommend the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. When I was younger this was a favorite of mine since it actually spoke of the female characters out of Arthurian legends from their point of view and introduced complexities to their characters. There are also too many titles to recount but any books pertaining to King Arthur and the legends of his Knights would be a good read before the Faire to get in the mood for some jousting. The Hobbit would also be a good read for this age bracket as well. 

How to get in the proper mindset for the Renaissance Faire with movies and shows

For costume inspiration for the Faire some of the best ways is through watching various movies and tv shows. 

For bigger kids attending the Faire I recommend that they watch The Sword in the Stone (1963) that is currently available on Disney+. This movie is many kids’ introduction to Arthurian legends and will have them looking around for stones with swords in them to pull out. It is told from the perspective of a young Arthur. Another one to watch would be Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992). Although this one is from a different time period this movie makes all children become intrigued by fairies. After this all girls will want to be as cool as Crysta the fairy and there is also a male fairy named Pips who is one of the major characters as well. 

Prior to the faire tweens will likely enjoy the movie Enchanted (2007), Ella Enchanted (2004), A Cinderella Story (2004), and Ever After (1998). These are all different takes on the classic Cinderella story and are infected with humor that makes them enjoyable to watch.

Teenagers going to the Faire may enjoy watching Avalon High (2010) from the Disney channel that is now on Disney+. Each character has identities that mirror those of characters from the legends of King Arthur. This would be a good one to watch after first reading about some of the tales of King Arthur and his knights. 

Older teenagers going to the Faire would enjoy it more after watching the classic movies of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) as well as The Princess Bride (1987). When I was in high school many of my friends loved these movies and they have truly stood the test of time. Stardust (2007) has a similar humorous vein as the movies above and is about a young man trying to retrieve a fallen star for his love. My personal favorite movie is A Knight’s Tale (2001). This tells the tale of a young peasant who always dreamed of being a knight. His journey is filled with wry humour and a cast of compelling side characters. 

For those teenagers looking for humor as well as some more serious story lines the Lord of the Rings movies are all amazing. The Hobbit was another book by Tolkien that was turned into movies as well. Each of these movie trilogies will make the viewer want to go on their own quests as well as move to New Zealand (the filming location for these movies). I also recommend watching the movie Tristan and Isolde (2006) for females. This is a romantic story that I find much more compelling than Romeo and Juliet. They also may enjoy the television show Reign that is based on Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland. The costumes in this show are all lavish and beautifully designed. For teenagers who prefer video games instead The Legend of Zelda games are available on most Nintendo consoles. 

Things to bring to the NJ Renaissance Faire

  • A large backpack
  • For a rainy day: Umbrella, a raincoat or poncho and boots (the ground gets very slippery)
  • For a hot day: Fans, hats, sneakers and sunblock
  • Cash to tip performers, to buy things you might see at the merchants, and for some of the experiences at the Faire that require an additional fee
  • Recommend wearing some type of outfit/costume but this is not required (also available there to purchase)
  • A printout of the schedule of events and the map (or save this to your phone)
  • A fully-charged phone or camera to take pictures
More things to see at the NJ Renaissance Faire

Our Day at the NJ Renaissance Faire with Two Toddlers

We attended the NJ Renaissance Faire this year with my two and four year olds and stayed there for almost the entire day because they were having so much fun. Before we left the house my kids were already jumping up and down with excitement once they put on their costumes for the faire.

Even though it was a cold and rainy day within minutes of being there the poor weather was forgotten. My children were mesmerized by everyone who walked past them. We started out our day by catching the end of the Adamo Ignis show at the amphitheater where she balanced a sword on her head while also climbing up a small ladder made of swords.

knight on a horse at NJ Renaissance Faire

Then, we walked around some of the grounds to get a lay of the land. My daughter was excited to converse with some of the merchants. She especially liked the one that was selling fairy houses. Along the way we ran into a cow and some fairies. 

Then we went to a Story Time with Tammy Vreeland where she read a story about unicorns, that she wrote, to my captivated children. She then sent them on a quest to find fairy doors. They were instructed to find them and open the doors. Then they were told to go back and tell her what they found and she would tell them how a unicorn flies in return.

At Nipper’s Nook, my daughter was elated to see a unicorn walking around as well. There was a teepee with musical instruments where my younger son enjoyed learning how to play a xylophone for the first time. My kids were also interested in doing the take home craft of making their own magic wands. We all gathered sticks behind the Unicorn Stage and made the wands with feathers and ribbon. 

knights joust at the NJ Renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

While the kids were busy with activities in the Nipper’s Nook area, my husband was able to pop over to see the Lords of Adventure Comedy Sword Fighting Show nearby at Duke’s Grove. While he took them on their quest I was able to go see the jousting at Swain Field nearby.

comedy sword fighting at Nj renaissance Faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

After that we got some delicious food at Duke’s Kitchen before all watching Meadow Perry the Bubble Magician. My favorite part was when she put a sword through the center of a bubble. Adults and kids alike seemed to enjoy this show. After that there was a costume contest, in the same area, my daughter was excited to enter. Anyone could enter who came there at this time and the winners received free passes to the Faire next year!

After this we walked around the grounds a little more. My daughter especially loved walking backwards over Backwards Bridge and a merchant who gave her and my son some treasure to take home. She also liked eating her first corn dog from Kenyan Life and receiving a pirate’s coin from the bathroom attendant.

There was a wall nearby where you could take your picture with wings painted on the wall to pretend you were a fairy. We went over to the Grizzly & Company Axe Throwing where my husband was able to try some axe throwing for the first time. The kids were mesmerized with Hebrew Hammer Blacksmithing nearby. They also loved the swings in that section as well as trying the small catapults with our help. It was a splendid day that the kids found very memorable. 

bull cow at NJ renaissance faire
Photo credit NJ Renaissance Faire

We were able to plan the entire day without the kids encountering any violence and with us all getting to enjoy our favorite activities. Some of the kids favorite things to do were jumping on some logs and walking on the low benches at Duke’s Grove.

While all of the events and activities were amazing the best part was how so many of the cast members took the time to talk with us a bit and really make us feel like a part of the community there. I often find that when you are interested in a particular activity there are many people who do not find that you are hardcore enough to be participating. The Renaissance Faire is a place that is nothing like this. They welcome everyone no matter how much or how little you want to participate. Everyone is just happy that you are there to enjoy the magical day with them and are eager to make you see through their eyes why they love the Faire as well. 

For more outdoor activities in New Jersey visit our guide to New Jersey Outdoor Activities you can do now.

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