Are you a fan of high seas adventures or wine, romance, and song? How about the Highland Fling or the wonders of the world? These are some of the weekend themes that you will find at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Sure to please and bring forth laughter, the goings-on in the village of Fittleworth are entertaining, to say the least.
Plundering pirates and maidens of grace and beauty make their way about the village. Jousting tournaments and fencing competitions call for cheering and encouraging. Witness Medieval combat training and get your fill at a banquet feast. Dress to dazzle in your finery for the masquerade ball and maybe even see a bride pass through on her way to her nuptials.
Explore the Village of Fittleworth, making sure to stop by Piper’s Valley, King’s Landing, and the Children’s Realm. Several stages with entertainment and eateries offering tasty food await. Enjoy your stay in Renaissance Land.
When in the Tampa area, head to Lake Lettuce Park to see wildlife native to the city, such as birds and turtles. Hillsborough River State Park is a must-see, with a history lesson and opportunities for hiking and swimming at your fingertips.
Tickets to Bay Area Ren Fest are usually less than $25, making a day in the Village of Fittleworth a bargain event. Your pass gives you access to authentic shows sure to thrill. Just walking through the village is entertainment on its own, with minstrels, gypsies, nobility, craftspeople, and brave knights appearing at every corner. Some events, like the masquerade ball, do require additional ticket purchases. The festival permits leaving and re-entering without further charge.
Have a trusty navigator on board to help as you make your way through busy Tampa. Enter the coordinates on your GPS to point you to the fest. Florida511 will get you there, through traffic and weather-related delays. Take the time while in Tampa to stop at Busch Gardens, a can’t miss pit-stop located near to the festival grounds at 11315 N. 46th Street.
Parking is free at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, which is held on the grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry. ADA and motorcycle parking are offered, too. Have your ADA placard visible when you approach so that you can be directed to the appropriate area. Keep your tickets to the fest in your glove box for quick access, and you won’t miss a minute of the fun in Fittleworth Village.
Getting around Tampa car-free is an option many visitors take. Use public transit as a mode of travel to the festival grounds. Buses run in the area and taxis are in abundance, two possibilities, even dressed in your time period finery. Ridesharing is a wise choice, too, with drop-offs right at the gate to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival.
Onsite camping is not an option at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, but there are many excellent options just a short drive away. Are you looking for a primitive camping experience, or do you prefer a campground with full amenities? Pick through both styles as you plan and make a reservation for your top choice of campground accessible to a large RV.
If you enjoyed your stop at Hillsborough River State Park, note that there is RV camping there. Water and electrical hookups are available, and there is a dump station for your use as well. Collier Seminole State Park is located within one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. Canoe while there for an unforgettable experience. Venture near St. Petersburg or stay at Egmont Key State Park to enjoy a beach holiday.
The terrain in Fittleworth Village is grass and dirt. Although wheelchair navigation is possible, a rainy day may pose a challenge. Be sure to bring along a friend or family member for assistance if you have a wheelchair, stroller, or wagon to move through the festival. Comfy shoes are a must. Pack a pair of rubber boots in case the need arises.
Your best Renaissance apparel will have you fitting in with the crowd and feeling very much in character. Bring a change of clothes because a heavy dress or layered pirate gear may be too warm mid-day. Shorts or jeans and a t-shirt will do just fine as the weather this time of year is quite pleasant and not overly hot.
A well-stocked motorhome is possible if you make your packing notes early. Jot down things as you think of them. Add items like a flashlight, batteries, sunscreen, and bug spray to the top of the list. Charcoal briquets, cooking gear, and kitchen cleanup items are essentials that will make the chef’s job a breeze. Bring along extra clamps and hoses for hooking up to the water supply at the campground.
Check the tires of the RV before leaving home to ensure that they have the proper pressure. Top up fluids, and verify that your awning is in working order to protect you from the hot Florida sun. Apply sunscreen liberally and often at every activity, especially if you will be spending time at the beach. As well, if you are going to check out a park like Ocala National Forest, bring along bug spray and water for everyone to drink.
Take inventory of your kitchen supplies before leaving home. Check the best before dates on spices, flours, and items like baking soda. You don’t want your campfire bread to be a failure because of old ingredients. When registering at the campground, ask for the current fire ring rules in case there is a ban on fires due to dry weather.
Tampa has a great mix of restaurants to choose from during your travels. Choose tastes from the past or nouveau cuisine, whichever suits your mood. In close proximity to the Bay Area Ren Fest, you can go for fast food or a sit-down meal. Try catfish with a serving of collard greens or a steak sandwich. To expand your taste horizons, go for stuffed acorn squash or scallops and tempura chips.
Credit and debit cards are accepted by most vendors, and there are ATMs on site if you prefer to use cash. Talented artisans are happy to show their exquisite wares. Buy a souvenir of your weekend or get a keepsake pin for attending the Royal Tea. Learn about Meat and Mead, another fun ticketed event offered at the fair.
Most Renaissance and Medieval fairs insist that weapons be peace-tied, and the Bay Area Ren Fest is no exception. Sharp and pointed objects, even if part of a costume, are not allowed. You cannot bring in a bow unless you are registered to compete and have the weapon in a secure case. Dogs over the age of six months are permitted to take part in the fun but must have vaccines up to date. The dog has to be registered online before you bring them, and their health certificates have to accompany them.
Tampa weather is typically cooperative during Bay Area Ren Fest, but the festival will go on as planned even if inclement weather rolls in and the skies over Fittleworth Village open up with rain. Be prepared for any weather event and keep your campsite in storm prep mode by securing and stowing items as needed before leaving camp.
The First Aid Station is near the entrance to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Familiarize yourself with the location as soon as you enter the gates to start your day. Keep a well-stocked kit at camp and include scissors, tape, gauze, tweezers, peroxide, and antibiotic cream on hand.