The Bristol Renaissance Faire is an annual themed fair that takes place in Bristol, Wisconsin. It is held on a multi-acre venue that is transformed into a typical village as it may have been during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
In the year 1574, the queen paid a historic visit to the port City of Bristol in England. This event was the inspiration behind the fair and is recreated by actors every year. Since its inception, it has grown into one of the highest attended events of its kind in the world. Festivities take place over nine weekends.
In addition to the stage shows put on by local actors, there are jousting tournaments, historical reenactments and various other ways to stay entertained. Kids of all ages are sure to love the fun activities like face painting, hair braiding, and treasure hunts. One of the highlights of the event is RenQuest, an interactive gaming experience that visitors can pay to take part in at the festival.
All the activities are centered around a lively marketplace where all kinds of handmade goods, food, and drinks will be available. Over 100 artisans, selling their unique handcrafted wares will be present throughout the venue. Visitors can also enjoy displays of ancient arts like leatherworking, blacksmithing, pottery throwing, and glassblowing.
Tickets can be purchased online or at select local stores (if you’d like to avoid service fees). They can also be bought at the front gate. They range in price from $25 (single-day adult pass) to $160 (all-ages season pass). The fair is free for children under the age of 4. Lower priced tickets are available for seniors and military personnel.
VIP Membership passes are also offered which include perks like members-only merchandise, access to private restrooms, special seminars, and invitations to exclusive events. Check out the official event website for more information on tickets and pricing on the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
The venue is just over an hour away from Chicago and only 45 minutes from Milwaukee. Detailed directions from the north, south, and west can be found on the festival website. Once you get close to the grounds, there will be signs directing you to the parking lot. Before you decide on a route, be sure to check for any road alerts in Kenosha County or the surrounding areas.
Both free general parking and paid preferred parking are available at the venue. The paid lots are right by the front gate, and ADA parking spaces are located closer to the entrance areas. The free lots are situated on the far north side, and you’ll need to do a bit of walking if you park there.
The town is small and lacks a well-developed public transportation system. You won’t find any train stations within walking distance or bus routes that will get you directly there. If you aren’t planning to drive to the fairgrounds, your best bet is to use a ride-sharing app. Ridesharing services do operate in the area.
Onsite camping is not available at Bristol RenFair. Fortunately, there are a number of options close by. Prices tend to go up during the months that the fair is open; it’s a good idea to book your camping spot in advance.
The nearest campground that can accommodate RVs is less than five miles away. About 12 miles away from the venue, you’ll find the Illinois Beach State Park. This is another good option that comes with facilities like electrical hookups and running showers. The site is also accessible with a large RV.
You’ll need to do quite a bit of walking around, so strollers or wagons are encouraged if you have children. Although a majority of the site is accessible by wheelchair, some parts of the terrain can be quite rough. A motorized wheelchair or manual assistance may be needed to navigate these areas. Wheelchairs are also available for rent.
Most fairgoers will be dressed in lightweight, comfortable clothing like shorts, jeans, and t-shirts. Costumes are encouraged, but you’ll need to come dressed in your own get-up. They are not available for rent at the fair. Peace-tied weapons that are a part of your costume will be allowed in if they meet Bristol Renaissance Faire regulations.
On the day of the fair, pack a small backpack with essentials like hand sanitizer, wet wipes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Consider taking a small drum, if you’d like to join the fair’s drum jam. Other musical instruments will not be allowed. The nights can get chilly, so pack a few extra blankets in your RV.
Use the drinking water fountains located throughout the venue to stay hydrated. Restrooms, including ADA accessible ones, will be available in multiple areas. The site is regularly sprayed for mosquitoes, but it’s a good idea to take some bug spray just in case. Smoking is permitted only in designated smoking zones.
You will not be able to bring outside food or drinks into the fairgrounds, but there will be plenty of delicious grub on offer. Once you’re done enjoying the fair for the day, you may want to take a break from all the indulgent food. Stock your refrigerator with light, easy to prepare meals, pre-made sandwiches, and your favorite produce for a fresh pick-me-up after a long day back in time.
Bristol has some great restaurants, diners, and cafes serving up delicious food. There is an emphasis on locally sourced, fresh ingredients and seasonal cuisine. Dishes tend to be meat-heavy, but you’ll have no trouble finding tasty vegan and vegetarian food in the community as well. Guests can also explore the excellent Southern cuisine on offer or dig into some Italian or Mexican food.
At Bristol RenFair, you’ll be able to feast like a king. The food courts will be teaming with delicious offerings like beef jerky, spinach pie, turkey legs, portobello sandwiches, grilled pork ribs, and fresh fudge. For patrons with dietary restrictions, there will be a selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free treats on offer.
Security personnel will be stationed at the front gate, and all bags will be checked before entry. Any prohibited items will be confiscated. Weapons will be thoroughly examined before they are allowed into the venue as costume attire. Security personnel will be able to assist you with peace-tying or securing your weapon if necessary.
The weather is often warm during the day, but temperatures can plummet at night. Be sure to carry some warm clothing and socks. If it does rain, no refunds will be given. However, patrons may be able to enjoy the exclusive shows that some of the performers put on only in the rain at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
There will be a centrally located first aid station on the fairgrounds. Trained EMTs will be available to take care of medical needs. Prescription medications and other medically necessary items will be allowed in after inspection. Service animals are permitted, and every effort will be made to accommodate the needs of guests with disabilities.