Calling all bards: Montana Renaissance Festival is upon us

2014-06-06T00:15:00Z Calling all bards: Montana Renaissance Festival is upon usBy JACI WEBB jwebb@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Bards and poets, jesters and sword fighters, wizards and fairies — they’ll all be there for this weekend’s Montana Renaissance Festival at ZooMontana.

This is the third year for the festival and it continues to get bigger every year, organizer Ken Haak said.

“Size-wise we are comparable to a lot of larger fairs in the country,” Haak said. “I knew it would be big, but I didn’t know it would grow this fast.”

Last year, the festival drew more than 10,000 people over two days, and Haak envisions that number to be even bigger this year. Food, entertainment and demonstrations go on throughout both days. The Enthalpy Pub is back, featuring meads and other alcoholic beverages. The popular pixie inauguration for the girls and knighting ceremony for the boys returns. The ceremonies are primarily geared to 3- to 6-year-olds, but Haak said they won’t turn anyone away.

“It was a big deal last year. We had a line the whole length of the field. It is a very solemn affair and the kids take it seriously.”

Admission is $15 for adults per day or $25 for two days. A family pass is $35, which admits two adults and two kids. There are special rates for senior citizens and children ages 6 to 12. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Visitors are encouraged to dress up. Last year, many came in clothing from the Renaissance period, featuring long dresses and scarves for the ladies and tall boots and short pants for the men.

“There is a huge group of local people who really support this event,” Haak said. “We’ve got the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) folks, the belly dancers and the super heroes who always come out.”

In the demonstration area, blacksmiths and weavers will set up to show their crafts. Jesters will stroll the grounds, and several bands, including Earthshine and Wes Urbaniak, will perform. Jousting will take place at 3 p.m. each day. For the rest of the schedule, go to www.montanarenfest.com.

“The idea is to have stuff going on everywhere you look,” Haak said.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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