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The 7th annual Montana Renaissance Festival returns June 1 and 2 at ZooMontana.

The event is bigger and better than ever, said organizers, with new characters, new performers, new craftspeople and demonstrators.

The Royal Order of Epona returns with full contact jousting; Alterna Cirque once again performs “The Search for the Holy Grail” in the Shire; Amtgard and the Society for Creative Anachronisms battle throughout the Kingdom; Chaste Treasure returns to entertain with their bawdy innuendo; Frostylocks and the King’s Bard stroll the lanes singing while the Montana Morris Dancers could appear anywhere.

Watch and learn as period crafts people demonstrate their skills, including the Village Blacksmith, The Royal Pottery Association, Her Ladies Handspinners, Chain Maille artists, and new this year, the Royal Glassblowers.

Samples of mead are available, along with 70 different merchants hawking their wares. If you enjoy reading the newest fantasy, Gutenberg’s Scribal Corner has a host of local authors signing and selling their works. There also will be 14 food vendors.

The children’s area will have a bouncy dragon and castle, face painting, pottery making, and kids can make their own swords and shields.

The Royal Weddings continue in the beautiful Sensory Gardens — as well as vow renewals.

Two stages will feature musical artists including Wes Urbaniak, Earthshine, the Burn Barrow Band, Butte Magic, The Royal Pains, the King’s Bard and others.

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