Maryland Renaissance Festival

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Maryland Renaissance Festival
Maryland Renaissance Festival 2.jpg
Jousting at the Renaissance Festival
GenreRenaissance fair
DatesAugust – October
Location(s)Crownsville, Maryland
Attendance15,800 daily, 300,000 season (average)
Area25 acres (100,000 m2)

The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a Renaissance fair located in Crownsville, Maryland. Set in a fictional 16th-century English village named Revel Grove, the festival is spread over 27 acres (110,000 m2).[1] The second largest renaissance fair in the United States,[2] it is open from the last weekend of August and runs for nine weekends.


In early 1970s, Minnesota lawyer Jules Smith Sr. (1930 - 2018) invested in Coluam's Mineapolis festival, which later become Texas Renaissance Festival. When Coluam's Mineapolis festival moved to Texas, Smith sold his shares and organized similar festival in Maryland, nearby Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. The fair was first held for four weekends in 1977 and drew 17 thousand people to see performances by Penn and Teller and The Flying Karamazov Brothers among other.[3] In 1985, the fair was moved to its current location in Crownsville and in 1986 Smith turned over the management of the fair to his son Jules Smith Jr. who still runs the festival with three siblings.[3][4] The festival was originally an Elizabethan fair, but in 1989 switched to being focused on Henry VIII of England.[3] King Henry is played by actor Fred Nelson, replacing Bill Huttel, after Huttel's death in 2001.[5]


The English Tudor village is 27 acres (110,000 m2)[1] of woods and fields. There are more than 130 craft shops and 42 food outlets.

More than 1,300 participants populate the village, 400 work directly for the company, 700 for the other vendors and 200 as performers[6] on stages or as characters throughout the village. The Maryland Renaissance Festival utilizes eight major theaters, four smaller stages in taverns, a children's area and a jousting tiltyard with seating for 3,000.

The fair contains an elephant and camel that groups of fairgoers pay to ride. In 2014, Joan Jett, speaking on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote a letter asking that the rides be cancelled because of exploitation and abuse associated with using animals in this fashion.[7] Born Free USA also protested on a road outside the fair.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Britto, Brittany (2018). "15 things you're bound to see at the Maryland Renaissance Festival". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  2. ^ Greenwood, Arin (2012-09-25). "Maryland Renaissance Festival 2012: Cheesecake On A Stick, Costumes, Catapult Demonstrations". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Korol-Evans, Kimberly Tony (2009). Renaissance Festivals: Merrying the Past and Present. McFarland. pp. 25–26.
  4. ^ Felice, Selene San (10 September 2018). "Renaissance Festival co-founder Jules Smith Sr. dies at 88". Capital Gazette. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  5. ^ Long, Amanda (19 October 2003). "Fred Nelson - King Henry VIII at Maryland Renaissance Festival, Crownsville". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. ^ Newman, Meredith (21 August 2018). "Maryland Renaissance Festival: Setting the historical record straight". Capital Gazette. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Joan Jett Urges Maryland Renaissance Festival to End Elephant Rides". October 1, 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  8. ^ Gillespie, Paul W. "Maryland Renaissance Festival". Capital Gazette. Retrieved 10 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°00′06″N 76°35′01″W / 39.00167°N 76.58361°W / 39.00167; -76.58361