Labor Day weekend brings many traditions for families. Barbeque, get-togethers, and back to school. In the Paasch house Labor Day means Ohio Renaissance Festival, aka Ren Fest, season is here! Each fall we make the pilgrimage to the Ohio Renaissance Festival Grounds in Harveysburg, Ohio to visit one of our favorite family events of the year.
As part of your planning I recommend visiting the Ren Fest website first. Each weekend is a new theme, and while the attractions and entertainment are largely the same each weekend, the theme does include some special events particular to the weekend’s theme. Pirates Weekend, September 16 -17, focuses on pirates with talk like a pirate contests, and a pirate stunt show. Though if you’re more of a landlubber you might find Fantasy Weekend or the Halloween themed, Tricks or Treats Weekend, more to your liking.
The Ren Fest is all about imagination and self-expression. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to go all in with dress-up. Your young knight or fairy will fit in perfectly with all the other lords, elves, Vikings, and wizards you’ll encounter throughout the day. You’ll also find plenty of people who’d rather go with what’s in the closet. So don’t worry if your kiddo is a fierce shorts/t-shirt proponent, everyone is welcomed with big smiles and boisterous “Huzzahs!” no matter the attire.
Even as a frequent visitor I forget just how much there is to do at the Ren Fest! Definitely pick up a guide to day’s events at admission. The jousting is a must-see, and you’ll also find sword-swallowers, acrobats, jugglers, and magicians performing on one of the many stages throughout the day. Two of our favorite shows are the Mudde Show (hint, it gets muddy!) and the acrobat/comedy team, the Kamikaze Fireflies. I’m always impressed with the level of talent that the Ohio Ren Fest draws.
Our girls love games (we could easily fund a full college tuition if we installed a claw game in their bedroom). If your kiddos are the same the Gamer’s Grove has you covered. Sticking with the medieval theme you’ll find archery, tower climbing, knife throwing for the older kids. Young ones can enjoy fishing, frog catapult, or pong bows. These are just naming a few. Our kids were especially fond of the wooden crossbows this year.
Everyone at the Ren Fest is on the fun, and that includes the vendors. From jewelers to clothiers, there are an abundance of merchants displaying their medieval/fantasy wares throughout the grounds. Two of my favorite artisans are the glass blowers and blacksmith who practice their crafts in front of their shops. Creating original works and demonstrating their incredible skill. When passing through the “Bard’s Lane” I would highly recommend getting one of your kids to ask a Viking if they have anything to “trade.” Sit back and watch the fun ensue.
With so many things to see and do, the Ohio Renaissance Festival is truly a full day adventure, and then some. Though what keeps us coming back year after year are the people. The performers are talented, engaging, and genuinely friendly. Especially with kids. When asked what she thought of Ren Fest this year, our oldest put it succinctly, “This year was even more fun than last year!” I agree.
Jonathon Karysn Paasch is husband to an intelligent, generous, and creative spouse, and father to two caring, smart, and funny girls.
A Cincinnati transplant, Jonathon and his family are avid weekend explorers, particularly drawn to the plethora of amazing outdoor activities available in the tri-state area.
With a passion for photography, Jonathon rarely misses an opportunity to document and share the Paasch family adventures.