Disclosure: I am a USFamilyGuide.com Blogger. While I received no financial compensation for this review, I received 4 free tickets to the Michigan Renaissance Festival to assist me in the construction of this post. The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.
Nestled deep in the woods of Holly, Michigan, you’ll find fairies, knights, kings, queens, Celtic music, and pickles. Pickles? Oh yes, pickles. Big ones, too. You may have to endure some yelling to get one, but we all agree it’s worth it…except my daughter. Not only did the sun give her a run for her money this year, she did not like being yelled at…and for pickles, for that matter. She can scarcely understand why anyone would put up with that to get one. “Gross.”, she said, but my son? Yes, you can see by the look on his face that this is going to be his first win of the day courtesy of the pickle cart near the entrance of the Michigan Renaissance Festival. It’s our annual Labor Day event that welcomes the coming fall season. The weather usually cooperates with our intent. It’s sunny, but cool and breezy. The leaves rustle on the trees warning us that they’re aging and starting to dry and turn. We stroll along, listening to their song until we hear others on our path…
Silent Lion. They’re arguably one of my son’s favorite things about the Renaissance Festival. Mine, too. Their haunting melodies pluck the strings of my son’s Mitchell heart. He could stay here all day. He has purchased a couple of their CD’s over the years and listens to them all year long.
And while music may not seem the most child friendly activity for very active children (ahem, or my baby), making wax hand keepsakes most definitely is. Each year, the kids get to pick a keepsake to remind them of our trip. I won’t go through all the things they’ve bought in years past, but my son got a wooden axe last year. My daughter got a beautiful headband. This year, they both wanted wax hands. I’m not particularly thrilled with the choice as they lack a great deal of durability, but we’ll do our best to keep them intact. I have to tell you something about this picture of my son, too. When we were looking at these, my daughter said, “Thomas looks scared.” I said, “Really? I thought he looked mad.” I told her to go ask him what he was thinking. He said he was scared because the wax was under his fingernails. He was also worried about tree nuts. So much for being Mom. His little sister is much more perceptive than I. Their closeness astounds me sometimes.
He IS happy here, though. (Good call, Mom.) There is so much for kids to do here and so much of it is free. I’ll give you a short list of our favorite freebies in a minute. My kids had a blast racing turtles. You can’t see the turtles, but my daughter lost this race. I love this picture because you can see that the people who work here are top notch. They’re always willing to help and they deal with loads of people each and every day.
My little gymnast wants me to share this with you because she made it to the top without falling off. She tipped, but righted herself and kept going…and with flip flops even! She’s 100% my husband because this is totally NOT me. I am 0% athletic, coordinated or anything else along those lines.
My tiny princess came home with a stash of magical coins that she’s keeping in the top drawer of her dresser. She’s so proud of them.
And among the numerous activities is an educational one! Aaah yes, this is gold to a homeschooling Mom. My kids loved the Glass Blowing demonstration and it’s completely free! And here the short list of some of our favorite freebies. 50 kid friendly freebies are listed in the weekly schedule, too:
- Puppet Show in the Children’s Realm
- Make a Magic Wand in the Children’s Realm
- Dance with the Maypole Dancers
- Pet a Jousting Horse at the Stables in the Valley of Aberdare
- Make bubbles with the Bubble Fairy
- Watch the Joust
- Find a Gem in the Gem Mine
- Meet a Mermaid
- Sprinkled with Fairy Dust by a Fairy
The fairy dust sprinkling brings me to another story. Each year, for as long as my daughter can remember, she looks for the “Green Fairy.” Maybe you’ve seen her. She has long blond hair and we often see her sitting near the entrance. My daughter hugs her and talks with her for a few minutes. When she leaves, the fairy gives her a sprinkle of fairy gems for her tiny hand. She puts them in her pocket, and then transfers them to a small, sparkly change purse she keeps under her pillow. The gems keep her from having bad dreams. They must work quite well because she rarely has a bad night.
There is so much more to do here than the few things I’ve mentioned. The days are action packed with themed events that change each weekend. You could spend the entire weekend here and still not see every show, take in every event, or eat in every location either! There is so much to see and do. Keep in mind, however, not every event is child friendly – particularly after 5pm. These are noted in the schedule, so be mindful of that if you have small children. We’ve never had any difficulty avoiding anything we feel is questionable.
And now, it is with great melancholy that I bid another summer farewell. They come and go so quickly nowadays. If you haven’t attended yet this year, you have one more very sweet weekend in which to do so. The Sweet Endings themed weekend is October 3 & October 4th. They’re also open on Friday, October 2nd. Renew your vows for free and/or score some free samples of chocolate in the Valley of Aberdare. You can also take in the Cupcake Crusades or the Cake Dive for brides-to-be. A ticket purchase will also net you a free beverage this weekend. Check out my previous post to save $3 on an adult admission ticket or a free child ticket with adult ticket purchase, too.
Note: If you have nut allergies, be aware that there are roasted nut carts at this event.