Family Adventure at the Pittsburgh Ren Fest

Plus 12 essential tips for a magical visit to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID Robinson Publisher September 8, 2023

Are you searching for an extraordinary family experience that combines history, entertainment, and a dash of whimsy? Look no further than the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival that is going on through October 1st! This past Saturday we spent the day at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival for their Children's Weekend, and we'd love to guide you through the enchanting world of this annual event while providing you with 12 essential tips to ensure your family's visit is nothing short of magical.

1. Immerse Yourself in a Historical Wonderland

The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival is not merely an event; it's a journey back in time. Located a short drive from Pittsburgh in West Newton, Pennsylvania, this festival transforms into a bustling medieval village, complete with knights, jesters, and fair maidens. The atmosphere is so authentic that you'll feel like you've stepped into a history book, and your kids will be captivated by the enchanting ambience.

2. Joust for Fun: Free Admission for Kids

Before you embark on your adventure, make sure to snag a Renaissance Festival Savings coupon at Wendy's. Get $3 off an Adult Renaissance Festival ticket or purchase a Regular Adult Renaissance Festival Ticket and get a Child's Ticket FREE! It's a fantastic opportunity to introduce your youngsters to the wonders of the Renaissance era without breaking the bank.

Where else can you let kids throw ninja stars or knives?

3. Make it A Knight to Remember: Dress for the Occasion

One of the most endearing aspects of the festival is the opportunity for everyone, young and old, to don period-appropriate attire. Encourage your kids to embrace the spirit of the Renaissance by dressing up in their favorite medieval costumes. Many festival-goers enthusiastically join in the fun by showcasing their creative outfits. Just make sure your costumes don't include any full faced masks as they are NOT allowed at the festival and remind your children to wear comfortable shoes suitable for exploring the festival's rustic terrain, which includes raw dirt, gravel, and uneven ground.

4. Feast Your Eyes, Not Your Pockets: Leave Outside Grub and Goblets at the Gate

It's important to note that no outside food or drinks are permitted within the festival grounds. Feel free to bring your tumblers to keep your beverages chilled but be prepared for a security check, which will likely include emptying any bottles before entering. There are plenty of delectable food options to explore within the festival, so you won't go hungry.

5. Chow Down Like Royalty: Festival Foodie Finds

While at the festival, make sure to sample some of the delightful Renaissance-inspired fare. Must-try foods include the massive turkey drumstick fit for a king, sweet and savory kettle corn, and the delectable royal nuts that are sure to satisfy your family's cravings. If you're brave enough to eat soup on a hot day, the bread bowls are to die for!!

Good King Henry insist that you eat a turkey drumstick with your hands!

6. The Road Less Paved: Navigating the Ren Fest Terrain

While strollers and wagons are welcome, it's advisable to opt for a jogging stroller or utility wagon due to the uneven terrain. The festival grounds maintain an authentic ambiance with their rustic pathways, and proper transportation can make navigating them more comfortable for your family.

Preview your route with a map of the 2023 Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival

7. Plan Your Day Around the Show Schedule

To ensure you make the most of your visit, plan your day around the festival's showtimes and schedule of events. Create a plan that includes the performances and attractions your family is most excited about, allowing you to experience the full spectrum of thrilling acts and entertainment. Don't forget to make time to visit the Children's Realm playground and Games of Skill!

8. It's Showtime, Folks! Renaissance Revelry Awaiteth!

The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival boasts an array of captivating shows and performances. One of our personal favorites was the Washing Well Wenches, whose comedic routines and impressive acts will leave you in stitches. Fair warning, they have a few dirty jokes to hang out to dry, but they pointed out that it was the parent's fault if our children got them! Another must-see is Sideshow Cy the Sword Swallower, a mesmerizing display of skill and daring. Just let me know if you're the person who watches through four fingers or closed eyes! You can find more details about the shows and their schedules here.

9. The Loo Chronicles: Privies of the Past!

Should you require restroom facilities, be on the lookout for "the privies" scattered throughout the festival grounds. These charmingly themed restrooms fit the build of this immersive experience with their lack of a modern day flushing toilet. Although the guys will get a kick out of the ice trough urinals. 

10. Tresses and Tiaras: Braids Before Daring Duels!

If your children are eager to have their hair braided, head to Whimsical Wears as soon as you arrive to get your name on the waiting list. Festival staff will provide you with a time slot for your appointment, allowing you to explore other attractions while you wait. Belle did a fantastic job on my daughter's hair, and it's still holding strong 3 days later!

11. Early Birds Catch the Renaissance Worms!

For a more leisurely experience, plan to arrive early in the morning when the festival is less crowded. As the day progresses, the festival tends to become busier and your clothes tend to become heavier and hotter!

Test your luck at one of the many games of skill!

12. Coins for the Crown: Cash is King!

Be sure to bring cash with you, as some of the master artisans may not accept card payments (and you will definitely find something worth shopping for). Having small bills on hand is not only practical but also a great way to show your appreciation for the talented performing artists who grace the festival's stages, or in Isabella's case, her pedestal. 

Be sure to get your photo taken with Isabella the Living Statue!

You never know what kind of goodies you'll find at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. My son's souvenir was this cow skull he found at Twisted Treasures. 

Share Your Renaissance Festival Adventures

Have you had the privilege of visiting the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival? We would love to hear about your experiences and any additional tips and recommendations you have for families looking to embark on this enchanting journey through time. Share your Ren Fest photos and tips with us on social media by using #pghmackid, and let's make every family's trip to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival a memorable one!