By Brittany Dekorte
and Jenelle Franklin
Since 1997, the Michigan Renaissance Festival reported over a million people have flocked from around the country to eat, drink and be merry at its location in Holly, Michigan.
This 17 acre location offers family-friendly themed weekends in the village, with space to host weddings, parties and daily ticketed events such as: Royal High Tea, King’s Happy Hour, Feast of Fantasy, beer and bacon tastings.
Activities to watch such as jousting, food eating contests, and planning to join competitions in advance can fill up a day or more at the festival. Tickets are available for one day, offering a college ID discount, or a season-pass for multi-day visitors.
Once you step through the towering gates, guests are surrounded by people dressed as fairies and mermaids, lords and queens, gypsies and sailors, alike.
Costumes are not just for the employees, attendees often strut their stuff in their favorite fantasy dress-up alongside workers and volunteers.
Bill Wilson has been working at and going to the Michigan Renaissance Festival for three years. This year, he worked at Heart’s Delight Clothiers.
“Entertainment and food are definitely ‘top-notch,’ I’ve had multiple people every year telling me how great the shows are,” Wilson said.
Jammey Lewis, who currently works for The Crimson Chain Leatherworks, has been working at the festival since 1996.
“There was a period in the early 2000s where not a lot was added to the fair. In the past few years, the faire has really grown (with) things like the ‘Mermaid Sea’ and the ‘Throne of Swords’.
Throughout the year, the festival works with more than 30 non-profit agencies, to raise more than $500,000 for the communities that support with their business, according to the festival’s community relations, including a blood drive which totaled a value of $10,975 in ticket giveaways.
This year, tickets for the festival sold out in less than a week, according to the WCC cashier’s office.
“We started with over one hundred tickets. It’s very normal for us to sell out quickly; besides Cedar Point tickets, they are the most popular tickets we sell,” Jane Carmen, a part-time cashier, said.
Tickets sold for $5 for students and $7 for staff at WCC’s cashier office, regular adult price is $22.95 daily festival entry.
The last weekend of the festival is October 1-2, 2016. The theme of the weekend is “Sweet Endings”, and will feature a chocolate festival and wine tasting. Coupons available at participating Big Boy and Subway restaurants.
As the festival grows attendance each year, the grassy parking lots are filling up fast.
“I think the next thing that needs tackled is the parking situation,” Lewis said.