May 7, 2011 was overcast, but the temperature was perfect for the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, staying in the mid to upper 70s all day. The temperature is an important consideration for those who dress up, because all those layers of Renaissance costuming can become rather warm! However, the Middle Tennessee weather was on its best behavior as knights, ladies, damsels and milkmaids plus assorted pirates and wenches made their way to Castle Gwynn in Triune, Tennessee (between Franklin and Murfreesboro) for the first day of the Tennessee Ren Fest.
26th annual Tennessee Ren Fest
2011 marks the 26th annual Tennessee Ren Fest which has become a Nashville tradition for many in the Mid South. The Freeman family has worked to keep the Tennessee festival family friendly, so the the festival is safe even for the wee ones, especially the first weekend every May which is family weekend. Many little knights, fairies and princesses were on hand enjoying the Renaissance life on opening weekend.
The Village of Covington Glen
The woods on New Castle Road is set up like a Renaissance marketplace around the village of Covington Glen with tents and natural lighting. Minstrels stroll the grounds playing various instruments while venders sell everything from candles and soap to armor and jewelry. There are plenty of food venders, too, selling everything from fruit plates to turkey legs, roasted corn, hot dogs and pierogies. There are camel rides, daily displays of various birds of prey, a live human chess game, and the daily jousting competitions as well as a Shakespeare play, Celtic and Scottish music, knife throwing, ax tossing, and much, much more.
Tennessee Ren Fest Schedule
As mentioned, the first weekend is Family Weekend, followed by:
May 14 – 15: Share Love Weekend
Bring a sack of canned goods for the Second Harvest Foodbank and receive a thank-you from the Tennessee National Guard and a Festival Token.
May 21 – 22: Pirate Invasion Weekend
Pirates and pirate wenches including many Jack Sparrow wannabees can be seen this weekend. Children Rascals and Pirates aged 12 and under can participate in the Children’s Pirate Costume Contest on both May 21st and May 22nd
May 28 – 29 – 30: Royal Jousting Tournament Weekend
The Free Lancers 2011 Gath of Baal Jousting Tournament takes place with Full Armored Contact Jousting. The challenges and competition are Saturday and Sunday, with the final competition on Memorial Day Monday.
A Look at Days Gone By
Although the Tennessee Renaissance Festival does not claim to be a historically accurate depiction of Renaissance life, still, it is an excellent teaching tool to introduce young ones to an older way of life. The Shakespeare play is only 1/2 hour and is also a great way to introduce newcomers and youngsters to Shakespeare in a small, bite-sized dose. Admittance even includes a tour of Castle Gwynn!
Axel the Sot is rated PG for adult content (lewd jokes and drinking humor), but for the most part the Ren Fest is good clean fun for the whole family. For more information visit http://www.tnrenfest.com/.
2010 Tennessee Renaissance Festival Slideshow
Tennessee Renaissance Festival – Another Dimension to Nashville Entertainment
Tennessee Renaissance Festival 2009
Top Five Ways to Prepare for a Renaissance Festival
The Top Five Ways to Plan For the Tennessee Renaissance Festival
Renaissance Festivals in Tennessee
Shakespeare & Friends Celtic Renaissance Faire, Rogersville, Tennessee