Costumed characters delight audiences with staged presentations, village artisans provide craft demonstrations and living history troops, such as The Queen’s Court, bring the 16th century to life.
Fourteen stages are scheduled with music, dance and comedy acts every half hour. Craft demonstrations are on-going throughout the day. A major festival feature is the re-creation of jousting tournaments with knights in armor performing on horseback in the Queen’s Tournament Arena. Our Student Days Program was created to highlight the educational aspects of the Festival and to give school groups a chance to join the fun.
Student Day Study Guide
Visit our website, carolina.renfestinfo.com and download the Student Day Study Guide containing helpful information for your classroom.
Our student day field trip dates are:
Tuesday, October 23 – Elementary and Middle
Wednesday, October 24 - Middle
Thursday, October 25 – Middle and High
The Carolina Renaissance Festival began in 1994, and offers its visitors an opportunity to step back in time to a magical, enchanting fantasy land that has been created to represent an authentic European village.
The Festival’s educational viability is due to the wide array of unique presentations that are available to students. The Festival features over 200 performers, representing various entertainments of the time – including jugglers, knights in armor, jousting, ropewalkers, dancers, villagers, peasants, historical characters and a variety of musicians. Over 100 artisans fill the village, working in mediums such as glass blowing, pottery, leather work, blacksmithing, sculpture, and candle making, just to name a few. The crafts and entertainment combine with thematic games and foods to create a glimpse of marketplace celebrations and life in the 16th century.
The village of the Carolina Renaissance Festival is a theatrical facsimile of a 16th century European village. The storyline is: The Queen is touring England with her court On this beauteous day, the Royal Family has come to visit the small village of Fairhaven.
Villagers, crafts-people, musicians, performing troupes and food vendors have gathered together to create a marketplace Festival. The village is radiant with color and celebration rules the day. Why, even a Jousting Tournament will take place to honor the Royal Family.
Our Renaissance Festival is a re-creation of the celebrations that took place when a King visited a village in his Realm. The Royal Family is not based on actual historical personages.
Medieval vs. Renaissance
The Renaissance affected different aspects of life in England at different times. The humanistic approach to life started in the 1470’s, whereas the parliamentary renaissance did not happen until the 1530’s. To simplify matters, here are some examples of the differences between Medieval and Renaissance viewpoints.
- Collectivism mentality, guilds were strong
- Pre-occupations with the soul and death.
- In wars, knights were rarely killed; foot soldiers made up the bulk of the fatalities
- Church in England; the Pope was involved with its politics
- Parliament’s primary usage was to grant funds to the King
- Exaltation of the individual
- Appreciation of life; art, dance and music blossomed
- Gunpowder was used in warfare; it killed knights and foot soldiers alike. It did not kill by class
- Church of England; England became a sovereign state
- Parliament was utilized to enact laws that helped enforce government policy
Food and Drink
People of this day knew nothing about sanitation — they’d never heard of germs, nobody had ever seen one! The water was dangerously polluted, so most people drank a very low alcohol brew called “small beer.” Much milk was consumed, especially skim and buttermilk — cream was needed for other things. Ale was consumed on special occasions and only the royalty and the very wealthy drank wine.
In this time, people thought that the proper foods for humans were meat, bread, dairy, eggs and a few varieties of fruit. Meats were preserved with salt, sugar or spices, but meat, which we would consider spoiled, would be gratefully eaten. Usually, meat came from elderly animals and was tough, so no one expected the best cuts. In spite of these drawbacks, Elizabethans are still famous for their skillful use of herbs, spices and their slow stewing methods. But only the very rich could afford meat regularly in their diets and they considered vegetables, which grow from the earth, to be beneath them.
Many were even suspected of producing ill humors. Peasants couldn’t afford to be picky. Their diets consisted MAINLY of vegetables, plus lots of eggs and cheese, which they referred to as “white meat.”
In spite of economic differences, peasants were the better nourished of the two classes.