Photo courtesy King Richard’s Faire.

Fall is my favorite season. I love everything from the crisp leaves to pumpkin spice to apple picking. But the fall tradition my family loves most of all? Visiting King Richard’s Faire in Carver!

Renaissance faires are a great venue for family fun, and King Richard throws an excellent event! My family of seven has attended the faire many times over the past few years, and it never gets old. When planning your journey to medieval times, there are a few things to know first.

Know before you go

When buying tickets, check Groupon first! You can often find discounted tickets for specific weekends. Mass Teacher Association members and families can also get a discount. However you are purchasing tickets, get them online in advance to save a lot of time entering the faire. Phone signals can be spotty on the fairgrounds, so screenshot your ticket or Groupon before leaving for the faire to easily show your barcode without worrying about your connection. Parking is free and ample at the faire but may be quite a walk to the gate if you get there after 11 a.m. (gates open at 10:30 a.m.).

Bathrooms (“privies”) are available toward the front and back of the fairgrounds. They are trailer-type bathrooms, so they are indoors but without a lot of room. Lines can get long at times, so some potty prep and hand sanitizer may be helpful to bring to ease bathroom stress.

Fare at the faire

Renaissance fairies have so much to offer, but the food is an experience in itself. King Richard has decreed that tickets are to be traded for food (including mead, champagne, and other drinks); no other form of payment is accepted at the food kiosks. The food vendors have clear signs letting you know how many tickets each item costs, and there are food ticket booths throughout the fairgrounds. Lines get long as you get closer to lunch time, so grab your food tickets early to avoid waiting in line twice while hungry!

The entertainment

You could spend your whole time enjoying the shows at the faire! There are great family-friendly shows, as well as a few shows appropriate only for an older audience. The schedule of shows notes some “PG-13” shows; however, there are some, like the mud show, that are not PG-13 but may be better for teens and adults. Jacques Ze Whippeur is a great show and is highly recommended, considering he was featured on “America’s Got Talent” this year!  Another must see is a joust! Follow the storyline and watch all three, or stop by just one to get your jousting fill. If you can only pick one, the last one of the day is the most enthusiastic!

If you are not in the mood for a show, there are games and rides to enjoy. Games and rides do have separate costs, and it’s best to watch other people participate before deciding where to spend your money. The Jacob’s Ladder, for example, can be really fun to watch as others try to climb it, but it might not be worth the money for your child to get frustrated.

Don’t miss the parade at 12:45 p.m. that goes throughout the grounds and includes various performers and the entire royal family!

For the wee ones

Although a lot of the events are geared toward older children, there are some events specifically for the youngest knights and faeries. The Kid’s Cove is an area that is sectioned off with a small fence, so you can give your little one some room to move. There are some toys and a sandbox to enjoy. This is also where the Knight School and Princess Academy happen! There are often performers there to help entertain and read stories to young children.

Photo courtesy King Richard’s Faire.

Although the fairgrounds are mostly flat (the jousting area is an exception), it isn’t a great place for strollers. There are a lot of beautiful trees that offer nice shade on a sunny day, which means many places have roots that make pushing a stroller difficult. Consider baby wearing or bringing a more robust stroller if you need to use one. An umbrella stroller will likely be more work than it is worth.

Faire attire

King Richard’s Faire is run rain or shine and is mostly outdoors. The ground may get muddy after rain, so consider some comfortable, closed-toe shoes. The faire offers costumes to rent for the day at pretty reasonable prices! Many people dress in medieval attire, but just as many come in modern-day attire! We have done both, and although there is something about a cloak that gets me in the renaissance mood, wearing present-day clothing doesn’t take away from the fun.

King Richard’s Faire has been a fun fall family adventure for us, and we hope to see you all there. The faire runs on weekends from September 3 through October 23 from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool and toddler teacher at a small private preschool and holds a master's degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys in middle and high school, plus two girls in elementary school. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early ed teachers, runs workshops for parents through Boston Naps, and runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.