The Carolina Rennaissance Festival gets cranked up again this weekend – for you knights and damsels who aren’t familiar with it, RenFest is a 2-month medieval party held in Huntersville, complete with entertainment (12 stages), vendors (over 100), food (plenty), and beer (also plenty).
We chatted with Matt Siegel last week, RenFest’s director (or king or duke or earl or baron) of marketing and entertainment, who emphasized all The Carolina Renaissance Festival offers; “non-stop variety entertainment, an artisan marketplace where vendors are creating, demonstrating and selling hand crafted items in all mediums, and of course the very best in food and craft beer.”
That last part is significant; RenFest was embracing craft beer before the 2005 ‘Pop The Cap’ change in state legislature that allowed for higher gravity beers, which has helped fuel a craft beer ‘renaissance’ in this state. Fast forward 10 years and the majority of RenFest tap handles are reserved for craft beer. They also build relationships with home beer brewing clubs and co-sponsor the annual Gambrinus Cup Homebrew Competition – the winner of which, Fairhaven Helles, will be on tap there this year.
So what’s new at Renfest for 2015? Lots. This year features the largest number of improvements and additions to the Festival than since they first opened in 1994.
New for 2015:
- New Queen’s Kitchen & Pub
- enhanced Beer Garden featuring early releases of popular Foothills seasonal brews
- Pony Rides for kids
- New Edgewood Theater featuring limited engagement special guests that include:
- The Tartan Terrors – Celtic Rock, Comedy & Dance! October 3 & 4.
- Fool Hearty – Fool School & Untrained Dog Show! October 10 & 11.
- The Freestylers of Piping – Bagpipes and Percussion! October 17, 18, 24 & 25.
- MooNiE the Magnif ‘cent – Juggler, rope walker, & foolish mortal October 31, November 1, 7 & 8.
- The Great Fettuccini – Circus Variety Show November 14 & 15.
- The Lost Boys – Renaissance Rock & Roll November 21 & 22
New Stage Acts for the entire season include:
- The wet and wacky Washing Well Wenches
- Fool Hearty Foolish Comedy & Untrained Dog Show
- Roses of the Realm Belly Dance & Comedy
As for our beer, we’re pouring a pretty formidable lineup at Renfest: Hoppyum IPA, Torch Pilsner, People’s Porter, Jade IPA, Carolina Blonde, Cottonwood Pumpkin, Oktoberfest, Frostbite Black IPA, Hoppy Medium Imperial Brown, Stout, and Fairhaven Helles. Note that RenFest will have our Frostbite Black IPA before market release, and Foothills Oktoberfest after it’s gone from shelves elsewhere.
There’s also a BrewFest happening October 17 & 18 – we’ll be pouring the above beers as well as Barrel Aged Porter, Carolina Strawberry, Seeing Double IPA, October IPA of the Month, Gruffmeister Maibock, Foot Men Series Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, and Riverkeeper Series Doppelbock and India Pale Lager. Yes, that’s 20 Foothills beers in one location.
We’ll let Matt have the final word: “The Carolina Renaissance Festival truly has something for everyone. You can choose your own adventure and have a family fun Disney-esque experience without breaking the budget. Everyone loves the costume party atmosphere with unmatched people watching. And the food and beer is amazing. You don’t have to take my word for it, see feedback from our patrons.”