King Richard’s Faire returns for a fantasy-filled fall

The organizers of King Richard’s Faire think locals are eager to escape reality these days and offer some suggestions: magic, jousting, kings, wizards, fire-eaters, minstrels, jugglers and talented dogs.

After a year of pandemic closure, New England’s largest and longest-running Renaissance festival is back for its 40th anniversary season starting Saturday for eight weekends, plus the Labor Day and Columbus Day Monday holidays.

Visitors to the outdoor shows, events and activities in the festival’s 80-acre wooded site in Carver are asked to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if not, wear masks. Online ticket-buying is encouraged; on-site ticket booths only accept cash. (If CDC guidelines or Massachusetts rules change during the run of the fair, requirements will change there, too.)

Ways to spend your time at King Richard’s Faire include live entertainment, rides, games, food and shopping. The hundreds of performers, according to information from organizers, will include acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, fire-eaters, minstrels, dancers and puppeteers on eight stages — plus knights jousting on horseback in a field and beggars competing in mud.

New acts this year will include: “The Captain’s Canines”, a specialty dog act; The Unicycling Unicorn, actually a juggler who balances 14 feet in the air on a wheel; the circus comedy of El Zappo; Kilted Colin’s juggling, acrobatics and bagpiping; the Picts Pipers playing Highland Tribal music; and the “Unspun Tails” aerial show.

Food offered will range from giant turkey legs to bowls of stew, with onion blossoms, “dragon wings” and desserts promised, and a nod to contemporary fare with gluten-free, vegetarian and lactose-free options. Drinks will include champagne, specialty cocktails, wine, hard cider, mead or beer.

Ses Carny plays with fire in The Torture Show at King Richard's Faire.

Patrons are welcome to arrive in costume. That’s not required, but if visitors change their mind while at the faire, merchandise in the shops will include costumes, armor, face-painting and hand-carved bows and arrows.

Shooting a bullseye in a handstand with her feet is acrobat Leila Noone of the Accidental Acrobats at King Richard's Faire.

While most activities and performers will be available whenever you go, there are themes or special events tied to some days. This first Sunday, for example, is a salute to first-responders and military so members of those groups get in free.

There’s a Beer Olympics on Sept. 12; a vow renewal ceremony on Sept. 18; a pub crawl on Sept. 19; tug-o’-wars on Sept. 25-26; a weekend for wizards and witches on Oct. 2-3; a Highlands theme on Oct. 9 and 11; and a time-traveling theme on Oct. 16.

King Richard’s Faire also offers special packages for weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, anniversaries, proposals and other private gatherings.

King Richard XI and Queen Anne, played by Kirk Simpson and Elizabeth Clouse, greet guests at King Richard's Faire.

King Richard’s Faire

When: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 4-Oct. 24, plus the Labor Day and Columbus Day Monday holidays

Where: 235 Main St., Carver

Tickets: $37 (age 12 and over); $35 for age 65+; $18 for ages 4-11; free for age 3 and younger. (Email [email protected] for group discount tickets.)

Tickets and information: http://kingrichardsfaire.net

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