The Festival of the Fox is afoot once again as Fairmount Park transforms into a world of whimsy, fantasy, and fun at the Philadelphia Renaissance Faire. Spread across two Spring weekends, this year's faire features more festivities than you can shake a stick (or sword, or turkey leg) at, so here's a handy guide to getting the most out of this trip back through time... or as knights would call it, "tyme."
The Mirth: Enter the Kangaroo Court of Lord High Sheriff Marshall Laww, where the audience plays jury to a tastefully bawdy mockery of Renaissance justice, and make sure to gawk/wince at "Master of (Somewhat) Controlled Disaster" Doug Stafford's sideshow antics, which might entail juggling knives while balanced on a see-saw, or using fire as an alternate means of hair removal
The Music: The mystical folk band Ashagal regales crowds with medieval ballads that evoke dark faerie tales of mist filled forests using antiquated instruments such as the hurdy gurdy, the nyckelharpa, and the rauschpfeife, while Harpspun the Celtic Harpist plucks tales of bold knights, Pieces of 8 perform a Renaissance version of a vaudeville show, and Blackjacks 'N Blarney serenade pirates
The Food: In addition to turkey legs, the grounds also serve up old-timey favorites like ribs, pork, beef and prime rib from Lord Lumpy's BBQ, plus roasted corn, and perhaps some wine or mead to wash it down
The Merchants: Dozens of artisans and merchants offer cool toys and trinkets for purchase, some of which you can watch being made firsthand. Expect traditional jewelry-makers as well as sewers who create the Renaissance-style clothing, chainmaille, and wares for the home. And if you've ever wanted to buy a sword and shield, this is the place.