Since I've lived in Los Angeles, the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire has become my go-to faire. I didn't realize until after I'd attended for a couple of years that this faire is the first modern faire of its kind. I know! It's been operating since 1962. It takes place in the spring and like most faires, it always seems to be ridiculously hot. The grounds are pretty big, and it's easy to spend a day there because there are so many shops and performances. I enjoy going, but I don't love it in the same way that I did with the renfaire in Ohio. I think that one has a special place simply because it was the first one I attended. Who knows.
Anyways, when a friend of mine offered to take me to a different renfaire this spring, I jumped at the chance. It turns out the Koroneburg Old World Festival was just an hour and a half or so drive away and had plenty of fun stuff to do. I had just gone to the SoCal faire two weeks prior, but can you really ever attend too many renfaires in one month? I don't think so.
It was a blissfully cool day and that automatically and maybe unfairly gave Koroneburg points. This may sound silly, but it is so nice to attend a faire and not spend the whole day sweating and feeling uncomfortable. The festival didn't seem to be terribly busy either, and it made for nice and lazy meandering. Since I spent most of the day running through comparisons to the SoCal faire in the back of my head, I thought I'd share them with you guys in case you plan to attend either faire next year.
Koroneburg Old World Festival
- Free general parking (you can pay for closer parking, but it's not a far walk to the free stuff).
- Their coffee stand was set up like a little coffee shop by the jousting arena. It looked cute and comfy, and the iced mocha I got there was tasty.
- Less commercial atmosphere, felt more relaxed.
- You could get up close and personal to the joust.
- Great location with plenty of shade.
- Thomas Wood, the Pyro-Juggler, was hilarious.
- They had a fencing lesson place, and though I didn't participate, I observed and they spent a lot of time with anyone who stepped in (that may be different when the faire is busier).
- Rat petting. I know how that sounds, but I got to pet a rat and feed him Cheerios (rat donuts!) and it was fun.
- Admission is something like $8 or more cheaper than the Pleasure Faire.
- More attendees in costume than at the other faire.
- It was a bit on the small side. I think it would be hard to spend a full day there.
- The food I tried - a pita - was just mediocre.
- The shops were fun and offered great merchandise, but there wasn't a huge variety.
Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire
- They offer several options for food, and I've never eaten anything that wasn't delicious. It was weird to see food trucks there this year, but eh.
- Again, also a lot of choices for shopping. They have multiple vendors selling mugs, clothes, jewelry, weaponry, leather goods, shoes, and on and on.
- The location is bigger with lots of open spaces.
- Plenty of stages with entertainers all day long. I love to go there to just to see performers like Broon, Moonie, and the Merry Wives of Windsor among many others.
- It's easy to spend a full 8+ hour day at this faire.
- You pay for parking (I think $10? Maybe $5), and admission is higher than Koroneburg (but referenced the pros above).
- It feels more commercial. People aren't in your face selling items exactly, but it's just a general vibe. The people working the games are a bit too hard-sell for me.
- There is some shade but not enough. If it's a hot day, the Irwindale Dam recreation are is not a fun place to be.
In the end, each place has perks. I like both, but I'd go to them for different reasons. If I'm all about shopping and food, I'll go to the SoCal faire. They also have some high quality entertainment. If I want an experience that feels less commercial, I'll go to Koroneburg.
What are some of the things you like best about your local faire?