This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (August 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Maryland Renaissance Festival|
Jousting at the Renaissance Festival
|Dates||August - October|
|Attendance||15,800 daily, 300,000 season (average)|
|Area||25 acres (100,000 m2)|
The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a Renaissance fair located in Crownsville, Maryland. Set in a fictional 16th-century English village named Revel Grove, the festival is spread over 25 acres (100,000 m2). The second largest renaissance fair in the United States, it is open from the last weekend of August and runs for nine weekends.
The fair was first held in 1977 in Columbia, Maryland. Penn and Teller and The Flying Karamazov Brothers performed at the first event. In 1985, the fair was moved to its current location in Crownsville. The festival was originally an Elizabethan fair, but in 1989 switched to being focused on Henry VIII of England. King Henry is played by actor Fred Nelson, replacing Bill Huddle, after Huddle's death in 2001.
More than 1,300 participants populate the village, 400 work directly for the company, 700 for the other vendors and 200 as performers on stages or as characters throughout the village. The Maryland Renaissance Festival utilizes eight major theaters, four smaller stages in taverns, a children's area and a jousting tiltyard with seating for 3,000.
The fair contains an elephant and camel that groups of fairgoers pay to ride. In 2014, Joan Jett, speaking on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote a letter asking that the rides be cancelled because of exploitation and abuse associated with using animals in this fashion. Born Free USA also protested on a road outside the fair.