Are you a chivalrous knight? A goodly maiden? A well-timed fool? Or perhaps you just wish you could acceptably wear a doublet and full suit of armor in public. Fortunately, Wichita’s Great Plains Renaissance Festival is just around the corner, and an ample supply of lords and ladies will welcome additions to the court.
This year’s festival will again play host to the Wichita Highland Games and Celtic Festival, so Celts and Scots (particularly with kilt and bagpipe) should not shy away. Wichita is one of five cities to be chosen as host for the International Highland Games Federation’s 2017 All American Highland Games Series this year. The top two contestants will compete in the All American Highland Games Championship for a chance to become the U.S. representative at the 2018 IHGF World Amateur Championships.
Festivities will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Sedgwick County Park. Prices will favor those who plan in advance – adult tickets purchased online before Saturday will be $8.50, compared to $12 at the door. Likewise, children’s tickets will be free in advance, compared to $5 at the door.
No renaissance festival is complete without a good jest and joust – and the Great Plains Renaissance Festival promises its joust field will bring a bit more authenticity to this year’s festival.
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“The joust field is undergoing renovations to look more like the type of joust fields you would see in the movies,” said festival director Richard Cathey. “This year we imported 30 medieval historical flags (reproductions) to add to the overall pageantry and color of the festival.”
Fire breathers, master falconer Bob Aanonsen, the Amira Dance Productions belly dancers, The Dangling Damsels (aerial acrobats) and the Scallywags Pirate Comedy group will perform.
The Musical Blades – promoting their new album “Under the Black” – will bring their comedic “mug-banging pub chant-alongs” and more to the stage, while Black Oak Shillaleigh and other Celtic musicians will bring the sounds of the Highlands to Wichita. The Kansas Authors’ Pavilion will give flight to the imagination through dialogue among authors of diverse genres and interaction with festival guests. Sir ICT – a new member of the Great Plains Renaissance Festival – will help transport attendees back to the Middle Ages while “Keeping the Renaissance in Wichita,” as the festival’s operating motto asserts.
About 70 crafts vendors, 20 of which are new this year, will sell and demonstrate their crafts. For kids, there will be pony and donkey rides, a petting zoo and a variety of games.
Turkey legs, Scottish meats, pastries and shortbread, as well as American festival foods, will be available for purchase.
Even if you’ve been to the festival before, Cathey said, “No two shows are ever the same with the Great Plains Renaissance Festival.”
Great Plains Renaissance Festival
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Sedgwick County Park, 6501 W. 21st St.
How much: Adult tickets purchased online before Saturday are $8.50 and include one free child’s ticket. At the gate: $12 for adults; $5 for children