The Bay Area Renaissance Festival 2018 transforms the MOSI fields in North Tampa into a 16th Century kingdom, where fans can escape the realm and journey in time to a land where kings and queens rule and mermaids and fairies are more than just a dream. The Ren Faire celebrates its 40th year in 2018, and has evolved from a small gathering of renaissance dancing, archery contests and madrigals in the 727area to the festival you love today with turkey legs, mead, art, vendors, human chess-matches, enthralling themed weekends, and entertainers galore.
The Bay Area Renaissance Festival opens Saturday, February 10th and runs through Sunday, March 25th, operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m over the next seven Saturdays and Sundays only. The festival will also be open on Friday, March 23. As always, parking is free adjacent to the Faire. General admission can be purchased online or at the gate and are the following price points. As in previous years, there is a season pass option for those frequent visitors to the Festival.
- Adults: $21.95
- Children 5-12: $13.95
- Seniors 65+: $17.95
- Students (w/ valid college ID): $17.95
- Adult Season Pass: $89.95
- Child Season Pass: $53.95
Your favorite weekend-themed events are better than ever, which can make the experience even more exciting with just your general admission ticket. The events range from skills competitions to costume contests, some with free food and drink, and with dates ranging from Valentine's Day to St. Patrick's Day to Spring Break it's definitely worth going more than once.
Chocolate Fantasy: February 10th & 11th
Stop by the Piper's Valley for free samples from local chocolatiers, bakers and other sweet makers. Various events over the weekend include a fencing competition, fudge fling, vow renewal and a couples pie eating contest held at the Wyldewood Stage. Spend the weekend before Valentine's with your loved one, or loved-one-to-be at the Renaissance Festival! Saturday, February 10th also features the Rainbow After Dark Ball; celebrating our diverse community the renaissance way with food, merriment and mayhem. Admission is $60 that includes your ticket into the faire. The 21+ event goes from 6-9pm and includes appetizers, desserts and drinks.
Highland Fling: February 17th & 18th
Join the fittest and most athletic in the land during the Highland Games, rally your crawlers for the Race for The Rattle and cheer on your favorite contestants in kilts during the Highland Fling.
Pirates and Pets: February 24th & 25th
Pet Fest with vendors and entertainment, pet demonstrations, a perfect pirate competition, pet costume contest and wiener dog races! Present your motorcycle license at the Festival Box Office and save $3 on an adult admission.
Time Travelers: March 3rd & March 4th
Honor the popular alternate history where Victorian fashion and mannerisms are integrated into an evolving world of steam-powered machines. Including a Dr. Who Costume Contest, Steampunk Costume Contest, Belly Dancing Competition and a Time Travelers Ball. The Ball is held after hours and is $55 per person.
Barbarian Brew Fest: March 10th & 11th
Embrace your inner barbarian with Medieval Combat Training, a beard competition and the Florida State Archery Competition sponsored by Tampa Bay Archery.
Shamrocks & Shenanigans: March 17th & 18th
Spend St, Patrick's Day Weekend proving your strength in the Highland Games, participating in the Men in Kilts competition or the popular Bonnie Knees Competition. At 4pm, enjoy the best 21+ St. Patrick's Day Party in the Bay with The Bawdy Boys hosting the evening and much more!
Free Beer Festival Friday: March 23rd
The only Friday of the festival features a few goodies. The annual Festival Friday is a commitment to the educational experience for students and is offered as a Field Trip opportunity for Bay Area schools. Students grades 1-6 receive a $9.95 discounted ticket, grades 7-12 receive a $14.95 discounted ticket and adult chaperones receive a $14.95 discounted ticket. This is a great experience for students of all ages to do more than study the Renaissance in a history book. Festival Friday also offers a Ladies Shopping Day for $13.95 that includes festival admission, glass of wine and a coupon book with discounts from select Festival Artisans. All Military, First Responders and USF students, faculty and staff (with a valid USF ID) receive free admission on Festival Friday and everyone with a ticket receives one free beer! There is also a Masquerade Ball for $85 featuring a six course gourmet meal, champagne, music, dancing, prizes and more. The Masque Ball is a 21+ event.
High Seas Adventure: March 24th & 25th
The final weekend is Deaf Awareness Weekend with ASL interpreters at select stages and shows. Show off your best pirate garb in the Pirate Costume Contest, try your hand (or leg) at the Pirate Peg Leg Relay Race or show off your best ink in the Tattoo Competition.
The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is a staple in the late winter and early spring in our area as over 80,000 guests will dress up in tunics and tights and take a trip through time to enjoy period food, drink and entertainment. While you're out in the greater North Tampa area, take a look at the newest restaurants, bars and things to do and don't forget to subscribe to 813area.com for more updates; as always, it's free!