Bristol Renaissance Faire
The Ultimate Bristol Renaissance Faire Guide
Curious about the Bristol Renaissance Faire, but you're not sure where to start? Our guide offers exclusive tips about getting there, tickets, lodging, must-see shows, delicious eats and so much more! We're lowering the drawbridge to a Ren Faire experience you'll never forget!
What is the Bristol Renaissance Faire?
The Bristol Renaissance Faire has been rated the number one renaissance faire in the U.S. It takes place every summer in Bristol, Wisconsin - only a few minutes drive south of Pleasant Prairie. This 30-acre venue transforms into Bristol, England on the day that Queen Elizabeth visited the town on her summer progress in 1574.
Open rain or shine, the Bristol Renaissance Faire features comedy acts, acrobats, daredevils, puppeteers, belly dancers, magicians, music, games, good food, great beer, artisan vendors, and more! Fun for everyone, the Faire is a unique opportunity to leave modern life behind and enjoy a carefree atmosphere!
2023 Bristol Renaissance Faire Dates & Hours
The Bristol Renaissance Fair is open Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Monday from July 8 - September 4, 2023. The hours are from 10 AM - 7 PM.
Before You Go
Know the schedule. Vendors and entertainment change throughout the season. The entertainment stage schedule posts online every Wednesday evening before each weekend. Take a look at this year’s map and get acquainted with the grounds. You’ll be able to grab a free, printed map at the Faire’s front gate.
PRO-TIP: There are four special themed weekends during the 2023 season, including RennCon™, Marketplace Weekend, Pirate Weekend, and Steampunk Weekend.
Buy tickets online. Having your tickets ready to go when you get to the Faire means you can skip the long lines at the Box Office, saving you more time for fun inside the festival gates.
2023 Season Ticket Prices
Adult ticket - $40
Senior (62+) – $35 (Box Office only)
Military w/ID – $35 (Box Office only)
Child (ages 5-12) – $15
Children 4 and younger are FREE!
Season Pass (all ages) - $225
Friends of the Faire (VIP Garden) - $135 season pass
PRO-TIP: Score discounted tickets at participating Menards ($36 for adults, $13 for children) or keep an eye on Visit Pleasant Prairie’s Facebook or Instagram for chances to win FREE tickets!
Brush up on your Elizabethan vocabulary. One of the most fun parts of attending a ren faire is conversing in the tongue of the realm, so you too can speak like a 16th century native. Here’s a quick cheat sheet of terms to know and use at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
Good Morrow = Good Morning/Day
Fare Thee Well = Goodbye
See You Anon = See You Later
Prithee = Please
Gramercy/ I thank thee = Thank You
Art = Are
Aye = Yes
Nay = No
Privy = Restroom (don’t confuse this one with “prithee”)
Thou/Thee = You
Wench = A wench is a particular type of woman, usually the object of affection for many lads. Queens, princesses, and nuns are not wenches.
I be parched = I'm thirsty
Huzzah - Hooray
PRO TIP: Score some serious style points by knowing how to properly address people of rank and nobility.
Your Majesty / Your Grace = If you see a king or queen, greet them by using “Your Majesty” or “Your Grace.”
Your Highness = Use this to address a prince, princess, or other member of royalty that is not a king or queen
Sir = When you head out to see the joust, remember to add “Sir” in front of the name of the knight.
My Lord / My Lady = Anyone from nobility or from a good family
Master / Mistress = Children and the common folk can be referred to as Masters and Mistresses.
Start hydrating ASAP. You’ll be walking all day and sweating a bit (it can get a little hot under all those layers of costumed garb). Ren faire pros advise to begin hydrating a few days in advance to ensure you’ll have an awesome weekend with plenty of stamina for a hot and humid day in Bristol.
PRO-TIP: If you don’t already, begin drinking one electrolyte drink (Gatorade, body armor, etc.) starting the Wednesday before you go to the faire. Trust us - your body will thank you later!
Stay in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
Visiting from out of town? Get the most out of your time at the Faire by booking a room for the weekend at one of the many inns (or hotels) in the Village of Pleasant Prairie. Many are located off of I-94, five minutes away from the fun and action of the Faire!
Book a hotel. Pleasant Prairie’s DoubleTree by Hilton and Fairfield by Mariott are both official Bristol Renaissance Faire hotels. They each offer special Bristol Renaissance Faire hotel packages that include faire tickets, a free shuttle service to and from the event, and more.
PRO-TIP: Whether you're visiting from out of town, or a local looking for a fun staycation - booking a hotel package is awesome because you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving or on-site parking, making your day at the faire a lot more stress-free.
The Bristol Renaissance Faire is centrally located between Milwaukee and Chicago in southeastern Wisconsin’s Kenosha County.
Driving. Getting to the Faire is easy, but traffic for parking is often backed up if you don’t arrive early in the day. We always recommend arriving early so you can score a good parking spot and avoid long lines entering the festival grounds. Carpool if you can! The parking fee is per vehicle, not per person.
Map it: 12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53142
Approx. Driving Times:
Pleasant Prairie: 5 min
Milwaukee: 30 min
Chicago: 50 min
Rockford: 1 hr 30 min
Madison: 2 hr 15 min
Green Bay: 2 hr 20 min
Public transportation and ride shares. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation available to get you to the Faire. Uber and Lyft both operate in the area, and are your best bet for catching a ride to and from the festival grounds.
Shuttles. There is a free shuttle service available for those staying at DoubleTree by Hilton or Fairfield by Mariott in Pleasant Prairie (with package purchase).
Where to park. Paying for parking isn’t fun, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. If you can swing it, we definitely recommend treating yourself to VIP parking for $20/day (you must purchase a parking pass online in advance).
VIP Parking: $20 (must be purchased online)
Preferred Parking: $10 (cash only)
General Parking: $5 (cash only) - first come, first serve
If you don’t mind walking a bit, you can park for free on the far north side of the grounds.
PRO-TIP: If you plan on parking in the general parking lot, the earlier you arrive, the closer you’ll be to the entrance.
What if it’s raining? The Bristol Renaissance Faire is open rain or shine. Check the weather before you go, but don’t let it stop you. Rainy days are sometimes the best days at the Faire.
What To Bring
Not sure what to bring to the Faire? Pack these essentials to ensure you have the best day ever frolicking through Elizabethan England at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
Cash. Cash is king at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. All food and drink merchants are cash only. Most of the larger vendors accept credit cards, but using cash is often faster, leaving you more time to enjoy the Faire.
PRO-TIP: Get your cash in advance! There are ATMs on-site ($4.00 transaction fee), but they usually have really long lines and they often run out of money.
Empty water bottle. Hydration is key! You’ll want your own water bottle (or beverage vessel/ drinking horn) so you don’t have to keep stopping at the water fountains
PRO TIP: Bring your own water container that can fit ice. We prefer something like a hydro flask that will keep your water cold all day long. Swing by BlackFriar’s Tavern (next to The Globe Stage) to fill your container with ice and then fill it with water from one of the water fountains next to the flushable privies (restrooms).
Sunscreen & Bug Spray. There are a fair amount of trees throughout the Faire, so it’s easy to find shade, but we still recommend wearing some sunscreen. The Faire does spray for mosquitos, but you’ll be a happy, less itchy and irritated person if you add an extra level of protection.
Bag or backpack. There are no lockers available, which means you’ll need to carry what you purchase. Bring a bag large enough to carry a few new items you might acquire while shopping at the Faire. If you plan to have a lot of stuff, you can also bring a wagon!
PRO-TIP: If you plan on doing some heavy shopping, get the VIP parking pass so you can drop stuff off in your car. That way you won’t have to schlep all your awesome new wares with you for the rest of the day.
Phone battery charger. Service can get a little spotty, which tends to drain phone batteries. Bring a portable charger pack with you so you don’t have to worry about your phone dying just before you snap a pic with your favorite jouster or bar wench.
What To Wear
Although wearing a renaissance faire costume is highly recommended (and a whole lot more fun), it’s not mandatory that you dress up for the Bristol Renaissance Faire. This Faire doesn’t limit attendees to a specific fantasy theme, so if a pirate, trekkie, elf, furry, or other cosplay is your thing - go for it. You might even run into a Where’s Waldo or two.
Comfortable clothes. Whether you’re dressing in full renaissance garb, or more comfortable in street clothes - just make sure you’ll be comfortable. There is a lot of walking in store for you, so make sure your clothing is flexible and breathable (it’s usually pretty hot in the summer). If you do decide to wear a costume, be prepared to have people want to take pictures with or of you.
PRO-TIP: Check out the Bristol Renaissance Faire’s FAQ for a full list of costume do’s and don’ts.
A hat, hood, or other head covering. Head protection is always helpful for spending a day in the sun. If you forgo a hat, don’t forget to put sunscreen on - sunburned scalps are no fun!
Comfortable shoes. There’s a lot of uneven terrain and in some places, exposed tree roots. It’s often a little dusty, so closed-toed shoes are your friend. Wearing sandals or heels usually are people’s biggest ren faire regret. Definitely keep that in mind when choosing your footwear!
PRO-TIP: Treat your feet to some cushy insoles to help avoid sore feet from standing/walking all day long.
Must See Shows
Huzzah! The Faire isn’t just a place to go. It’s where you go to immerse yourself in an experience like no other. Where else can you witness an actual joust or be offered a rose, a poem, or a song in the village streets? The Bristol Renaissance Faire entertainment lineup is top-notch, but if you are only going for a day, there’s a few fan favorites not to be missed. If there is a show you want to see and want to have a good seat, get there 15-30 minutes early.
Sturdy Beggars Mud Show. Better known as simply “the mud show,” this is an iconic, mandatory experience for any first-timer. Get there early so you can sit up front for the best view. Note that this show is rated PG-13, so if you have little ones, sit this one out until they come of age for some slapstick adult humor.
Barely Balanced. Bristol’s favorite masters of acrobatic comedy perform acrobatic feats that you will see nowhere else. You won’t want to miss this one.
MooNie the Magnif’cent. MooNie presents a show that combines classic clowning, slack rope work and enough comedy to leave you gasping for air. If you only see one show during your time at the Faire, make it this one.
Dirk and Guido: The Swordsmen. Dirk and Guido are good at a few things: 1) Sword fighting 2) Telling jokes 3) Recklessly endangering their lives for your entertainment.
Broon. Broon brings a conversational style to the variety comedy world with less emphasis on corny gags and empty flash and more on audience interaction and personality. No two shows are exactly alike!
PRO-TIP: Showtimes vary as do the shows themselves, so don’t just plan on going for one day. Make it a weekend, or better yet purchase a season pass. A complete stage schedule is available on the Faire’s website.
Other Things To Do
The possibilities of things to do at the Bristol Renaissance Faire are seemingly endless. Here are some of our top picks of things to see and do while enjoying the Faire.
Watch the Queen's favorite sport. Cheer for majestic steeds and noble knights as they compete for The Golden Chain of Bristol! The jousters are excellent and worth a watch if you have the time. The stands fill up fast, so get there 30 minutes early for a good seat.
PRO-TIP: Try to snag a spot in the stands. Watching from the sidelines on the grass can be quite dusty and not a lot of fun for little ones.
Check out historical demonstrations. Discover the ancient art of glassblowing, leatherworking, blacksmithing, and pottery throwing at various vendors throughout the realm. Check out Queens College for a wide range of historical art classes and demonstrations.
Keep the kids entertained. Children love the Faire, and it’s the place for their imaginations to take flight. Stop by Kids’ Kingdom, and visit the Hobbit House. Listen to a story read by Mother Goose herself, or get knighted by the Queen!
PRO-TIP: Pick up a free children's activity booklet from the Queen's College once you arrive.
Take photos. There are so many excellent spots to take photos at the Bristol Renaissance Faire! Be sure to check out the Nobel's glade, towards the jousting tournament. There you’ll find a lovely pond, sundial garden, the Queen's court, and a central fountain. Head to the kids kingdom for Hobbit house mounds. There's also a set of thrones for fun photo ops nearby.
Throw tomatoes. Swing by Vegetable Justice where a rude insulter in a stockade hurls insults as festival goers can chuck a tomato or two to try and hit them right in the face. Extra points if you get your kids to join the fun (don’t worry - they water down the insults for the little ones).
Join the pub crawl. If you are looking for more grown-up fun, check out the Faire's Pub Crawl. Join the rowdy band as they personally entertain you while strolling through the town streets to a variety of outstanding pubs and public houses, skipping the lines along the way. Choose from more than 14 beers on tap or a tasty mead while you travel with your own bartender for rapid service. A gluten-free cider is also available.
PRO-TIP: Grab tickets online (they sell half in advance, half the day-of) or be at the front gate when it opens and hurry to the inside ticket booth to get tickets (it's just to your right when you enter). Pub Crawl tickets purchased online must be redeemed at Guest Services between 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to receive your wristband.
Enjoy tea time. Take the time to visit Lady Ettie at either 1pm or 4pm for her Tea Time. The interactivity and intimate setting is a family-fun experience you won’t soon forget.
Try an escape room. Need a break from the heat? Enjoy some air conditioning while enjoying Festival Escape Adventures, including two Harry Potter themed escape rooms.
Join a quest. RenQuest is an in-person roleplaying game full of thoughtful and fun puzzles where you are the main character. For those who rise to the challenge, there are dozens of quests that can take you throughout the Faire to unravel ancient mysteries. The main game lasts approximately 2 hours (you can play at your own pace).
What To Eat & Drink
Whether you fancy a sweet treat or a full meal, you are sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds. Be sure to save room for sweet treats such as gelato and chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick. And would it really be a Ren Faire without a hearty ale? The Faire offers a range of adult beverages including ciders, wines, cocktails, and frozen margaritas.
There’s a diverse array of dining options, but your trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire won’t be complete without trying a few fan favorites.
Garlic Mushrooms. Often simply referred to as “the mushrooms,” these delicious vegetarian garlic butter mushrooms are the number one recommended dish to try at the Faire. Treat yourself and order the large!
Cheese Fritters. Fried cheesy goodness with two dipping sauces. Need we say more? This one is great to share - if you can find the willpower to not eat them all yourself.
Pickle on a stick. You might not want one when reading this, but trust us when we say you will NEED one when you’re at the Faire. Plus, pickles are a great way to replenish some electrolytes. The pickle stands offer three varieties including classic dill, spicy and garlic.
Vegetable Tempura. A medley of fresh cut vegetables dipped and fried in a light tempura batter served with ranch or sweet and sour sauce. This vegan dish is beloved by many and is a great bargain for the amount of food you get.
Sassafras. It’s rootbeer with a dash of licorice. It’s cold, delicious, and only $1. Find it where they sell the mushrooms.
PRO-TIP: View the full list of dining and beverage options online. Though known for king-sized turkey legs, vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free options are also available. Bringing in outside food or drink is not permitted unless you have special dietary needs.
Where To Shop
The Bristol Renaissance Faire Marketplace features more than 125 artisans and makers who display and sell their unique handcrafted wares. Dazzling stained glass creations, hand-stamped jewelry, amazing leatherwork, homemade candles, and a variety of toy shops are sure to get you in the spirit of these bygone times.
Some of our favorite vendors include Broomhilde (wands, brooms, staffs, etc.) Grichels (leather goods with faces), Stef’s Strange Brews (clay beasties in tea cups), and Alter Egos Bazaar (one of a kind clothing and accessories).
New to the marketplace this year include:
La Gazza Pazza (handmade historical clothing for all)
Two English Ladies (delicious teas, curds, and vinaigrettes)
Three Bells Tapestries (European and custom-woven tapestries)
Dragon Tear Pearls (Hand-Pick-a Pearl and more!)
Oddity Monger (Oddities, Curiosities, Skulls and Crystals)
View the full list of Bristol Renaissance Faire Marketplace vendors before you go so you know how much cash to bring.
PRO-TIP: If the Renaissance bug has bitten you, there’s no better place to purchase your historical costume and accessories. Take a piece of history with you and wear it, display it, or play with it all year long!