The wait is finally over! The Carolina Renaissance Festival is back for 2023 and will run Saturdays and Sundays through November 19th. That’s eight weekends you can enjoy the greatest party since Camelot! As their tagline states “history comes alive” and that certainly is true. With so much to see, do, and eat it can be hard to know what to prioritize. Whatever you do is sure to be immersive and enjoyable. However, if you want to narrow down your list I’ve compiled 7 must-dos for this year at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

New For 2023

All your favorites as back for the 2023 season. Additionally, there are some new experiences to enjoy including four new musical artists, a day drum jam to close out the festival each night, and stories and songs by the Fairy Godmother. You can also try some new foods (hint that’s on our list) including charcuterie on a stick, drunken mushrooms, and brisket macaroni and cheese. Umm yes please to all of those.

Be sure to note some of the changes for this year including date-specific tickets with a limited number of tickets being sold for each date. Also this year the festival will open early, at 9:30 pm and stay open until dusk. These changes as well as some to the traffic patterns have been made to hopefully combat the backups and delays for festival goers and residents alike. I’d still plan accordingly and give yourself a little extra time to get there. You can find more info on that here. If you’ve never been to the festival it’s located north of Charlotte between Concord and Huntersville on Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85). You can take exit 25 on I-77 or exits 52 or 55 on I-85.

While you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose these are the must-dos that in my opinion will make for a great time at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

  • 7 Must Do's At The Carolina Renaissance Festival 2022

  • Attend A Joust

    The Joust is a must-see event for all attendees. You won’t want to miss the spectacle and pageantry of the chivalric age. Knights in shining armor perform in a 3-part display of daring deeds of bravery and skill including a realistic recreation of a joust to the death!

  • Meet a Mermaid

    It’s a dream come true when you can encounter a living, breathing, mermaid. Journey to the grotto and experience the Living Mermaid exhibit where beautiful Sea Fairies enchant, delight and swim! Adults and children alike will love watching the underwater flips, blown bubble hearts, and splashing tails! But that’s not all, you can also sit atop the mermaid throne for a meet and greet photo experience. 

  • Eat!

    Ren Fest

    Of course you have to eat at the Renaissance Festival. Turkey legs are a classic! But there are many, many options including:

     Cappuccino Inn

    • Coffee

    • Hot Teas

    • Chai

    • Espresso

    • Cafe Latte

    • Cappuccino

    • Cafe Mocha

    • Frozen Lemonade

    • Frozen Italian Soda

    • French Soda

    • Iced Coffee

    • Iced Cappuccino

    • Iced Mocha

    The King’s Nuts

    • Cinnamon Crunch Almonds

    • Pecans

    The Waffle & Crepe Inn

    • Waffles

    • Sweet Crepes

    • Savory Crepes

    The Cottage Bakery

    • Cheesecake

    • Layer Cakes

    • Tiramisu

    • Pastries

    • Pies

    • Cookies

    • Brownies

    • Cinnamon Rolls

    • Scones

    • Muffins

    • Bagels

    • Breads

    The Cottage Chocolate Shoppe

    • Fudge

    • Truffles

    • Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    • Chocolate Fudge Apples

    • Cashew Turtles

    • Pecan Turtles

    • Rice Krispy Chocolate Bars

    • Toffee Bars

    • Smores Bars

    • Haystacks

    • Caramel Apples

    • Nut Rolls

    Tudor Rose

    • Beer

    • Wine

    • Soda – Pepsi products

    • Champagne

    • Mimosa’s

    • Pretzels

    • Waffles

    • Sweet & Savory Crepes

    King’s Kitchen

    • Bread Bowls

      • Broccoli Cheese Soup

      • Beef Stew

      • Meatball & Marinara

      • Chili

      • Spinach Artichoke Dip

    • Turkey Legs

    • Sausage on a Stick

    • Steak on a Stake

    • Corn on the Cob

    • Fish & Chips

    • Shrimp & Chips

    • Chicken & Chips

    • Scotch Eggs

    • Sweet Potato Fries

    • Chicken Wrap

    • Steak Wrap

    • Herb-Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes or Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    • BBQ Pork Shank with Mashed Potatoes or Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    • Cheese Pizza

    • Pepperoni Pizza

    • Fried Sweet Potato Turnover

    • Taco Salad

    Nut Shop

    • Cinnamon Roasted Almonds and Pecans

     Dragon Inn

    • Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

    • Baked Potato with Toppings

    • Roasted Chicken Skewer

    • Caesar Salad

    • Italian Meatball Sub

    • Chicken Mac-n-Cheese

    • Fried Mac-n-Cheese

    • Fried Rice with Teriyaki Chicken

    • Soda – Pepsi products

    Crown Pub

    • Beer

    • Wine

    • Champagne

    • Mimosa’s

    • Soda – Pepsi products

    • Iced Tea (Sweet & Unsweet)

    • Smoothies

    • Hot Chocolate

    • Water

    Crown Jerky Cart

    • Beef Jerky

    • Beef Sticks

    • Pickles

    Crown Beer Cart (near the Merriment Stage)

    • Beer


    • Gelato

    • Italian Ice

    • Hot Chocolate

    Lancer’s Kitchen

    • Turkey Legs

    • Steak on a Stake

    • Sausage on a Stick

    • Corn on the Cob

    • Portabella Mushroom Sandwich

    • Italian Meatball Sub

    • Caprese Sandwich

    • Root Beer Floats

    • Smoothies

    • Beer

    • Wine

    • Soda – Pepsi products

    Lancer’s Jerky Cart

    • Beef Jerky

    • Beef Sticks

    • Pickles

    Lancer’s Beer Cart (near Joust arena)

    • Beer

    Queen’s Kitchen

    • Bread Bowls

      • Broccoli Cheese Soup

      • Beef Stew

      • Meatball & Marinara

      • Chili

      • Spinach Artichoke Dip

      • Clam Chowder (GF)

    • Turkey Legs

    • Gluten Free (Veggie & Italian Sausage) Pizza

    • Steak on a Stake

    • Fried Rice Bowl

    • Loaded Baked Potato

    • Chicken Sausage in a Blanket

    • Chopped Salad

    • Apple Dumplings w/Ice Cream

    • Brownie Sundae

    • Strawberry Shortcake

    • Cookie & Cream Sandwich

    • Ice Cream

    • Beer & Wine

    • Water & Soda (Pepsi products)

    Woodlands Beer Garden

    • Brats

    • Sausage on a Stick

    • Beer

    • Wine

    • Soda – Pepsi products

    Additional Carts

    • Pretzels (roaming around the Village)

    • Champagne (near Tudor Rose Pub)

  • Shop!

    Shop to your heart’s desire. The merchants at the Carolina Renaissance Festival offer a wide variety of hand-crafted items from jewelry, to weaponry, clothing and textiles, children’s items, glasswork, leatherwork, and home decor items. View a full rundown of what you can look for in the Artisan Marketplace here.

  • Go For A Ride

    Who says rides are just for the kids? At the Carolina Renaissance Festival, you can ride the World’s Largest Rocking Horse, take a spin on Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, or sail the high seas on the Voyage to the New World. Or ride a camel! Rides are an additional cost and range from $2-7.

  • See A Show


    There is no shortage of live entertainment at the Carolina Renaissance Festival! Below is just some of the fun you can check out on your visit!

    • Over 500 Costumed Characters!

    • 16 Stages of non-stop, day-long entertainments!

    • Knights on Horseback Jousting Thrice Daily!

    • Vegetable Justice Tomato Tossing!

    • Bird’s of Prey Falconry Demonstrations!

    • Music, Dance, Comedy, Magic and Circus Entertainments!

  • Throw An Axe

    Axe Throwing

    Have some pent-up anger from the week? What’s a better way to get it out than axe throwing? It’s just one of the games you can participate in at the Renaissance Festival others include darts, archery, and “shatter the platter”.

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