Hail and Ahoy! The Michigan Renaissance Festival returns August 19

Hail and ahoy, all ye lads and lasses! The Michigan Renaissance Festival returns to Holly for its 39th year on August 19. It runs Saturdays and Sundays through October 1, 10am-7pm rain or shine.
 
For nearly four decades, the Renaissance Festival has been entertaining adults and children alike with its immersive Renaissance-era experience featuring enactments of chivalry and enchantment.
 
Launched in 1979 in Clarkston, the Michigan Renaissance Festival began as a five-weekend event drawing in 11,000 visitors to see jousting knights, juggling fools, skilled archers, mimes, and madrigals. Since then the festival has grown to host over 250,000 visitors over its five-weekend run, which also includes Monday, September 4 (Labor Day) and "Festival Friday" on September 29.
 
The festival has a variety of different themed weekends and experiences so guests can enjoy everything from the High Court of Merry Old England to pirates, mermaids, fairies, fortune tellers, and all kinds of other Medieval characters and mysticisms, including more modern interpretations like steampunks and Whovians.
 
The schedule for 2017's themed weekends and activities are as follows:
 
Royal Pet and Ale Fest
August 19 & 20
Pet vendors, pet rescues, Weiner dog races, pet costume contest and diving dogs
 
Highland Fling
August 26 & 27
Highland heavy games, "Men in Kilts" competition, Scottish dancers, keg toss and Scottish market
 
High Seas Adventure
September 2, 3, & 4
Beard competition, tattoo competition, pirate costume contest, "Knights on Bikes" discount
 
Wonders of the World
September 9 & 10
Belly dancing championships, Dr. Who costume contest, steampunk Invasion, steampunk costume contest, Time Traveler’s Ball and Deaf Awareness Weekend
 
Shamrocks and Shenanigans
September 16 & 17
Irish heavy games, Celtic market, Men in Kilts, Flint Scottish pipe band
 
Harvest Huzzah
September 23 & 24
BBQ festival, BBQ championships, archery competition and harvest market
 
Sweet Endings
September 29 & 30, October 1
Chocolate festival, Shakespeare stage takeover, fencing championships and wedding wars
 
In addition to all the old favorites, including fire jugglers and jousting competitions, there are many exciting new things planned for 2017. Merlin's Magic Quest is an interactive, all-day Adventure Quest in which participants will follow clues, solve puzzles, and engage in battles of wits. An all-new obstacle course will test your strength, balance, and coordination. Guests can now meet and take selfies with a real live magical unicorn, or enjoy the new Bloody Mary Bar at the Pickled Onion.
 
And for all you Game of Thrones fans, and we know there are a LOT of you, there is the brand-new Throne of Swords Pub.
 
And if all that eating, drinking, and entertainment weren't enough, there are also the dozens of artists and artisans selling their hand-made creations, from sterling silver jewelry to elaborate leatherwork to hand-blown glass and all manners of woodwork, metalwork, costumes, accessories, and decorative pieces. Just a (albeit unfortunate) reminder that the holidays are just around the corner, and this is an exceptional place to find unique gifts.
 
Metro Detroiters are especially lucky that the Michigan Renaissance Festival is one of the largest such festivals in the country, both in the festival's footprint – 17 acres total – and in its duration. This family-friendly event is a blast for all ages and one of many things that make summer in Southeastern Michigan a particularly joyous time!