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Bristol Renaissance Faire facts for kids

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Bristol Renaissance Faire
Broken lances.jpg
Jousting at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, 2006
Genre Renaissance fair
Dates July–September
Location(s) Bristol, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, United States
Inaugurated 1973
Attendance 198,000–400,000 (average)
Stages 16

Bristol Renaissance Faire ("Bristol") is a Renaissance fair held in a Renaissance-themed park in the village of Bristol, Wisconsin; its property runs along the Wisconsin-Illinois state line west of Interstate 94. It recreates a visit of Queen Elizabeth I to the English port city of "Bristol" in the year 1574. The faire runs for the nine weekends from early July through Labor Day.


Costumed performers from the 2006 Bristol Renaissance Faire

The Bristol Renaissance Faire was founded in 1972 by Richard Shapiro, and his wife Bonnie, as "King Richard's Faire". The event was a four-weekend fair and drew approximately 10,000 people.

In 1988, the Shapiros sold the fair to Renaissance Entertainment Corporation, having created a second incarnation of the King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts. The original King Richard's Faire was re-opened that year as the "Bristol Renaissance Faire". The reigning monarch became Queen Elizabeth I rather than the fictional "King Richard", and the year was set at 1574. At that time, the fair played seven weekends and drew over 200,000 visitors annually, thus placing it among the highest attended in the world. Renaissance faire staples such as jousting tournaments, historical reenactments, and stage shows continue.

With the faire being cancelled in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was to blame, the 48th was deferred to 2021.

Production values

The Bristol Faire's proximity to Chicago enabled the artistic directors to bring improv comedy teachers from The Second City and The Players Workshop, including instructor and director Eric Forsberg, who taught improvised interactive street theater techniques until 1997, and Ron Scot Fry, who was artistic director from 1989 until 2008.

The Mud Show, Dirk & Guido: The Swordsmen, and Moonie the Magnificent have won awards from The Annual Renaissance Festival Awards.

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