Every fall the Carolina Renaissance Festival takes place outside of Charlotte. Every year, I want to go but every year it doesn't happen. But this year, we decided to nix the whole birthday party idea for Emily's birthday and do something special. The Renaissance Festival was part one of Emily's Birthday Celebration!
I had to sing at church, so Emily and I went there and let Todd sleep in. We did sneak out after communion because we knew it was going to take a couple of hours to drive there. Todd was ready when we got home, so I changed and we were off.
We made pretty good time and avoided traffic until we got to the Festival itself. We had to wait in a long line to get in and get parked. Parking was free though, which was nice. Todd had already bought our tickets so we were able to walk right in.
All of us were hungry, so we got some food to start off with. The food lines were long, except for pizza. So I got Emily pizza. Todd got a loaded baked potato and I got chicken and mashed potatoes. It was very yummy!
After we ate, the rides caught Emily's eye so we checked that out first. I was a little surprised that she got on the giant rocking horse without issue - though as I was taking pictures, she was holding onto the rail and telling me that it was terrifying. She was laughing though so it must have been the good kind of terrifying.
From there, she wanted to ride on the pirate ships. I rode with her, and it made me a little uncomfortable because of my bad experience with a much bigger pirate ship in the past. But Emily had a blast!
We did some walking around and found the jousting area. We had a little time so we found ourselves at the Faeries. They had a little shop where you could buy pictures and other trinkets, but you could meet the faeries for free.
Emily was a little shy with them, but she loved it. They gave her a special faery stone that she talked about the rest of the time we were there.
From there, Emily and I decided to get a seat for the joust. Todd opted to wander around a little more. He came back in plenty of time but the stands were filling up by the time he got back. They were totally packed as the show started.
The jousting was very fun to watch. Emily loved it, and even exclaimed that they were riding real horses! There was also a middle-aged guy sitting in front of us who seemed amazed that they were really jousting! Our knight won which was pretty awesome.
There was a massive crowd after the jousting show was done. We just walked for a while just to get out of the crowd. We made it to the other end of the grounds and found the area with the animals.
Emily went on her first pony ride, and Todd walked besides her. She gushed about how nice her pony and how she got to pet him after she got off. We also went into the free petting zoo - Emily was a little unsure about some of the animals but still wanted to pet some.
It was getting on in the day, so we made our way back to the front. Emily and Todd took one last ride on the pirate ship before we left. That was her favorite thing to do out of everything.
I was pretty well pooped by the time we left. I had walked about as much as I did in a day at Dragon Con in the three hours or so we were at the Faire. Plus we had some issues finding our car in the parking. I was quite glad when we found it.
All in all, the Carolina Renaissance Festival was a lot of fun. Lots of activities for kids, even more than we did. They even had a real camel that was giving rides!
We will definitely be back next year!