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Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival-Step back in history


You might have stepped back into King Robert the Bruce era when you pass thru Northern Kentucky; in 1298, Robert Bruce took over the title of Guardian of Scotland, and this annual event explores the culture of the time period, more correctly called the living history demonstration, the event is held annually in Eminence, Kentucky, and this will be the 18th year of the event. The event is very community-based. The festival provides attendees with a living history of the village fair from 1300s Scotland, complete with brightly colored tents, castle and cottages, mud pit, marketplace—and even a pillory.


Pillory. (2023, March 19). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillory

The area is nestled in a green forest in Henry County. The events include something for everyone, from Music, artisan-made arts and crafts, demonstrations, kid-friendly activities, games of skill, comedy, theater, and a variety of food and drink are well featured at the event. Some of the top attractions are the jousting on horseback, mud show, sword swallowing, Viking reenactment, and live music.


The event also features Dr. Judas Lynch and Ms. Magnolia Strange, who are an award-winning husband and wife team of escape artists and illusionists who have performed some of the world’s most dangerous escape stunts, such as being locked inside burning boxes, chained and submerged underwater, and straitjacketed while dangling upside down over spikes. Always exciting performers and the Festival is lucky to have them featured.

In addition to the music on (8) eight separate live stages, there are many other attractions such as the Fairy Forest, a maypole, princesses creating their own wax hands and archery, and finally, the Dragon Hatchery, a booth selling toy dragons. The event features several vendors, and the refreshment options are plentiful—from funnel cakes to full meals Mikaela’s Inn that sells everything from shepherd’s pie, burgers, and fish and chips to Scottish eggs, chicken tenders, and more.”

The turkey leg booth tempts visitors with “five-pound turkey legs,” meat on a stick,

And corn on the cob. A variety of sandwiches, wraps, and cheese and fruit plates are available at the sandwich shop. Additionally, vendors straight out of Scottish warrior-king Robert Bruce’s era set up shop with leather goods, artwork, wooden mugs, clothing, jewelry, toys, crowns, and more on display. Glassblowers and blacksmiths are present for live demonstrations of their craft as well as offering handmade items for sale onsite.


The festival’s opening weekend takes place June 3 and 4 and is followed by themed weekends, including Pirate & Children’s Weekend (with discounted admission for children); Viking Weekend—the time to dust off your horned helmet for a chance to win a 2024 season pass; and Tournament Weekend.


Closing weekend, also known as Celtic Weekend, takes place July 22 and 23, featuring live Celtic music, traditional dancing, and other activities. This is not the only event that the Kentucky Renaissance Fair hosts. Other events also included the Celtic Festival & Highland Games, September 16 and 17 this year, and a Charles Dickens Christmas Festival the first two weekends of December. The success of the events has led to an addition to the fall lineup; Viking Festival is planned for November 3 to 5, 2023.


The festival begins at 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 3-July 23, 2023 (Saturdays and Sundays only), at 955 Elm Street in Eminence. Tickets are available online and at the gate. Information: (502) 845-9206. The festival website has additional information, https://www.kyrenfaire.com/

Visit the website for details about themed weekends, including Pirate & Children’s Weekend, Christmas in July, and Villains and Heroes, among other themes. Watch a segment filmed for KET’s Kentucky Life television program.


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