KENOSHA, Wis. – It's 1599. The weather is warm, the crowds are friendly, and the scents of cooking food fill the air making stomachs growl. This is the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
When visitors enter the gates of the 30-acre faire, they realize immediately this is different. While most people around them are dressed in modern clothing, others are in the garb of days gone by or fanciful realms. Sometimes it's difficult to tell who is part of the faire and who is "just visiting."
Once through the gates, expect to be called "milord" or "milady" at least once. Set aside the life of fast cars and phones and absorb a quieter pace. Or is it quieter? Something always is going on at the faire.
Every weekend, children can take part in the Kids Quest for $5. Designed for those 4 to 10, the quests involve looking for treasure daily at 2 and 4 p.m. at the RenQuest Camp. Each time period offers a different quest.
Do not despair, adults. Try one of the stage shows. "2 Merry Men 7 Deadly" Sins, rated R, has Robin Hood and Little John spinning the Wheel of Sin and singing for a show of music and comedy. More choices suitable for families await.
Pirates even get into the picture here. Bluebeard's Pressgang Pageant offers an opportunity to be interviewed by Capt. Bluebeard for a spot in his crew on stage. As they say at the faire, "Interested parties will be interviewed live (as opposed to the alternative)." The new crew will receive a certificate.
Music, comedy, drama and dancing can be found on the stages and the fairgrounds. The problem is not in finding something to do; it's in choosing what to do. Featured throughout the day are a bounty of shoppes, a variety of food and drink, and plenty of games and rides.
One of the most popular shows is the jousting. It's best to get there early to get a good place to watch.
With regard to food, forget an everyday hamburger and branch out. Look for fish 'n chips, pizza pyes, turkey drumsticks, shepherd's pye, shrimp tempura, golden grilled pineapple, and monkey tails (chocolate-covered bananas on a stick).
Also keep an eye open for the queen. Queen Elizabeth will be there in regal splendor. That's Elizabeth Tudor, by the way. Have a bow or curtsy ready to impress the court.
If you go
What: Bristol Renaissance Faire.
Where: 12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, Wisconsin.
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 5 through Sept. 1.
Cost: Adults $23.95, children 5-12 $11.50, 4 and younger free; online tickets are $21.95 for adults and $10 for children. Military and senior discounts are available.
Parking: Free to the far north of the entrance; preferred parking lot is $5. Handicapped parking is available in the preferred lot.
Information and tickets: Go to renfair.com/bristol/ or call 847-395-7773.