I love immersing myself into other time periods and cultures, no matter where I travel. If you do too, and you like English history, then the Bristol Renaissance Faire on the Wisconsin/Illinois border is for you! The faire is 30 minutes from Milwaukee and about 50 minutes from Chicago, and it is open weekends mostly in July and August.
Imagine stepping back in time to see the town of Bristol, England in 1574. There is a festival occuring, celebrating the arrival of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, and everyone around has come to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle! How exciting and merry!
You can spend a whole day here, exploring the village shops, eating wonderful food, and viewing the entertainment. It is simply magical! What specifically makes the faire great? Below are my top reasons to visit the faire.
The Mud Show
There is a vast variety of characters at the Bristol faire, and those at the “bottom of the rung,” AKA the beggars, are just as entertaining (actually moreso) than those considered above them in station. The men who host the mud show are sassy and hilarious, with just the right amount of crudity. Get to the show a bit early and sit closer to get better photos than I did, but just beware that something might happen to you if you sit too close to these uninhibited men…
Variety of Food
If you spend all day here, you will get hungry. Which will not be a problem, because the food and beverage choices are excellent! They have some more period-authentic options, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free delights.
The Bristol Renaissance Faire is very popular, and there will be large crowds there; but it’s okay, because it’s so fun to see everyone’s costumes! The actors all take great care to source authentic wardrobes, and there is a wonderful variety of “classes” represented.
But the customers have lots of fun with it too! It’s quite common to show up in costume, and no one shames you if you are not authentic.
It’s pretty easy to suspend your disbelief at the Bristol Renaissance Faire and pretend for the day that you really are visiting 1574 England, and that is down to the execution of detail.
The actors maintain their accents even when not talking to patrons; their costumes are authentically made; the buildings all look like English village buildings; they give pardons if you accidentally wear purple (the queen’s color), and it goes on. Their attention to detail is amazing and appreciated.
Need I say more?
Check out the Bristol Renaissance Faire website for more info if you go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do every year!