Joust the Two Of Us: 7 Pet-Friendly Renaissance Festivals

Posted by Billy Francis

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Renaissance Festivals celebrate the pomp, pageantry and customs of medieval times. It was the era of kings, courts, knights and bards. The world we live in today is thanks, in part, to inventions from this period of artistic, cultural and economic rebirth in the Western world. Who knows, there might never have been a BringFido blog without the creation of the printing press! Celebrate the traditions of yesteryear with your leashed pup at one of these pet-friendly Renaissance fairs.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Shakopee, MN
“You know when I said I wanted to go home … I was only jesting!” Photo by @mnrenaissance

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is the largest celebration of its type in the United States. Join more than 300,000 visitors for a fun-filled event that celebrates the jousting, sword fights and pageantry of the fondly remembered period. Bring Fido on a tour of the mock community full of knights and fair maidens reenacting scenes from the past. He can drool from the sidelines as you both watch the Scotch Egg Eating Competition.

Four-legged visitors get the royal treatment at Pet Fest at Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Athletic canines are invited to enter a Wiener Dog, Corgi or Puppernickel Race. For those pups not built for the track, there’s the Peanut Butter Licking Playoffs. Or, Fido can don his favorite cloak and jerkin in preparation for the Doggy Dress Up Contest. Pet Fest is a two-day event, so be sure to book a night at a nearby pet-friendly hotel. The AmericInn Shakopee is only 10 minutes away by car.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival takes place on weekends from August 17 to September 29. The canine entry fee is $10-$15 per dog. Dogs enter for half price during Pet Fest. Pups are not permitted at the Feast of Fantasy. Read the rules and fill out the form before bringing Fido along.

Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Manheim, PA
I knight thee ... Sir Fido of BringFidington! Photo by

Noble dogs of the northeast, you are summoned by the royal palace of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire to enjoy costumed characters, live music, dancing and attractions at this year’s historic gathering. More than 90 stage shows provide entertainment including jousting, human chess and lively jesters. While you’re here, swing by the Legend of the Black Shuck Trunk Show. This pet-friendly show recounts the eerie tale of one of England’s most haunting creatures, a demon dog that prowls the countryside. And don’t miss the husband and wife duo, Circus Stella, who perform astounding tricks with their highly trained rescue pups throughout the faire. You might not fit all of that fun into one day, so book a room in advance at a pet-friendly hotel in Manheim.

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire will be held on weekends from August 3 through October 27. The entry fee is $5 for advance bookings and $10 on the event day. Dog passes must be purchased and required forms submitted 10 business days prior to your visit.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Bonner Springs, KS
“I didn’t know goggles were a Renaissance invention.” Photo by Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Hear ye, hear ye ... the Kansas City Renaissance Festival is pet friendly! Dress your pooch up in her best Renaissance attire and join in the fun at this colorful event located 15 minutes west of downtown Kansas City. Dogs are welcome to get their paws dirty among the village peasants throughout the festival, but the royal red carpet is officially rolled out for canine guests during Barbarians at the Gate – Fur & Fury at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. The pet celebration features a nail-biting sprint to the finish line in the Corgi Race, a dog costume contest and even a best trick competition to show off your pup's favorite moves in front of the crowds.

Make the most of the dog-friendly event with a weekend stay at the nearby Lucid Loft at Speakeasy KC. Fans of Bill Murray can sit at his bar and share stories of their medieval adventures.

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival will be held on weekends from August 31 through October 14. The canine entry fee is $10-$15 per dog. Dogs enter for half price during the Barbarians at the Gate – Fur & Fury weekend. Read the rules and fill out the form before bringing Fido along.

Michigan Renaissance Festival

Holly, MI
“Tell me again, who did you borrow this outfit from?” Photo by @lavishlabradors

Each year, the Michigan Renaissance Festival transforms the fields around the sleepy town of Holly into a bustling 16th Century village, attracting approximately 250,000 excited revelers from the surrounding states and Canada. You can stride heroically through the faux European settlement with your trusty pooch and admire the rows of craftspeople at work.

Dogs are always welcome at the festival, but the best time to visit is during Pirates & Pets Weekend at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. This pet-centric event showcases rescue groups, offers pet training demonstrations and hosts wiener dog races. Fido is invited to enter the costume contest for dapper dogs and join the royal King Charles Spaniels in the dignified pet parade. Half of the canine admission fees collected during Pirates & Pets Weekend is donated to Detroit Dog Rescue. If your royal hound wants to stick around in medieval times, spend the weekend in Holly at the Flint/Holly KOA.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival is held on weekends from August 17 to September 29. The canine entry fee is $10-$15 per dog. Season passes are also available for $50. Read the rules and fill out the form before bringing Fido along.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Tampa, FL
Lord Slobbering of Bay Area. Photo by @bayarearenfest

Your hosts, King Henry and Queen Katherine Parr, invite you and your furry companion to join in the festivities at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. The event features stages with live entertainment, 100 market stalls full of handcrafted items and memorable characters roaming the village streets or jousting in full armor. Dogs are welcome throughout the festival but are the guests of honor for one weekend at the Pirates & Pets Weekend at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. The tail-wagging celebration include rescue groups, K9 agility teams, wiener dog races and pirate costume contests with an accompanying pirate-themed performance by the Ultimate Air Dogs.

When your pirate gets sleepy, he can retire to his pet-friendly quarters at the Westin Tampa Bay. Dogs are provided with bowls, treats and a bed fit for a King!

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival will be held on weekends from February 16 through March 31. The canine entry fee is $10-$15 per dog. Dogs are not permitted at the Feast of Fantasy event. Read the rules and fill out the form before bringing Fido along.

St. Louis Renaissance Festival

St. Louis, MO
“To pee or not to pee.” Photo by @stlrenfest

Fido, Fido, wherefore art thou, Fido? He's at the St. Louis Renaissance Festival, a makeshift village near Wentzville, MO. The event is packed full of artisan market stalls, traditional and modern food, street performers juggling and Washing Well Wenches cracking jokes and spinning yarns of yesteryear. Bring your dog along to Pets, Pirates & Ale at the St. Louis Renaissance Festival. Competitive pups of all breeds and fitness levels can enter Wiener Dog Races, Corgi Races, Peanut Butter Licking Contests and more. Sniff out an outfit for your pooch and let him strut his stuff with the other lords and ladies of the canine realm. Pets, Pirates & Ale takes place over a weekend, so make sure to book a night's stay at a nearby pet-friendly vacation rental.

The St. Louis Renaissance Festival will be held on weekends from September 14 through October 14. The canine entry fee is $10-$15 per dog. Read the rules and fill out the form before bringing Fido along.

Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow

Des Moines, IA
“You can have your hat back when I get more peanut butter!” Photo by

Located on the outskirts of Des Moines, the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow is a vibrant blast from the past. Each year, the festival welcomes a wide variety of animal companions from bearded dragons and ferrets to dogs. The full street cast might even make your pet part of their story. Her Royal Majesty, Queen Catherine, is very fond of dogs and has been known to knight the ones she finds especially gallant. The fairies and gypsies invite two- and four-legged visitors into dancing circles and vendors often leave bowls of water out to keep pets hydrated. After soaking up the atmosphere, join the other regal pups for the main event, the Puppies of Penzance–Pirate Puppy Show. This energetic dog show takes audiences on a jolly trip aboard a pirate ship manned by highly trained sea dogs. Plan for a weekend of fun and reserve a night in one of these pet-friendly properties in Des Moines.

The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow will be held on weekends from August 31 through September 15. Pups attend for free. Dog owners must sign a waiver. The Puppies of Penzance–Pirate Puppy Show takes place during the first weekend of the festival.

Have you attended a Renaissance Festival with your dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!