Review: 2016 Ohio Renaissance Festival

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There are only so many ways to travel back in time or to another place. Sure our family travels a lot and gets to experience different places and cultures. However, getting to really dive into another worldly experience gets tougher.

One could visit the various comic convention style events taking place each weekend around the country, but then you would just be dressing up and hanging out with like minded individuals in a hotel convention hall. The experience lacks the all encompassing environment.

You could also take a trip to any Disney theme park and experience the incredible storytelling and environment, but that comes at a substantial price.

However, a hidden gem in the heart of Ohio is the Renaissance Festival. Visiting the Ohio Renaissance Festival is more than just dressing up and going to your local fairgrounds for a weekend get-together. The entire property was specifically built for the annual event that takes place on the weekends between the beginning of September until the end of October.

You enter the grounds through the facade of a medieval castle, and if you are lucky enough to be there at park opening, you will be greeted with a show.

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Once inside the walls of the castle, you travel back into time with not only actors dressed in traditional medieval clothing, but also the guests take the time to play the role of elves, fairies, knights, and townspeople. The Ohio Renaissance Festival is people watching at its finest.

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You will also experience shops selling everything from weapons (real and kid friendly versions), food, jewelry, to musical instruments. There are medieval style kid rides and games throughout the property. Our favorite part is the variety of shows that take place at various stages throughout the property.

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During the 2015 Ohio Renaissance Festival, we enjoyed the Mud Show on a particularly cold day. This year we opted to enjoy the Wash Show.

Two women set out on a journey to find a suitable mate for her sister and not only is the show funny, but you might will get wet if YOU do not put on a good show.

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We love the Ohio Renaissance Festival, but do keep in mind everyone there working is an independent contractor. Therefore, the actors in the shows reach out for tips. Everyone walking around selling stuff from pretzels to fairy experiences are looking to get paid just like you might experience back in the medieval days.

While the Ohio Renaissance Festival is a great time, and you can experience it without all the extras, the cost can add up very quickly since everything there is an additional cost. Bring cash as some vendors may not accept credit cards.

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We hope you get a chance to experience the Ohio Renaissance Festival, as it is well worth the time to walk the grounds and really indulge in what it might have been like to live during the medieval days. Also plan out which weekend you would like to visit, as there are various themes taking place throughout the duration of the event.

Website – Ohio Renaissance Festival
When: September 3-October 23, 2016

Tickets are $21.95 (adult) and $9.95 (child); however, tickets are discounted when purchasing online. Plus, save $4 per ticket through the US Family Guides website.

You can also purchase reduced tickets on Groupon starting at $14.75 each on select days.

Link: Ohio Renaissance Festival Tickets (affiliate link)

We were provided tickets to visit the Ohio Renaissance Festival, but all opinions are those of the author.

Review: Lego Brick Universe (Columbus, Ohio)

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My parents always taught me that you should always learn something from the experiences you do in life. So I live with that mantra on a daily basis and strive for greatness and learning from my mistakes.

Growing up, I was quite fortunate that my parents bought me quite a few Lego playsets throughout my childhood. I quickly learned to appreciate the brick and always took care of my Lego, making sure they carefully got taken apart and placed back within their boxes.

One of my favorite memories as a kid was when I went away for 5th grade camp, only to return to see my parents and sister took the better part of the week putting together every single one of my Lego sets to build a huge city. It was wonderful and awe inspiring to see them all together at the same time.

Today, all of my childhood Lego sets are tucked away neatly in their boxes and stored in my basement. It was not until I met my wife’s father that I began to once again appreciate those little bricks. Then after having 3 sons of our own, I now get to see my kids eyes light up every time they go to my father-in-laws and want to go into his basement so they can play with his huge Lego train layout and village.

While my kids continue to grow their own Lego collections, as they age, I will eventually break out my sets and show them.

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Brick Universe

Our family was recently invited to attend Brick Universe in Columbus, Ohio, which is taking place August 20-21, 2016. Our only prior experience to going to a Lego convention was that to the Lego Kidsfests when it visited Cleveland a number of years ago. Our kids were also substantially younger and had less of an appreciation for Lego at the time.

Going into the Lego Brick Universe event, I had no expectations other than to have a great time with our kids. However, I quickly learned that some of the questions I had prior were answered at the event, as well as I had new ones among the mountain of plastic cities.

For example, I always wondered why Lego never built military sets. It always seemed like a massive target audience. However, upon entry to the hall, you were presented with HUGE military displays of war ships, tanks, and battle scenes, of course all made out of Lego.

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What I come to find out is that everything was custom made, as Lego will not make violent sets. So a private company has taken to making custom sets, mini-figures, and weapons for use in creating war scenes. The ingenuity was quite spectacular!

Along the same “violence” lines, we overheard the story behind the really expensive mini-figures, specifically the DeadPool character. Apparently Lego created the DeadPool mini-figure, only to find out once the movie was created that it was an R rated film. Since they did not want tied to a deadly character, they pulled him from shelves, thus creating scarcity. Kinda interesting and something we did not know.

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As we walked around the hall, we were presented with spectacular scenes of buildings and vehicles, and everything these creative geniuses could conjure up out of Lego bricks. It really was quite spectacular and made us wonder not only how much time and money went into creating each scene, but how they went about transporting such elaborate buildings and such, often without gluing the pieces together like some master builders.

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Through all the questions, we sorta got lost in the moment and ended up spending hours and hours at the Brick Universe event, being nearly the last guests to leave the hall. It was not because it was so large and overwhelming, but because we got lost in the moment. The outside world was behind us as we spent time sitting at tables building elaborate Lego dreams coming out of our children’s minds and coming to fruition at various tables throughout the convention hall. Or because our boys would go round and round the various displays seeing what new items they could discover.

The experience was a chance to relive our own Lego childhood memories while letting our kids build their own. For that, we are thankful!

Our family was provided with tickets to attend the Brick Universe event as well as given a family four pack of tickets that we gave away during pre-promotion of the event.

Reasons to Bring the Family to the Ohio Renaissance Festival

One of our family’s favorite surprise adventures last year was visiting the 2015 Ohio Renaissance Festival.

Forget your cares and step back in time to this 30-acre re-created 16th Century English village and enjoy over 400 years of fun in a single day! The festival offers something for everyone featuring nearly 100 shows daily on 11 stages, over 135 unique arts and crafts shops, hearty food and drink, games of skill and human-powered rides to amuse all ages.

Over 150 costumed characters welcome you to the village! Rub elbows with Royalty as you cheer your favorite knight to victory in the thrilling Full-armored Tournament Joust. Welcoming you to a festive day in the village are dueling swordsmen, rowdy pirates, nobles, peasants, and daring jugglers. The sprawling landscape is dotted with hundreds of unique shops in the Medieval Marketplace featuring many one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items. See time-honored crafts of glassblowing, stone carving, blacksmithing, leather tooling, boot making, and more demonstrated. The air is filled with the scents and smells of the foods of the Renaissance period. Feast like Royalty on juicy, giant roasted turkey legs, fresh baked bread bowls overflowing with soups and stews, fish ‘n chips, steak-on-a-stake, succulent roasted corn on the cob and a wide variety of the finest ales and wines. There’s something for everyone’s taste buds!

The food was quite honestly terrific!

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Visitors of all ages will be amused by the games of skill and human-powered rides. Try your hand at archery and see if you’re a modern-day Robin Hood, or climb the castle tower and rescue the lovely damsel in distress.

Everything from live entertainment to dressing up fit perfectly into our three young boys lives! They loved the Ohio Renaissance Festival and the reason we will be returning again for 2016!

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Ohio Renaissance Festival Discounts

Get $4 off Adult and $2 off Child tickets by using Promo Code “castle” when purchasing on our secure website at www.renfestival.com. Tickets good any day of the 2016 season (Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Sept 3 – Oct 23). Online discount only. Not good with any other offers.