A Renaissance Festival is a wonderful mix of entertainment with a splash of history that colours the festivities. As you walk into the gate, we hope that you will feel that you have visited a small village festival in the heart of Oxfordshire, England, in the middle of the 1500s. Some people choose to dress the part – we love it when you dress up and play along – but you can come as you are if you so choose – just dress for the weather! Throughout your day, you will have an opportunity to enjoy live music, stage shows, interactive renaissance characters, and a host of renaissance styled vendors who make up our village. It is a music show, live theatre, fine arts, food, fun, and history all wrapped up in a single visit! Bring the kids, or come without – we endeavor to have something that will entertain everyone at the Oxford Renaissance Festival!
The small village of Wolvercote is once again anticipating a visit from the Queen and her chosen courtiers. This is the sixth year in a row that the Queen has visited, and one would think that the village knows well what to do – but there seems to be a sense of desperation in the air. The people of Wolvercote have been placed in a very precarious position – and there is no easy way out!
The year is 1567 – and the topic on everyone’s mind is the succession. Queen Elizabeth has disbanded Parliament so that she need not address the issue – however her councilors continue to press her to marry and produce an heir so that there may be no doubt in the land as to who should succeed. Hoping to encourage a royal marriage by any means possible, William Cecil, chief Councilor to her Majesty has sent word that if the village of Wolvercote wishes to remain as a stop along the queen’s progress, they must find a way to help soften the Queen’s heart.
Wolvercote has no choice but to comply – to lose the income generated by the Queen’s visit would be disastrous. On the other hand, to lose the favour of the Queen herself would be catastrophic! After much deliberation, discussion, and worry, the village has decided to set a theme of “Courtly Love” for their annual festival. They hope that the medieval romanticism that celebrates the unconsummated love between a chivalrous knight and a virtuous lady will appeal to the Queen while satisfying the demands of her council. To this end, the village will be full of displays of chivalrous romance – impromptu contests of compliments, troubadours, poem a grams, and more!
The Oxford Renaissance Festival has been in operation since 2013. We began our adventure at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, and moved to the Dorchester Fairgrounds in 2016. Ontario has been host to a series of similarly themed festivals for many years, and we are proud to carry on the tradition of celebrating history, live music & entertainment, and artistic endeavors. The Oxford Renaissance Festival is pleased to partner with many fine organizations in order to provide opportunities and culture to the surrounding regions.
Our “Big Event” is the Festival Days a weekend of fun held June – 2 full days of entertainment, open to the public. Most people plan to stay for several hours, enjoying a meal in our pub, and filling their day with all live opportunities to play along or watch the action. Live music, demonstrations, stage acts, and jousting will give you plenty of renaissance to experience! There are games to play, a storyline to follow, and you could even meet the Queen! On Saturday night the pub stays open after the gates close – and you can party with us with live music all night and our special selection of Renaissance styled beverages, including cider, beer, Mead, and more! Don’t delay – get your tickets now!
School Trip – The Oxford Renaissance Festival is also open for an end of year field trip – The Friday (and Thursday if we get booked up!) before the festival is open for registered school groups to attend an Education Day where groups rotate through learning pods and find out more about Renaissance England. We tend to teach about the ancient sports of falconry, jousting, armed combat; trades such as blacksmithing, and Renaissance fashion, and manners. The day is designed for Grades 1 – 8, with discounts for schools that register early and bring more than one class. Find out more on the “Education Days” Tab.
Throughout the year, you may find Special Events put on by the Oxford Renaissance Festival – In the past we have hosted feasts, a masquerade ball, and movie nights. Follow us on Facebook to stay on top of all the best events!