By Tara Bennett
Hark ye gentle readers! It is now November, and with it comes once more the Louisiana Renaissance Festival (LARF). Only a short drive from Baton Rouge to Hammond, LARF is a must-see for everyone Capital City resident – at least once in your life. For a newcomer with no prior expectations of what a themed event of this scale is like, the festival has a lot to take in, but we have the top five must-see attractions at this year’s festival.
Paolo Garbanzo is a special treat to new and returning guests of LARF. Garbanzo is the 2007-2008 winner of The International Jester Competition, making him an official Jester of Muncaster Castle. He’s the first American in history to be an official Jester of an English castle. And you’ll be able to see just how Garbanzo earned his title. Watch him as he juggles swords on the ball of death, breathes fire, and catches flaming torches from audience members.
The joust is good and all, but if you want to see real combat, look no further than Ordo Procinctus. These guys are a full contact, armored combat group who train in multiple fighting styles, armed and unarmed, and put everything to the test in the ring. There is no stage combat when it comes to this show. Everything is real, especially the hits to the head.
If there is one show you must see, then it is the comedic stylings of the Tortuga Twins. This three-man comedy act is a major hit each year at LARF with audience members spilling out of the Painted Badger Pub just to be able to get a glimpse. Needless to say, get your seat ahead of time. While each show is hilarious, be sure to stay for the last show of the day, which is the R-rated show where hilarity and debauchery ensue. A perfect way to end your day at the festival.
You don’t have to wear a costume to the festival, but honestly, there aren’t enough opportunities in everyday life to dress up and talk with a fake accent, so why not go all out? Don’t have anything to wear? There are a ton of shops where you can purchase clothing, head adornments, weapons, staffs, footwear, jewelry and more to transform yourself into a princess or a peasant. Beyond wearable goods, there are ample opportunities for interesting services, including fortune-telling, henna and hair-braiding.
Of course there’s food. It doesn’t get more festive than tearing meat off the bone with your teeth while watching falcons fly overhead during the falconry demonstration. Beyond offerings of giant turkey legs, there are several baked goods and a decent amount of deep-fried deliciousness. You’re guaranteed to leave with a full belly.
LARF celebrates six themed weekends; upcoming are Heroes & Pirates on Nov 8-9, Celtic Weekend on Nov 15-16, Romance & Princess Bride on Nov 22-23, Time Travelers & Family Friday on Nov 28-29-30 and the Fireworks Finale on Dec 6-7.
LARF is open rain or shine on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Adult admission is $18; children age’s six to 12 are $10, and children under six are free with a paying adult. Find more information at www.larf.net.