Get thee to Edson Renaissance Faire
Who hasn’t imagined what it would be like living in medieval times, when bards played, mead flowed and swordplay was the era’s most popular sport? Well, quit daydreaming: at the Edson Renaissance Faire this summer you can experience a full weekend of medieval living, live in person—without the threat of being challenged to a duel (unless you wish!).
Among the highlights of the event, there’s a VIP Sneak Peek featuring a renaissance feast and concert, leather and metal working, heavy armour demonstrations and a costume contest that encourages everyone to dress in their best medieval finery.
So break out the bronze chest plates, leather jerkins and kirtles, and head to Edson July 21 - 23, 2023 for the first annual Edson Renaissance Faire!
In places like Edson, a rural Alberta town with a population of around 8000, new events often come about as the result of a few people with a dream and a lot of hard work. One of the differences in Edson, however, is a longstanding community tradition of supporting the arts.
Through the local non-profit arts group CANOE (Community Arts Network of Edson), those medieval dreamers became doers.
“It’s really cool to create something really fun where people can go and be kids, adults don’t get the chance to play any more and we all need to get out and pretend, explore new worlds and do something fascinating and different,” says Diana Inscho, with the Town of Edson, and the Town’s liaison to CANOE.
“ComicCons have really taken off, so there’s a thirst for that kind of a fun event where you pretend to be something else.”
For the historians, authentic reenactment and cosplay types in the audience, to be accurate: this would be the latter part of the medieval period, between about the 14th and 17th centuries where it overlaps the Renaissance. For the rest, think Princess Bride.
And yes, if you wish, you could take part in a duel, adds Inscho. “We’re planning to have a “Fight the Knight” feature where you can sign up to experience battling a knight—safely, of course.”
Guild members of the Red Stags of Red Deer, a LARP (live action role players) group, will be on hand to facilitate some of the fun, as well as the Drayton Valley Horde.
Ready to duel?
Other hands-on activities that will be part of the weekend include archery, participatory quests (with actors/hosts) and a medieval marketplace with over 20 vendors showcasing glass, leather and metal work, textiles, distilleries and mead. (Can you ever really have enough mead?)
With prizes offered for best costumes, you can also vie for bragging rights. Or trade your homemade trinkets, barter style, through the weekend.
And if you want to live like the nobility, be sure to get in on the VIP Sneak Peek on the Friday night, featuring Celtic band The Borch Brothers. And yes, there will be abundant mead!
above: Brent Ames, Knights of the Northern Realm
WHEN YOU GO
While in Edson for the weekend of the fair, make some time to get out and explore as well!
Edson is home to two golf courses, Galloway Station Museum (with an awesome natural history and mining/natural resources collection), a big skatepark and, just beyond town, Wilmore Park.
Where to stay, eat and play in Edson
For more info on where to stay, where to eat and more things to do, check out the Town of Edson’s visitor information.
Driving times & directions
From Edmonton: 2h, via AB-16W
From Red Deer: 4h, via AB-11W to AB-22N, then AB-16W