It’s ba-aaack: The Arizona Renaissance Festival opens this weekend in Gold Canyon, and it’s celebrating 25 years of transporting modern Valley dwellers to a 16th-century English village.

Set amid desert scrub near the Superstition Mountains, the 30-acre festival cloaks itself in an Elizabethan veneer strong enough to put cactus temporarily out of mind.

From noblemen to knaves, village fools to gypsies, fairies to falconers, hundreds of costumed characters mill about, bandying English-accented “thees,” “thous,” “good morrows” and other Shakespearean-sounding words and phrases.

You’ll find 12 entertainment stages for music, comedy and acrobatics (among other amusements) and shops filled with arts, crafts and merchandise.

Attractions include live jousting tournaments in an arena, and games and rides with old-fashioned themes: Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, Piccolo Pony, The Dragon Climbing Tower, Castle Siege, the Maze and Archery Range.

There are also places to grab food and drink, from steak-on-a-stake, smoked turkey legs and crepes to wine, mead and mimosas.

If you go

What: The 25th annual Arizona Renaissance Festival

When: Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Saturdays and Sundays through March 31. Also open on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 18.

Where: East of Apache Junction at 12601 E. Highway 60, Gold Canyon

Cost: Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5-12 if purchased in advance at Fry’s Food Stores or from the festival’s website. Tickets purchased at the gate are $2 more. Discount tickets for seniors age 60 and older are $19 and are available only at the gate.

Information: (520) 463-2600 or


To celebrate its 25th anniversary in Arizona, we are giving away 25 family packs (2 adults, 3 kids — an $80 value) at

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or

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