When Jonathan Rhys Meyers first appeared as a young King Henry VIII in The Tudors series (2007-2010) on Showtime, we got to see what Henry was like before he had all those wives, when he was first married to Catherine of Aragon of Spain. Now the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire has brought its own version of the young king to life. This weekend, Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3, the faire will open its gates as King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine come to visit the English shire of Mount Hope (Mount Hope Winery & Estate in Manheim) after a diplomatic mission in France, where the king brokered a treaty between France and Charles V (The Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain). While the royal couple is hoping for a relaxing respite from their travels, there is never a dull moment in this shire. What say you? Long Live the King!
The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, open every Saturday and Sunday from Aug. 2 to Oct. 26 (also on Labor Day Monday) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., offers a trip back in time to 1525 to a small English village, where festivities are underway for the royal visit. There is enough entertainment for the whole family with song, swordplay and theatrical performances at the many open-air stages. Your nipperkins will enjoy the Amazing Maze, Gaming Village and Human Chess Match. All guests are encouraged to dress as the locals do in proper Renaissance attire.
When you need a break from all the shows, stroll through the village and browse the wares of all the merchants and handcraft artisans who have set up shop. You can even purchase real swords and shields from an authentic blacksmith.
Also, don’t be surprised if the French ambassador shows up and causes some intrigue. You’ll need to pick sides during the Human Chess Match and the Ultimate Joust as King Henry VIII attempts to protect his throne.
The King and Queen have deemed it so that there should be special themed weekends throughout their stay and so there shall. In August, all time travelers and lovers of the fictions of science are welcome during Time Travelers Weekend Saturday, Aug. 9 and Sunday, Aug. 10. There will be an adult costume exhibition, so get creative!
The following weekend, Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17, is for the lovers. During Chivalry and Romance Weekend, you can participate in a Renewal of Love Ceremony, a Wooing Contest and a Men In Tights Competition. How are your calves, gentleman?
Pyrates will be invading the shire Saturday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 24, so prepare for some high jinks. Enroll your kids in the Pyrate School for Nipperkins, where they will learn how to speak and fight like a pyrate and then they can participate in the Four Corners Pyrate Treasure Hunt.
For a full schedule of themed weekends, visit here. Who said history can’t be fun?