A Guide to King Richard’s Faire 2015

At New England’s longest-running Renaissance fair, join the good king for a season of jousting, revelry, and—of course—giant turkey legs.

What sorcery is this? For the next two months, a wooded glade in Carver, MA, transforms into the enchanted forest of “Carvershire” for King Richard’s Faire, the longest-running Renaissance fair in New England. Every weekend, throngs of creatively anachronistic corset-and-chainmail-clad festgoers (and plenty of plainclothes folk) descend upon the ‘Shire, where they can gnaw on giant turkey legs, hurl axes, and buy swords, ocarinas, and capes from the Artisans of the Realm. In short, it’s some of the most glorious people-watching this side of Comic Con.

Every year, you can see jousters, firebreathers, and even Jacques Ze Whipper (who happens to be the whip-cracking alter ego of WBUR reporter Jack Lepiarz). But for the 2015 season, they’ve added some new acts to the lineup, including jugglers Squire of the Wire, acrobats Topsy Turvey, stilt-walking storyteller Baba Yaga, and aerial-silk artists Draiku.

In addition to the regular roster of medieval madness, they’ve also got special events lined up for every weekend. Here’s what the good King Richard and his court have planned for us this year.

Cleavage Contest
Saturday, September 12, 4 p.m.

The stag weekend’s afoot, and the corsets are out—it’s the annual Cleavage Contest, where the comely maidens of the kingdom compete for the title of “Most Authentic 16th-Century Renaissance Dress Revealing Cleavage,” “Most Buxom Wench,” and “Most Daring Neckline.” And hark, ye gentle bachelors: Want to show the rest of the realm that you’re a soon-to-be-hitched knight errant? It’s all about the heraldry—or, as the Faire folk put it: “Wear green to be seen!”

Vow Renewal
Saturday, September 19, 4 p.m.

There are many ways you can shower your beloved in affection at King Richard’s Faire—snuggling up on a ride, buying a wax-dipped rose, sharing one of ye olde funnel cakes. But this weekend goes full-on Roman de la Rose, with their vow renewal event—where the first 25 married couples who sign up can renew their wedding vows with Lord Percival Dégagée. Disclaimer: “The ceremony is not legally binding and is meant for the sole enjoyment of those participating.”

Game of Thrones Trivia/Costume Contest
Saturday, September 26, 4 p.m.

All together now: “Winter is coming.” But rest assured, Carvershire is a White Walker-free zone, where the folk of Westeros may instead turn their attentions to other matters. This weekend, Starks, Lannisters, and Valyrians can duke it out with other GoT fans, competing for the Iron Throne in an epic battle of wits and pedantry hosted by Disruptor Beam, developers of Game of Thrones Ascent.

Prince and Princess Promenade
Saturday, October 3, 4 p.m.

Don’t be modest: This weekend’s all about flaunting your noble blood, with all guests invited to traipse through the fairgrounds garbed in scepter, crown, and ermine. And it’s not just the adults who are encouraged to flash their regal bling. The first 50 children (11 years and younger) who sign up for the Promenade “will be instructed in the code of chivalry and the gracious art of courtly manners.” There are prizes for all—but only a select few will be chosen to stand upon the Royal Dais with King Richard.

The Highland Hunks Contest
Saturday, October 10, 4 p.m.

The swoon index is sure to be high, when the Highland Hunks Contest comes to the Faire. All the ‘Shire’s greatest specimens of masculinity are invited to compete, with prizes awarded for “Best Kilt,” “Most Muscular,” and “Best Representation of Tartan Colors.”

Children’s Fairies and Pirates Parade
Saturday, October 17, 4 p.m.

Calling all Tinkerbells and Captain Hooks: At Family Fun Weekend, 50 creatively attired kiddies can show off their swashbuckling and/or spritely sides with this costume pageant for ages 11 and under. Contestants who “best display the look and skill of either Pirate or Fairy” win a special prize.

Adult Costume Contest
Saturday, October 24, 4 p.m.

With All Hallow’s Eve creeping up, King Richard’s Faire must come to a close—but not without going out with a bang. The folks who sign up for this contest are in it to win it, and the competition is fierce. At stake: glory, honor, and riches, as winners in each category receive not only a spot among on the Royal Dais during a joust, but also four tickets to the 2016 King Richard’s Faire and a $50 restaurant gift card. And for the grand finale, join the Carvershire cast for the “Final Drum Jam,” featuring “the pounding rhythm of majestic drums.”

King Richard’s Faire runs every weekend through October 25; $29 adults, $16 children (children under age 3 get in free); Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 235 Main St., Carver, 508-866-5391, kingrichardsfaire.net.