The Virginia Renaissance Faire

To add even more adventure to our blog, this time we went a little far from our designated area; we went to the Virginia’s Abandoned Renaissance Faire.

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It is located Route 3, Fredericksburg, and VA US. Its location is also known as “Sherwood Forest” as the locals call it. The now abandoned Renaissance Faire was once one of the most successful renaissance fairs and people really liked it.

The land of Virginia Renaissance Faire was once owned by George Washington’s Mother, Mary Ball Washington, at the time where the Washingtons owned more than half of the DC!!

How it all started:

Renaissance Entertainment Corp purchased the land for 3 million dollars and started the faire. It started operation in 1996. And it attracted a lot of people and was very successful at the beginning. Here was how it looked like from the period 1996 – 1999:

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The Faire is not your typical costumed entertainers and fairgoers or English accent; it is much more than that. It has several tents, commercial and non-commercial booths and wide array of activities, all presented in order to “relive the 16th century” and feel the old era’s atmosphere/ environment. Among the several activities that were presented are: archery, dancing, live music, dancing, acrobats, a magic show and a puppet show for the children. As for the adults there were a vast selection of liquor, non-alcoholic drinks and food.

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After becoming one of the most successful renaissances, and a huge attraction for people to visit, it became abandoned ever since 1999. For example, they made front-page news in the paper city once they opened.

Back then, they reported their mission to be: “to provide the highest quality interactive, educational, entertainment ensuring all participants (patrons, cast, crew) not only to have fun but also to come away from each event with increased knowledge”.

However, this is not the case now.  Now it is an abandoned, neglected and deserted place.

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At first, when you arrive, you’ll find a forsaken, spooky ship sitting on trench, in the front of the area. There are several towers that are scattered all over the place, a bar with built in barrels, and a jousting arena. There is an old, decaying couch thrown between the towers.

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Also, it can be assumed that there was someone living there, because remains of a home was found (for example, a bed and sink and a mattress)

Of course, there is graffiti and vandalism everywhere.

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What actually happened after 1996?

After the first year and all the hype, the sales started declining, and it didn’t achieve the audience that the company aspired to achieve on a regular basis. Compared to the other faires, the Virginia Renaissance Faire had a lower audience volume; therefore they had low-ticket sales.

Furthermore, it was often closed because of inclement weather, which lowered ticket sales even more.

The Renaissance Entertainment Corporation was losing money, and according to the publishing of its financial statements, its biggest losses were at the Virginia Renaissance Faire.

Therefore, they decided to close the Faire in 1999.

The Faire moved to another location, which the company thought would be better than Fredericksburg; they moved to a place near Lake Anna State Park.

It re-opened in Spring 2001, and it’s been running each year ever since.

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Since the relocation, it attracted more than 10,000 visitors. This is a good rise since the previous location, however, compared to other fairs, it still has a low amount of audience. For instance, the Texas Faire has more than half a million audience.

Furthermore, regarding the older location in Fredericksburg, it was sold to a company called Best Medical International of Springfield for 1.3 million.

Nevertheless, it was never used as the remains of the faire are still there.

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