We get the "Wenches Weekend" and the turkey legs. In the Florida Renaissance Festival's enduring drive for authenticity, some period elements at the multi-weekend event in Deerfield Beach are necessary: curvy, bodacious bodices, jousting on horseback and, yes, animal meat on a stick.
But a St. Patrick's Day weekend? A Time Travelers weekend? What say ye, festival founder Bobby Rodriguez? "We take certain liberties for the sake of entertainment," the organizer admits with a laugh. "On Facebook, 98 percent wanted a steampunk-y weekend. The other 2 percent made this cheeky comment, like, 'Oh, sure, let's time-travel to the 18th century. There was technically a Renaissance then!' "
The 21st edition of the festival is expanding to six weekends this year at Quiet Waters Park, prompted, Rodriguez says, by a so-called "tremendous outpouring of support" on Facebook and the festival's website. Saturday and Sunday will offer a wine-and-chocolate-filled Romance Weekend, followed by a Pirates Weekend (Feb. 16-18); the aforementioned Wenches (Feb. 23-24) and Time Travelers (March 2-3) weekends; the Explorers weekend, celebrating the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's arrival in Florida (March 9-10); and St. Patrick's Day weekend (March 16-17).
Rodriguez says the festival will feature the premiere of new stage performers, some with outrageous cockney accents. They include Buckle and Swash, a comedic sword-fighting duo, and the R-rated camp from female twosome Iris and Rose.
The Florida Renaissance Festival returns 10 a.m. to sunset each weekend from Feb. 9 to March 17. $7-$20 daily, $65 for season pass. 800-373-6337 or Ren-Fest.com.