Ladies and gentlemen, have at your turkey legs.
The massive clubs of meat return Saturday along with everything else people love about the Arizona Renaissance Festival — a merry and slightly madcap fete that goes on for eight consecutive weekends in the desert east of Apache Junction.
The 30-acre village, full of thatch-roofed pubs and storybook-styled shops, opens at 10 a.m. with a cast of 2,000 costumed actors ready to draw visitors into the temporary fantasy. Royals, villagers, shopkeeps, craftsmen, fairies and a man who looks like a tree roam the grounds.
Meanwhile, 12 stages feature performances all day long — from fire-juggling and comedy to swordfighting and falconry — and a 4,500-seat arena hosts jousting between knights on horseback. There are also rides.
Our advice? Wear comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen, and dig in for a day full of interacting with characters, taking in live shows, browsing shops and washing down those much-loved turkey legs with mead.
Check out the festival’s website for print-at-home tickets, a schedule of special event days and reservations for The Pleasure Feast, a five-course medieval-style meal with live music and comedy entertainment available for an extra fee.
DETAILS >> 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 1. Also open Feb. 20. Arizona Renaissance Festival grounds, on U.S. Highway 60 east of Apache Junction. $20 for adults, $10 for kids ages 5-12 when purchased in advance at Fry’s Food Stores; tickets at festival gates cost $2 more. $19 tickets for seniors age 60 and older are available at the festival box office. Free parking. (520) 463-2700 or www.renfestinfo.com.