Michigan Renaissance Festival Survival Guide

The Michigan Renaissance Festival, or RenFest for short, runs every year from mid-August to early October. Michigan’s RenFest started in 1979 as a five-weekend event in Clarkston and is now set in its permanent location in Holly on 17-acres.  The festival features 17 stages and over 300 artisans which attracts more than 250,000 visitors. The 16th century themed festival offers more than great artisans and shows, it offers games such as full-armored jousting, Irish Heavy Game (They throw tree trunks!) and much more. With every festival, you need to be prepared, using my seven years of RenFest experience, here is what you need to know to survive the Michigan Renaissance Festival.

Coupons:

Everybody loves a discount or a hell-of-a-deal as I like to call it. The RenFest was formerly a cheap ticket as long as you brought some canned goods, but now, almost $30 a ticket for an adult. Bargainstobounty.com offered a 50 percent off deal for a limited time, looks like the offer went quick, something to watch for 2017. The festival offers four ticket outlets at Kroger, Goodwill, Walgreens and Menards, you can find a $3-off coupon at these locations along with Subways and Big Boy (coupons only). Tickets are also sold upon arrival, I suggest to bring cash for the quickness of that particular line.

DBW (Designated Backpack Wearer):

I suggest a backpack over a drawstring bag because of structure. Much of the artisans make candles, incense and glassware that can easily be moved or broken in a drawstring bag.

The RenFest offers the impulse buyer a plethora of opportunities to purchase items they don’t need, including handmade weapons! A dagger or any sort of weapon will easily rip a lightweight bag.

Empty Stomach and an Open Mind:

It’s the 16th century, so eat like it’s the 16th century! Fortunately you don’t have to hunt down some poultry. Turkey legs are massive so grab ahold of the bone and dig in. Scotch eggs, if you can fit all of my favorite breakfast items in one food, its destine to be a favorite. Lastly, my personal favorite, pickle….on a stick. A massive pickle, on a popsicle stick, cannot beat that.

Shrek:

There is a gentleman who dresses as Shrek the ogre every year, every year. Get your photo’s taken, he’s there for the fans. Quality guy.

Ded Bob:

While I have not mustered up the so called ‘guts’ to witness a show, to survive a Ded Bob show has been rumored to be one of the truest test of a knight.

Parking:

Nobody wins when it comes to parking at RenFest. Although free, you will start about a half-mile adventure into the woods eventually coming to the fairy-tale land. Bring some comfortable shoes or if you’re dressing up to join the fun, put some gel insoles in the wooden shoes. Warning: if you go before or during rain, prepare for mud and lots of it.

The Renaissance Festival is an amazing experience and only you can make the most out of it. Dress up, yell HUZZAH, drink some ale, eat an entire turkey leg and enjoy the 16th century!

 

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How to Survive the Megabus

Ohhhhh the Megabus. Your low-cost effective way to get from one city to another. While the saying goes “It’ll get you from point-A to point-B” is true for the Megabus, you’re sacrificing a bit more then just a cheap ride.

I have taken the Megabus over a dozen times, all of which to Chicago or to one of the three Michigan stops. I believe that I am qualified to put together the Megabus Survival Guide, so buckle up.

Time Management: As a frequent Megabus(er) I can tell you to book on odd work days (Monday-Thursday). I know you don’t want to take a vacation day on Friday but trust me- your price will be cheaper and you will most likely get a seat row to yourself (major key). Be there early and do not expect to be at the destination on time, that is a luxury.

Noise Cancelling Headphones: I pretty much just needed to bold those words to make that point. My last ride included a large man talking to his “boo” on speaker phone about getting arrested for about 45 minutes, use/invest in noise-cancelling headphones.

Travel Light: While sometimes unavoidable, try to only bring a backpack. If you only have a backpack you do not need to load it with the rest of the luggage before, this is the biggest hack there is. If one does not have to wait to load luggage, they shoot to the front of the line and get first dibs on which seat to take (my suggestion is up top). Wear a light sweater just in case the temperature isn’t comfortable.

Break Rules: Upon traveling back from Europe I brought two suitcases to load up (which is against the rules) and I recently fit a bottle of wine in a sports water bottle (alcohol is not allowed). That being said I reaped the benefits of both giving me a richer experience but don’t get caught!

Remember Windows Reflect: This one is a good one to remember. I have read countless conversations via window reflection of passengers in front of me, I even saw a guy watching porn at one point. While entertainment value is nice on a long trip, remember that your phone will project the same image so face the other way if possible.

Don’t Trust the Bus: Wifi, don’t rely on it. My suggestion is to download some podcasts, offline playlists and some movies pre-ride. I am a big fan of long-form podcasts so I binged the Joe Rogan Experience on my ride. For droid users I use the app Podcast Addict. Spotify Premium offers a function to download a playlist so you can listen without using data. Lastly, you should know how to download a movie and most Blue Ray’s come with a digital copy to upload to your computer. Outlets also tend not to work so when you get first choice at seats make sure the orange light is lit on your power outlet.

Acceptance: For some of you, you know what you may or may not be getting yourself into, so be prepared and accept a what may prove to be anything but a smooth ride. The beauty of the Megabus is it’s low price, anyone can buy a ticket! But that is also its disadvantage, anyone can afford a $5 ticket, anyone. To be 100 percent honest with you (my readers) one of my favorite activities is reading reviews of some Megabus experiences. Without further ado:

Pavan (Consumeraffairs.com): “(The) Bus from White Marsh arrived at time but the scroller on the bus read Chicago/Cleveland so I stayed in my car waiting for my bus… The idiot driver never changed the scroller. This bus left at 6.35 pm. Again, the moron driver never changed the sign on the bus so I assumed that my bus was late… When I called they informed me that the bus that left at 6.35 was in fact the bus to Phila! I was at the stop 15 min. before the time and missed the bus due to the imbecile driving the bus… I want my money back. Megabus belongs needs to reimburse me for their stupid crew’s mistake which lead to me missing the right bus! How can I give Megabus minus stars!”

Penny (Consumeraffairs.com): “Yes Megabus! I understand it’s not your fault car service broke down, but the least they could have done is honor the already purchase ticket for the next day!!!! IT’S A MONEY MAKING BUSINESS AND THERE’S NO HUMANITY OR HONOR IN THIS BUS COMPANY.”

Starr (Consumeraffairs.com): “If you were on this bus please join me in filing a civil suit or signing a petition to get a full refund. I will never do business with Megabus again. From here on out we will be flying. Thank you for nothing Megabus!”

Shannon (Yelp.com): “Do not waste your money. Seek other options. Cheap, yes, but it will happen to you eventually. For the sake of your sanity and wallet, I repeat: STAY AWAY FROM MEGABUS.

Very unfortunate.
One star for the drivers. They are nice.”

Jamie (Yelp.com): “We arrived to the stop at 7:31 for a 7:30 bus. I know we were late but the bus was stopped at the light. We waved the bus down and the bitch refused to let us on. Why are you so mean megabus? Hate you.”

Cal (Yelp.com): “1/2 star rating not 1 maybe it was just that particular bus

I have three words for you!  Take The Train!!!!!!  This is by far the absolute worst travel experience I have ever had And I travel A LOT.

The ONLY two things good about this stupid service is it left on time, we arrived safely and it was actually early. That’s all!!! With ZERO comfort the whole way

Where do I begin?

I have one word to describe this experience.

GHETTO!!!!!!!!!

This entire bus slightly smells like a combo of bad breath, body odor and cigarettes

Bus is very very stuffy

Employees incredibly rude

The woman next to me was totally obnoxious, loud and I almost told her to watch her mouth since she was soooo casually swearing

kids next to me were listen to their headphones sooooo loud in the dead of the night you could hear the song and it’s was the same techno house music song for like 7 hours of a 9.5 hour commute It sounded like someone’s cell phone alarm clock going off for all that time

None of the electrical outlets conveniently located right in front of you to charge your mobile device worked

The damn bus was leaking water from the windows from the travel in the rain

Trust me on this!!! Pay the extra $35 and take the train!!”

Joseph (Yelp.com): “(and we won’t even get into the fact that someone was smoking on the bus)”

Final Thoughts: Keep in mind when people take time to review a service, it’s usually because they had a terrible experience, so take the reviews with a grain of salt. In all my experiences on the bus I have had an overall fine time. Nothing too crazy to report so stick to the tips and feel free to comment your Megabus hacks!