Renaissance Faire to start this weekend in Charlestown | News

CHARLESTOWN — When a realtor purchased a castle in Charlestown, organizers of the Southern Indiana Renaissance Faire found the perfect new location for its annual festival.

Starting this weekend, organizers are presenting their first Renaissance Festival at Birdsell Castle at 6900 Dave Carr Road. The medieval-inspired castle has an enclosed courtyard and is being renovated by new owner David Birdsell for use as a holiday rental destination.

The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday this weekend and next weekend, as well as two weekends in October. Attendees will be able to enjoy entertainment such as jousting, axe-throwing, arrow shooting and live music, and a market will feature more than 50 vendors selling food, drink and craft items.

The festival has been held for five years in Dubois County. Birdsell approached organizers last year regarding his purchase of Charlestown Castle, and they jumped at the chance to present the Southern Indiana Renaissance Faire and other events on the property. The 2,736 square foot chateau was built in 1997 and sits on a nine-acre estate.

Nancy Stewart, vice chair of the board and vendor coordinator for Southern Indiana Renaissance Faire, said she wanted to “give back to the community” by introducing a new entertainment option in Clark County.

“We’ve been working all year on renovating, building, cleaning, painting and all sorts of things (at Birdsell Castle),” Stewart said. “It will be a definitive event destination when it’s done.”

As they brought in performers for the festival, organizers saw “people begging to come here because of this property,” Stewart said. This year, organizers are presenting an overall Renaissance festival theme, but they hope to change the themes in future years.

The Southern Indiana Renaissance Faire is a non-profit organization and proceeds will be used to fund scholarships for senior graduates who plan to pursue an education in the arts and entertainment field.

“We’re not just here for the money – we want to give it to others,” Stewart said.

She said the vendors will sell products such as woodworking, jewelry, soap and bows and arrows, and the American Smokehouse stadium in Jeffersonville is one of the food vendors.

The event will feature drinks from Quaff On! Brewing Company of Nashville, Indiana, Hive and Barrel Meadery of Crestwood, Kentucky and Hunter’s Ridge Winery of Salem.

Many special events are planned throughout the castle. Participants can stroll through the castle courtyard, eat at the Dungeon Pub and watch a presentation of “birds of prey” by a falconer. Participants are encouraged to dress up for the event.

With a “bribe” from family or friends, the “Templar Knights” will “arrest” participants and place them in the king’s keep of the castle, where they can pay the “king’s tax” of $1 to free. The money will go to a charity, which has yet to be announced.

People can watch fire juggling and a Punch and Judy puppet show, and families can enjoy the “enchanted forest” as fairies tell stories and interact with children.

A “Viking encampment” will also storm the castle’s opening gates as the fair opens Saturday morning “to let the peasants in”, Stewart said.

Birdsell is converting the castle to Airbnb rentals, and the Southern Indiana Renaissance Faire plans to feature many more events on the property in the future, including weddings and a “King’s Feast” dinner.

Stewart said she was looking forward to seeing people’s reactions when they visit Birdsell Castle for the event.

“I love watching people and seeing the shock and awe that’s going to happen for these events,” she said. “It won’t be like anything they’ve ever seen unless they’ve been to a bigger fair.”

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