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Bay Area Renaissance Festival Kicks Off 40th Season

Hear ye, hear ye! Tampa is stepped back in time this weekend with the 40th annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The festival’s entertainment director, Caroline Jett, said there are a number of different ways for people to experience what each of the eight themed weekends the festival has to offer. 

“We truly have things out here for everyone of every age from small children getting their face painted and riding the human-powered ride to some adult shows that are suggested 18 and up,” said Jett.

The first weekend started with the Highland Fling featuring a pub crawl and a ‘men in kilts’ contest. Other themes include Pirates & Pets, High Seas Adventure and Barbarian Brew.

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival started in Largo in 1979. As the event has grown, the interest in the community has grown with it.

“I’ve been involved with this festival for almost 25 years and I’ve seen interest get high and wane off a bit and it’s growing again,” said Jett.

Jett, who plays Queen Katherine Parr during the festival, adds that it can provide a learning experience with a look into history.

“I’ve studied this in depth, so that if people want that aspect of the experience we can give it to them,” said Jett.

During the first three weekends of the festival, ticket specials will be offered to guests who participate in the food or blood drives. Blood donors will get a free ticket and people who donate four cans of food will get a buy one, get one free ticket voucher.

Festivities run each weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through March 31. Tickets and additional information can be found on the Bay Area Renaissance Festival website.