Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire - Atlas Obscura

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Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire

The remains of a failed attempt at medieval nerdery are hidden deep in the woods of Virginia. 

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Open only in its Fredericksburg location from 1996 to 1999, the Virginia Renaissance Faire attempted to create a replica English renaissance village in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, where dads could be bards and bards wouldn’t be laughed at, but today all that remains are the tick-infested, moldering husks of those bygone fantasies.

Built to create an immersive atmosphere, the Virginia Renaissance Faire attempted to create the illusion of a bustling feudal port. Multiple buildings were erected in the style of medieval European architecture with towers and improbable buildings on stilts. There was even a replica sailing ship sitting in the small pond on the lot, where performers would put on various entertainments.

Unfortunately, after just two seasons of waning profits, the faire shuttered its gates and abandoned the regal site as it stood. Many of the decorations and props were moved to a similar operation in Wisconsin, but the structure was simply left in place to rot.

Today the Virginia Renaissance Faire’s spirit has been carried on by a separate event with the same name, but the old locations still stand, slowly being overgrown and falling apart. Adventurous explorers have rediscovered the hidden ruins a number of times over the years reporting more decay, graffiti, and even paintball damage. Recently a drone pilot recorded a scenic flyover of the site. It must be noted that the abandoned buildings sit on private property that is also frequented by hunters so visiting is prohibited. Not even full plate mail can stop bullets and trespassing tickets.

Update: As of August 2023, quite a few of the buildings have collapsed in on themselves, and what still stands is pretty much covered in graffiti. The property is still actively used by a hunt club during hunting season, as well as for recreational purposes off-season. Because of the vandalism and arson incidents of late, new cameras have been hidden around the property covering the known entrances, as well as around the train tracks.

Know Before You Go

This property is under surveillance and regularly monitored by the Stafford County Sheriffs Dept. Anyone caught trespassing will be prosecuted. The old buildings on site are all badly deteriorated, falling down, and extremely unsafe. A sportsman's club utilizes the property for hunting, shooting, and recreational activities year-round.

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