Renaissance Weekends and Messin About in Mesa

by : Nelson Stewart

Mesa is the most populous suburban city in the whole of the United States, yet most of us don't really know where it is! Well, now is a great time to find out because all through February and March, the twentieth anniversary of Renaissance revelry and family fun is happening in Arizona, right near Mesa!

The Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace begins on February 9th and runs until the end of March. It is held on weekends only (and President's Day). It boasts twelve stages of continuous entertainment, jousting tournaments, an outdoor circus and day-long feasting! Grab your cloak and get over there!

The 30 acre Festival Village can be found on Highway 60 (Superstition Freeway) past Kings Ranch Road. This is between Apache Junction and Florence Junction. Medieval banquets, King Henry and over 200 'shoppes' await your visit.

You can watch artisans create blown glass ornaments, or make leather goods or spin sheeps' wool while you watch. If that sounds too sedate, then you can see buccaneers fight, watch Medieval Rock'n'Roll and laugh at the "Lord of Mischief's" hit and run comedy.

When you want to get away from the Medieval crowds, the delightfully green, treed city of Mesa is a peaceful fall-back spot.

If you are planning an RV trip, there are several great parks and resort grounds in Mesa for you to hook up in. There are also literally dozens of golf courses awaiting you in the larger area, and the Mesa area has an abundance of world class golf courses. Mesa also has hostels and campgrounds, as well as bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels.

Mesa officially describes itself as centrally placed in the rolling hills of San Diego County, Arizona. In fact the name is a translation from the word mesa to mean plateau; at 1200 feet above sea level, Mesa sits on a plateau that is 100 feet above Phoenix, Arizona.

The added elevation keeps it a little cooler, and it has a near-perfect climate with well paved roads to encourage walking on the tree-lined streets. The scenery and greenery in this lovely spot can be enjoyed from any of the outdoor cafes, which give the city a cosmopolitan feel.

If you choose to vacation here, there are lots of exciting things to do. All the usual stuff such as biking, hiking, fishing and horse-riding is augmented by hot air balloon rides, four wheel drive tours, Apache trail tours and air combat adventures. The air combats are piloted by real military pilots: an unusual way to see the country-side!

This is a very old town, and the area has history dating back hundreds of years. Officially founded in 1878 by Mormon pioneers, its population is still around ten percent Mormon. Mesa is a family-oriented town, which may be why so many people flock to it, and obviously the month of March is a great time to visit.