HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Huzzah! The Tennessee Medieval Faire is celebrating the first weekend of their biggest year yet in Roane County.
The Faire has really helped catapult the economy of Harriman in the five short years the festival has been open.
Taking a step into the Medieval Faire in Harriman is like taking a step back into history. As soon as you enter, all the sights, smells and sounds will put you back in the 1100s.
"[It's a] connection to the past," William Barry Poor, an actor playing a traveling minstrel, said. "I keep songs alive. I am here to entertain the good people of the shire and to spread song and music and merriment throughout the land."
It's a not-so-far-off land that's forging away in Harriman, according to the vice president of the Faire Barrie Paulson.
"[Roane County officials] had never heard of a Medieval Faire, a Renaissance festival, so we explained it to them and the mayor Chris Mason, he's a visionary, and he just said I understand it, I've never been, but I want you in my town," Paulson said.
The growth has been like a Renaissance for Roane County.
"People come directly through Harriman and so they're going to eat at restaurants, stay at a hotel, and get gas and give back to Roane County," Paulson said. "Last May, people came from 22 states and from 46 counties in Tennessee, so that's almost half of Tennessee."
The visitors say they don't mind the drive.
"We hadn't been in Harriman in many many years since we were here for a music festival some time back, so it was a great excuse to come back through," Dessa Hix, a visitor from Cookeville, said. "The old town part of Harriman where we drove through was lovely. It's just a charming old city."
The growth is good news for both the Faire and the community, according to Carson Hunt, who is an actor playing Robin Hood at the Faire.
"This is the largest Faire we have ever had," Hunt said. "We have more vendors than we have ever had before. More shows than we've ever had before. And every year it grows a little bit more."
If you want to get take that step back in time this summer, you can visit the Faire the rest of the Memorial Day weekend for Warrior Weekend, June 1-2 for Celtic Fantasy Weekend, and the weekend of June 8-9 for Time Travel Weekend.
General admission is $18 for adults, $9 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and under.
The Faire will run each day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.