HAMMOND, La - Royalty comes with responsibilities. For Queen Elizabeth of the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, it's been 12 years of parades, wine tastings, high tea, and knighting ceremonies. She greets everyone with a smile and a wave, making time for hugs and photos. There are some families who have come every year and the Queen, who (when she's not wearing her royal gown) is actually Jackson, Mississippi native Kimberly Stockton, says she enjoys seeing the little ones grow up.
Everyone wants face time with the Queen, and there are several ways to get up close and personal. The Wine Tasting Experience, High Tea, and Tea and Crumpets are add-on events that require reservations and an extra fee in addition to your festival admission. (Walk-up entry is possible when space is available.) These popular events fill up fast, and as you wine and dine, you'll be treated to Renaissance entertainers, who perform for the crowd and the Queen. During the High Tea, the Queen goes over some of the proper tea etiquette of England.
She's the Queen of England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France and when she strolls about the Village of Albright, it's obvious that her subjects adore her. They smile, wave, bow and bring her gifts.
When she's not surveying the village, parading or taking part in tastings or ceremonies, you'll find her on her throne at the Queen's Pavilion. Commoner or noble, curtsy or bow before her royal highness and have a chat. It won't cost you an extra penny, and if you'd like to step up your game, Knighting Ceremonies happen at 3 p.m., most Saturdays and Sundays. It's also free, and fun to watch, even if you don't want to become a "Sir" or "Dame" yourself.
If you'd like to dress up to see her majesty, there's no need to bring your own costume: When you enter the 16th century village, you can rent a costume just inside the front gate at the Flying Cloud costume shop. Outfits can be found for as little as $20, and you can rent one for a day, or an entire weekend.
News with a Twist reporter Stephanie Oswald enjoyed shadowing the Queen for a day. She even joined a dance performance at the Queen's Pavilion that turned into a comedy show.
"Come as a peasant and enjoy! Just forget everything and forget all your burdens, that's the point of the whole thing," laughs the Queen.
Special kudos to this Queen, she earned second place in the national awards for Renaissance Festival Performers. "Huzzah!" to her for earning this award, through her monarchy over the Louisiana RenFest.