If you’ve ever dreamed of being a knight in shining armor, a milk maid, a bar wench, a fairy, a wizard or a blacksmith you are not alone! For the 37th year the nation’s largest Renaissance festival will take place just a short drive out of Houston. This is a huge event that is held over 8 weekends starting October 8 through November 27 (also, Thanksgiving Friday).
This is not just a few booths selling stuff. The festival takes place in a 55 acre “village” that seriously transports you back in time. You’ll stroll the cobblestoned streets featuring over 300 shops and lots of street performances. The TRF covers every detail to make sure that your experience is truly out of this era. 25 different “feasting” spots offer traditional pub fare, Alsatian foods (mmmm….schnitzel), and kids can enjoy BBQ dragon! Of course, big turkey legs too like you couldn’t have guessed. You can wash your hearty food down with some honeyed mead, port, hard cider and more as well as all kinds of non-alcoholic beverages.
There are over 200 live performances daily, with turnout averaging around 45,000 visitors each weekend in 2010. Each weekend of the event will be centered around a different theme including Oktoberfest, Pirate Adventure, 1001 Dreams (think sprites and elves), Christmas, as well as themes centered on different Medieval cultures. You can get details on each weekend theme here. The festival is held in Plantersville which is about 35 miles out of Houston, heading out I45 towards Conroe.
Lots of folks make a full weekend of it and camp nearby. Please note that there are numerous restrictions this year regarding camping and fires due to the severe drought conditions. In addition, the Royal Fireworks Display will be replaced with a laser show.
As far as what to wear you can come in your plain, old every day festival wear of shorts and t-shirts but half the fun is coming in costume. Kind of like going to a Trekkie convention in plain garb…you might get some funny looks for your “normal” attire (not really….Rennies are not quite as fanatical as Trekkies, but they’re close). Seriously, I don’t think there is a place or event that offers better people watching than the TRF. Rennie’s are a bit enthusiastic about their costuming and the details are amazing.
For the kids there are over 40 attractions including games, activities and rides. They can test their longbow skills, scale the castle wall, catapult into enemy camp, ride an elephant or camel and play tons of carnival games.
Ticket prices are typically $25 adult/$12 child but some discounts do apply to opening weekend, and advanced and on-line purchases. Go here for the deets. There are also festival packages available.