I really didn't want to go.
I put if off last year and the year before that, but sometimes, when you write a travel blog, you have to go places and do things you'd really rather skip. This year, I decided I was going to suck it up and just go already! And that's how I ended up wearing a fluffy white shirt and leather sash at the Texas Renaissance Festival.
Once I resigned myself to going, I called my good friend, Jax, who's been to many Ren Fests around the country and asked him to be my guide. He was glad to do it. Jax told me if we were going together, I had to, absolutely HAD TO wear a costume. It was hard to refuse when I picked him up at his house and he answered his door fully decked out in some sort of manly swashbuckler costume and thrusted the billowy, lace-up collar shirt and sash into my hands. I begrudgingly changed into the clothes, then we hopped in the car and headed toward the town of Todd Mission, about an hour northwest of Houston.
Almost every state has a Ren Fest or Faire on some scale, but the Texas Renaissance Festival is the nation’s largest, comprised of over 55 acres of interactive theme park, hosting half a million visitors every year. It begins in mid-October and runs through the end of November; this year, until December 1st. The festival features over 200 daily performances, 300 arts and crafts shops, 60 food and beverage shops, nightly fireworks and more than 3,000 costumed characters strolling the grounds. There is entertainment at every turn: crafters demonstrating their trade, musicians playing period instruments, actors and dancers, comedians (medieval-style), jousting, games and rides. It is virtually impossible not to have a good time here and the more you get into the atmosphere, the better time you'll have.
Every weekend of the faire, there's a different theme. Some themes from previous weekends included "Oktoberfest" and "All Hallows Eve." Still to come are "Barbarian Invasion," "Highland Fling" and "Celtic Christmas." Jax and I were there during "Pirate Adventure" weekend.
And now it's confession time: I'm really glad my friend made me wear the costume. I decided somewhere along the car ride that I had to drop my curmudgeonly resistance and just give in to the lace-up white shirt. And, after a few cups of honey meade, I was really embracing my inner-16th century buccaneer, even using words like "prithee," "scurvy wench" and "Huzzah!" I realized that it really is just more fun to become a part of the action.
If you come – and you really should try to make one of the upcoming weekends – try to get here early, not only for better parking, but to catch the gate opening ceremony at 9AM. Basic admission at the door is $26 Adult/ $13 Child, but it's a bit less if you order online. There are also family packs and group discounts available. Check their website to buy tickets and to check for discounts. You could also try doing a quick online search for other coupons and promo codes.
Why was I so resistant to come? I can't remember anymore. The Texas Renaissance Festival is good fun, great entertainment in a perfect setting, lots of enthusiastic, happy people. I'm sure I will be back again.
Photo credits: MarkScottAustinTX via Flickr