In the fall, the entire city of Todd Mission is converted into a fantasy land reminiscent of the middle ages for a full two months. The yearly fair is held on a few acres of rural property approximately 55 miles to the northwest of Houston, which is the largest city in the state of Texas. It is said that everything is bigger in this Southern state, and that rings true for this event that celebrates a bygone era. It is known as the Texas RenFest, and its organizers say that it is the largest festival in the country with a Renaissance theme.
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Over half a million people visit the re-creation of a 16th-century hamlet every year between the months of October and November. There, actors play the parts of monarchs and knights, and guests dress up in period garb and dine on enormous turkey legs. Planning for such a large festival can be extremely challenging. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your upcoming trip.
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A Brief History of the Texas Renaissance Festival
- It was first established in 1974, and since then, it has expanded to become the largest Renaissance festival in the United States. It now spans over 55 acres and features over 400 shops, 21 stages for live entertainment, an abundance of sweets and cuisine, games and rides, and some of the best people-watching opportunities available outside of Bourbon Street.
- The festival kicks off at nine in the morning, and it will go on until eight in the evening. There is plenty of parking available, and for an additional fee, you can either have your vehicle parked for you by a valet or take advantage of the closer VIP parking.
- Tickets can be purchased at the event’s entrance or in advance through the website www.texrenfest.com. Every day, children under the age of 4 are admitted free of charge, while children under the age of 12 are admitted free of charge on Sundays. You should be aware that the tickets have a certain date printed on them; hence, if you want to make sure you can attend the event, you should probably wait until it is closed before purchasing tickets because there are no exchanges or refunds available.
- The Texas Renaissance Festival strives to recreate and celebrate a variety of periods beginning in the 16th century, and the entertainment at the festival assists in transporting attendees back in time to one of those periods. At the event, attendees will have the chance to experience stage performances by groups like the Birds of Prey, Dance School, and School of Sword, as well as musical performances by groups such as Saxon Man, Iris and Rose, and Cannibal Tudors.
- There are also artists on the path that goes throughout the event and amuse attendees in between shows. Festival attendees have the opportunity to peruse the plethora of vendor and artist booths. Where you can purchase everything from clothing to glasswork, as well as goods for your castle and various lotions and potions. In addition, there are more than 90 different kinds of food available at the festival. These range from frozen drinks to jerky stations.
- Attending the Texas Renaissance Festival together as a family is an excellent way to enjoy valuable time together. There is a wide variety of exciting entertainment available for children, such as shows and musical performances, games and rides, shops, and weekly contests with recurring themes.
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When is the Texas Renaissance Festival?
The Texas Renaissance Festival kicks up every October 7 and runs through November 26. It takes place throughout the month of October until November annually. The celebration kicks off each day with a cannon shot at nine in the morning, and it ends each night with the Royal Fireworks Show at eight in the evening.
Where is the Festival Located?
The festival takes place in Todd Mission, Texas, on the fairgrounds, which is approximately 50 miles north of Houston. It takes around an hour to travel from downtown Houston, and roughly 2.5 hours to drive from Austin, assuming there is no traffic.
How Much Are the Festival Ticket Prices?
Tickets to the festival are only sold on specified dates, and their costs change depending on whether or not they are purchased in advance. When tickets are purchased in advance, prices range from 22 dollars to 27 dollars for adults who are above the age of 13. If you buy your ticket the same day, either online or at the entry, there is a $5 surcharge.
On Sundays, admission is waived for children aged 12 and under, while kids aged four and below are always free. There is also the option of purchasing a season pass. Tickets cannot be returned for a refund, and there is no provision for exchanges or rainchecks.
How Soon Should I Visit the Texas Renaissance Festival?
The celebration starts at the beginning of October and continues through the weekend after Thanksgiving. Only on Saturdays and Sundays are the doors open, except the Friday that comes after Thanksgiving. At nine in the morning, the cannon of the village is fired, signaling the opening of the gates. Arrive early because the number of people quickly increases.
If you are someone who enjoys dressing up for parties, the fair will be holding several themed weekends that you will be able to take part in throughout the course of the season. An example of this would be the annual celebration of Oktoberfest, which encourages hundreds of attendees to dress in dirndls and consume steins of German beer.
Additionally, Halloween and Celtic Christmas are two of the most widely celebrated holidays. During the Barbarian Invasion weekend, guests have the option of participating in obstacle courses and feats of strength, or they can go treasure-seeking during the Pirate Adventure weekend.
Tips Before Attending the Texas Renaissance Festival
Things to Bring
The entrance gates to the festival will remain open regardless of the weather, so before you head out for the day, check the forecast for Todd Mission, Texas. Even on days with a lot of clouds, you should still wear sunscreen. It is highly recommended that you wear hats and sunglasses, and you really must wear comfortable shoes.
If you don’t have enough cash on you, many vendors also accept major credit cards; just make sure to inquire before placing your order. For your convenience, there are automated teller machines (ATMs) placed all across the event grounds.
When you attend the festival, you are allowed to bring in one bottle of water that has not been opened. The festival allows attendees to bring empty water bottles that can be refilled at the event. You are welcome to bring along food for children as young as newborns and toddlers as well.
Where Can You Buy Tickets to the Festival?
Every ticket has a certain date printed on it, and you can buy them in advance either online at www.texrenfest.com or at their box office. Take a snapshot of the QR code on your ticket before proceeding to the entrance gate if you have already purchased your tickets in advance online via the texrenfest.com website.
How to Access the Kingdom
FM 1774 is the sole route that will get you to the entrance of the festival, and it is the road that you should take. Do not put your trust in smartphone apps because they may reroute you if there is gridlock, and many side streets and alternate routes have been closed to traffic due to the festival. Instead, plan your route ahead of time.
It is highly advised that you enter the event grounds through the Northernmost entrance. The festival does not charge for parking, although there is the option to upgrade to Preferred Parking or Valet Parking. You can purchase any choice online at a lower cost than what you will be required to pay at the venue’s entrance.
When Should You Arrive at the Fest?
It is highly recommended that you arrive early so that you can be at the entrance when the King and Queen of the festival announce the event open with the cannon at 9 a.m. This will allow you to avoid the huge queues that form when the majority of attendees arrive between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Plan the Day
Before you go through the entrance gates of the festival, stop by the Information Booth to pick up a Souvenir program. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the layout of the festival, find the location of the nearest turkey leg or beer, and determine what time your favorite artist will be performing.
It certainly helps to plan out your trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival, or at the least, check the schedule before you go, as there are so many incredible performances and activities to enjoy there. You should rearrange your schedule if there is anything you really cannot miss, such as The Joust.
Incredible food may be found at this festival. At the festival, the scotch eggs are a delicacy that is both well-liked and highly recommended by attendees. It is recommended that you budget appropriately for the food. However, you can get your hand stamped outside and then walk back to your vehicle for a picnic lunch or dinner even if outside food and drinks are not permitted inside.
If you plan to spend the whole day there, you should bring a picnic lunch in addition to eating one meal and snacks during the event. The entrance fees for each component of the park are different. Even though many merchants accept credit cards, it is still a good idea to bring some cash with you. In addition, there are ATMs available for use.
There is an incredible amount to look at and buy. A good number of stores will put items on hold for you until you are ready to go home. It is recommended that you bring a bag with you to carry any purchases you make.
Participate in Rides and Games
You won’t want to miss the king and queen as they make their way through the crowd in the daily procession, not to mention the mock sword fights, face painting, and carnival games with a medieval theme that are sure to give you a good laugh.
End the Night with an Amazing Fire Show
A fireworks display will mark the end of the day at the park at 8:00 p.m. It is highly recommended that you schedule your day in such a way that you arrive at the Fire Show in plenty of time to secure good seats.
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Facts About the Texas Renaissance Festival You Didn’t Know
- The TRF was established in 1974 by George and David Coulam, who were brothers, on an old strip-mining site located in what is now the city of Todd Mission, Texas. During that time, it covered a total area of fifteen acres and featured three stages where local improv theater companies performed alongside merchants who displayed their wares on blankets. In the first year of the event, there were 33,000 people in attendance.
- Since 2017, the TRF has featured about 500 actors in costume over its 25 stages. There are more than three hundred and fifty stores located on-site, including international food purveyors, one-of-a-kind artisans, merchants, and craft sellers, rides driven by people, an abundance of performers who wander among the guests, and the Queen’s Royal Finale. Over half a million people attend the annual fair, with attendance reaching a record high of 679,000 in 2016.
- In 1974, the Texas Renaissance Festival made its debut in a place that had previously been used for strip mining. It is claimed that this event is the largest Renaissance theme park in the entire country.
- Since the year 2020, strict precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic have been mandated, including the use of masks and maintaining a social distance right up until the present day.
- The festival takes place over a total of nine weekends, and each one of those weekends has its unique theme. This theme is carried throughout the festival grounds, including in the acts, outfits, food, beverages, art, shops, and competitions.
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There are twenty different stage sections where different performances can be seen. Participate in exciting musical acts, watch acrobats perform, watch knights joust, or gain knowledge about Birds of Prey. There is a vast selection of different forms of entertainment, some of which are entirely original.
It is an excellent way for donning a costume and immersing oneself in the more whimsical aspects of the Middle centuries. On the other hand, the primary goal of this festival is to provide entertainment. Plan to have fun and enjoy yourself throughout the day.