Texas Renaissance Festival

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Texas Renaissance Festival
TRF valentine armouries.jpg
Women in costume at the Texas Renaissance Festival
Genre Renaissance fair
Dates Weekends in October and November
Location(s) 21778 FM 1774 Todd Mission, Texas 77363[1]
Inaugurated 1974
Attendance 678,550 in 2016[2]
Area 55 Acres [3]
Stages 17 [4]
Website
www.texrenfest.com

The Texas Renaissance Festival is a Renaissance fair in Todd Mission, Texas, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.

The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) started in 1974 on the location of an old strip mining site. The Texas Renaissance Festival claims to be "the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park." The festival sits on 55 acres of land, and offers camping facilities to patrons. The festival welcomes half a million guests annually.

History[edit]

The Texas Renaissance Festival was founded in 1974 by George Coulam and his brother David Coulam. At the time, it spanned only fifteen acres, with three stages featuring small improv theatre groups, and merchants selling their goods on blankets. The opening year saw a turn-out of 33,000, nearly a twentieth of the turnout of 2012.[5]

Features[edit]

The Texas Renaissance Festival features about 500 costumed performers on 17 stages; 340 shops including: international food purveyors, unique artisans, merchants and craft vendors; human-powered rides; an abundance of performers walking among the guests, and the Queen's Royal Finale (fireworks if weather permits) at dusk.[6]

Themed Weekends[edit]

Each of the eight weekends of the festival take on a different theme, influencing the performances, costumes, food, drink, art, shops, contests, and games throughout the festival grounds.

A group of fairies at the 1001 Dreams weekend of the Texas Renaissance Festival
  • Oktoberfest - German theme, including polka music and dancing, and the serving of traditional German beer.
  • 1001 Dreams - Fantasy theme, encouraging lavish costumes of wizards, fairies, and elves and including several fantastical contests, such as scavenger hunts and costume contests.
  • All Hallows Eve - Medieval Halloween theme, including spooky decorations and contests, such as jack-o-lantern carving contests, to celebrate the holiday.
  • Pirate Adventure - Pirate theme, encouraging pirate costumes and including several sea-related games and contests.
  • Roman Bacchanal - Roman theme, encouraging Roman costumes and hosting several Roman-themed contests and games such as toga contests and spaghetti eating contests.
  • Barbarian Invasion - Medieval Barbarian theme, encouraging costumes of medieval barbarians and including "barbaric" contests such as the "Barbarian Battle Cry" contest and eating contests.
  • Highland Fling - Scottish theme, encouraging traditional Scottish costumes and including bagpipe-playing and traditional Scottish food and drink.
  • Celtic Christmas - Christmas theme, including Christmas decorations and music, and featuring Christmas-themed contests such as "Candy Cane Hunt" and "Guess the Present" contests.[7]

Performances[edit]

The Joust at the Texas Renaissance Festival

The festival grounds feature 17 stages, which host a wide variety of performances. The festival features several medieval-themed music and dance groups, including everything from belly dancing, to harps and fiddles, to bagpipes and accordions, to the carillon.[8] Also, throughout the festival several demonstrating artists can be found presenting the methods of various medieval trades, such as glassblowing, forging armor, candle-making, coin minting, and others to visitors.[9]

Birds of Prey at the Texas Renaissance Festival

On the larger stages, other, grander events take place, the largest of which is the Joust. The Joust is performed by the Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre, and is an accurate reenactment of a medieval joust, featuring authentic weapons, costumed horses, and armored knights.[10] Other large performances at the festival include The Barbarian Bombshells an all women comedy, song and dance troupe (For Mature Audiences Only)[11] as well as Sound of Fury a nouveau-vaudeville troupe of comedians performing original works in the style of Shakespeare. [12]Other performances include The Birds of Prey show, a highly praised free-flying bird show including hawks, owls, vultures, and eagles,[13] the Fire Whip Show, the Clan Tynker Family Circus, and the School of Sword.[14]

At the end of the festival, a Royal Finale takes place in the Arena, featuring performances from several of the entertainers and musicians, and closing with a Royal Fireworks presentation.[15]

References[edit]

http://www.texrenfest.com/downloads/pdf/map.pdf - map of festival grounds

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°15′32″N 95°49′50″W / 30.259007°N 95.830646°W / 30.259007; -95.830646