Today marks the final day of the Texas Renaissance Festival, a month-and-a-half long celebration of the medieval and Renaissance periods of Europe. The festival is in Plantersville, TX about an hour north of Houston and provides a great venue for food, music, and more. This year’s festivities are over, but the event occurs annually, during the months of October and November. Next year, they’re even adding a masquerade to the mix. For those considering a trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the trip worthwhile.
- Travel time: while it takes a solid hour to get to the festival from Houston, traffic can severely lengthen that drive, especially on the way back. The road leading into the parking area is only two lanes, and it makes getting off the grounds difficult. Planning to arrive early and leave before sundown can greatly reduce this annoyance. Alternatively, there is a campground on site for potential overnight visits.
- Cost: there is the cost of admission to consider, ($26 at the gate, $21 if purchased in advanced), but much like a theme park, it doesn’t end there. As a general rule, almost all of the entertainment is free. There are shows throughout the day, ranging from stand-up comedy to jousting to musicians. Food, games and merchandise cost more (sometimes much more), and many places accept cash only. It’s best to stop at an ATM before you arrive; the on-site ATMs carry a hefty fee of $5.95. Buying tickets in advance and budgeting for food and souvenirs can help alleviate this potential problem.
- Size: the Texas Renaissance Festival is large — the largest in Texas, in fact, with all permanent structures. Because of its size, it is easy to get turned around, especially on a first visit. Programs can be purchased, but maps are also available online. It is a good idea to plot out a general path ahead of time.
- Performances: there are plenty to choose from, and for the most part they are completely free, making this the best way to take advantage of a day at the Texas Renaissance Festival. The joust is always a favorite, and, as far as musical performances are concerned, the pirate band Pride o’ Bedlam is great fun. Fire jugglers, harpists, poets, and comedians are also strewn throughout the festival.
A visit to the Texas Renaissance Festival may require some advanced planning, especially if attending with children, but it’s definitely a worthwhile experience for both the native Houstonian and the out-of-town traveler.