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Texas Renaissance Festival 2012

Do you like:

  • Halloween because it gives you an opportunity to put on a costume and act a little crazy?
  • live music and a variety of entertainment from comedy to juggling to mud wrestling?
  • plenty of fun things for the kids to do?
  • partying and camping for a weekend with people dressed as kings and queens, barbarians and Roman guard, or Courts of Italians, French, Germans, or English lords, fair ladies, and lots more?
  • shopping for everything from swords to maiden's dresses?
  • lots of good food, ale, wine, or frozen drinks?
  • the opportunity to experience the art, science, theater, history, music and culture of the 16th century?

If you answered yes to just one of those questions, then you should gather your friends or family, put on a period outfit, and head to the Texas Renaissance Festival for a fun weekend. Each year from early October to the end of November for 8 weekends, the New Market Village comes alive on 100 acres for campers and 55 acres filled with the sights, sounds, tastes and beauty of the 16th Century with shops, games and rides, food and drink, and thousands of guests looking for a fun weekend. The Renaissance Festival is held just outside of Magnolia and Plantersville which is about 50 miles northwest of Houston. We attended the 38th annual Festival in 2012 and had a blast.

Here are just a few facts about the Texas Renaissance Festival:

  • each weekend is a themed weekend and the costumes and staff dress appropriately for Octoberfest, Pirate Adventure, Celtic Christmas, Barbarian Invasion, Roman Bacchanal, Highland Fling, Hallow's Eve, and 1001 Dreams
  • there are over 200 daily performances on 17 stages with 600 costumed performers - jugglers, a wide variety of musicians, magicians, birds of prey, comedy shows, "the Transylvanian Torture Show," courtly dances, jousting, professional dancers, fireworks, mud wrestling, and lots more - it's hard to see half of it in one weekend

JoustingMud WrestlingMusic during the festival

  • demonstrations from over 30 artisans and craftspeople - armory, blacksmithing, printing and papermaking, wax candle making, weavers, broom making, metal casting, glass blowing, and more
  • lots of kid friendly games and programs like costume contests, scavenger hunts, petting zoo, animal rides, and lots more - even the kids love getting dressed up
  • attended by 606,694 guests which was up 24% from 2011 - the good news is that even with 30,000 guests a day, it doesn't seem that crowded, but be prepared for a lot of people

Bungee jumpingKidsRiding a variety of animals at the festival

  • 400 shops including international food purveyors in a recreated well done18th century setting
    • hundreds of choices for food ranging from chicken wraps to coconut shrimp, turkey legs to tamales, shish kabobs to seafood boats, peasant pork sandwiches to potato pancakes, cheesy fries to conquistadors bread bowl - the problem is trying to decide what to try
    • a wide variety of desserts - chocolate dipped strawberries, funnel cake, peach cobbler, fried s'mores, cheesecake on a stick, black forest cake, and sopapillas
    • cold drinks and spirits - wine, beer, coffee, hot apple cider, margaritas, lemonade, sangria, fruit smoothies, and more


  • a wide variety of unique artisans, merchants and craft vendors selling period outfits, swords and knives, jewelry, hair ware, art, candles, portraits, pottery, woodworks, sculptures, and lots more
  • human-powered rides, bungee jumping, swings, games of skill, archery, and enough to keep you busy all day
  • an abundance of strolling performers, some stunning costumes, a daily costume parade, and the Royal Finale at dusk 

Costume at the Festival

ArseneTo make the most of the Texas Renaissance Festival you need to make it a weekend (camping at the festival is the most fun or stay in a local hotel but be prepared to pay twice the normal rate!), dress in a period costume, learn to speak old English and call the women and men "fair maiden and my lord" - here is a link to how ye should speaketh at the Festival - and take in as many of the acts and entertainment as you can. Don't miss the parade.

It's fun to just stroll through the grounds and check out all the different and very authentic and well done outfits. Several of the food and drink vendors have chairs and tables where you can sit and enjoy some food and drink and live music - and watch the crowd stroll by in a parade of outfits. By far our favorite entertainment was Arsene - a French performer who preformed for President Bush, taught juggling at Cirque du Soleil, and has performed at a variety of places from Disney World to Las Vegas - he's funny, talented, and a joy to watch. I wanted to go back for his next performance. .