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Houston Moving Guide

Local Guide to Houston's Texas Renaissance Festival

If you're new to the Houston area – or perhaps a little sheltered – you should be educated about Texas Renaissance Festival, located an hour northwest of Houston. Not only has this annual fall event grown exponentially since its beginning in 1974, but it's also dubbed the largest Renaissance festival in the nation. As everyone knows, we love when everything is bigger in Texas.

Texas Renaissance Festival
Photo credit: Steven David

The Texas Renaissance Festival started on just 15 acres with a small number of performers and folks selling items on blankets. It attracted around 30,000 attendees that first year. Today the festival attracts more than 500,000 fans each fall during its eight-week run covering 60 acres, eight themed villages, 400 unique shops, and thousands of performers from all over the world.

Here is a run-down to make sure you're prepared when you visit this 16th-century village, located in Todd Mission, Texas. The festival is open from early October through late November each year.

Where to Find Medieval & Renaissance Costumes

Texas Renfest
Photo credit: Steven David

The setting at the festival is authentic, with entertainers, shopkeepers, and staff dressed in 16th-century clothes and speaking in accents of lords, ladies, paupers, and wenches! Unlike some festivals, there is not a discount for guests dressing in medieval costume, but it always makes it more fun!

A renaissance costume rental shop, Belrose, is located outside the festival – or plan ahead and visit one of the Houston costume shops such as Performing Arts Supply Company. Plan your favorite old-time costume based on the weekend theme you attend: Oktoberfest, 1001 Dreams, All Hallows' Eve, Pirate Adventure, Roman Bacchanal, Barbarian Invasion, Highland Fling, or Celtic Christmas.

How to Get Cheap Tickets to Texas Renfest

Plan ahead and sign up for emails from Texas Renaissance Festival if you want an alert about cheap tickets! The festival hosts a one-day Sale of the (16th) Century – held in May each year – as an online-only sale offering tickets for $11.95, 65% off. Another sale in the summer offered 50% off tickets for one day only! Prices are normally $24.95 in advance or $32 at the gate. Kids age 12 and under are free every Sunday this year – or priced at $12.95 in advance or $17 at the gate – and kids age 4 and under are always free. You can also head to Walgreens for your advance discount tickets.

Music, Arts & Entertainment from the Middle Ages

Ren Fest Houston
Photo credit: Steven David

The festival hires thousands of entertainers each year who perform in about 16 different areas on the grounds. This extensive schedule is online so you can plan your visit before you even arrive. Some of the classic shows or entertainers have been a part of the festival for 20 years! Choose from jousting in the arena, Ded Bob Show, fire show, Christophe the Insulter, Barbarian Bombshells, and tons more!

Folks of all ages are welcome at the festival, and it continues to add new games and attractions to cater to the younger crowd – or kids at heart. Don't miss the hand-powered rides and games, plus 100 interactive characters throughout the season.

The Grande Marche Parade is a crowd favorite, beginning at noon each day by the Globe Stage. Nightly Royal Fireworks begin at 7:50 pm with the festival closing at 8 pm. TRF After Dark is available each Saturday for the 21-and-older crowd. It's an additional fee with music, entertainment, food, drink, and a weekly theme.

Map & Directions to the Texas Renaissance Festival

Check out the online map of Texas Renaissance Festival to discover the layout of this huge property. As you can imagine, traffic can get clogged getting into the festival area. Arrive as early as you can to help with congestion. Have breakfast in Magnolia and you'll be ready to park and have fun! Parking is free or pay $10 preferred parking online or $15 at the festival entrance.

Food & Camping at the Texas Renaissance Festival

The 200-acre Fields of New Market Campground by the festival is a newer option to enable folks to truly experience a weekend of Houston-area Renaissance Festival fun. There is a Quiet Camping area available for families or those who want to relax after a busy day at the festival. Plus, there are two bonfires each Saturday night, with an earlier one for families and kids. As a bonus, campers can take advantage of three ticket kiosk booths throughout the site and avoid ticket lines at the festival entrance.

There are also on-site food vendors for the campground, which in the past have included Texas Fatboyz and a margarita truck for campers 21 and older. Drag-on Inn and Drag-on Buy are the festival's on-site convenience stores.

Your time at Texas Renaissance Festival will certainly be memorable with all the options for entertainment, shopping, food, music, and costumed characters. Make your plans this season so you can say you've experienced the nation's largest Renaissance festival!

Texas Renaissance Festival is located at 21778 FM 1774, Todd Mission, Texas.

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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