The 42nd annual Texas Renaissance Festival runs Oct. 8-Nov. 27 in Todd Mission.
The 55-acre Renaissance-themed park opens Oct. 8 with a variety of entertainment and more than 400 vendors to enjoy. The 2016 Texas Renaissance Festival, located on FM 1774 in Todd Mission near Magnolia, will be open each Saturday and Sunday—as well as the Friday after Thanksgiving—until Nov. 27. More than a half million festival goers are expected this fall.
While the entertainment options are plentiful, here are 10 things not to miss during festival season.
1. Catch a show.
Daily shows range from comedy and dance to music and magic. This year's festival adds a new entertainment stage. Titania's Bower Stage will present The Living Fountain, an act in which a statue transforms herself into a fountain, and the School of Dance, during which guests can learn to dance the Highland Welcome and Half Hannikan.
2. Dress up in costume.
While dressing in Renaissance attire is not required, costume rentals and shops are available at the festival grounds. Belrose's costume rental shop is located outside the front gate at the festival and offers costume rentals for children and adults. Inside the festival, guests can peruse more than 400 shops, several of which sell Renaissance attire and other items to complete a costume.
3. Eat a turkey leg.
Take a bite of perhaps the most popular festival food.
4. Participate in a themed contest.
Each of the eight weekends has a theme, starting with Oktoberfest on Oct. 8-9 and ending with Celtic Christmas on Nov. 25-27. Themed costume contests begin at 2 p.m. at The Arena stage each day of the festival. Themed food eating contests begin daily at 4 p.m. at the New Market Music Gazebo. Participants must check in 15 minutes prior to each contest.
5. Attend TRF After Dark.
Festival goers ages 21 and older can attend TRF After Dark, a themed costume gala featuring music, dancing, live entertainment, contests, drinks and food. A smoking lounge and VIP suites are also available. Alcohol-infused, themed cupcakes are a new addition to this year's gala. The event is held 8 p.m.-1 a.m. each Saturday of the festival. Ticket cost is $20 per person.
6. Camp for a weekend.
Extend a weekend at the festival by camping in the The Fields of New Market Campgrounds, 200 acres of camping space off of County Road 302 in Todd Mission next to the festival grounds. The campgrounds include two communal bonfires, convenience stores, food trucks, a quiet camping area and 24-hour security. No reservations are necessary, but camp sites are given on a first come, first served basis. There is a $25 camping charge for each vehicle in addition to festival admission for each camper.
7. Participate in the Mass Vow Renewal.
While the Texas Renaissance Festival is a popular wedding venue, married couples can take part in this year's mass vow renewal at one of the festival chapels. Couples can join the festival King and Queen as they renew their wedding vows at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. The $300 vow renewal package includes two tickets to the festival, commemorative items, professional photography of the ceremony, a cake reception, and more. For more information, call 800-458-3435.
8. Cheer on a knight.
Jousting comes to The Arena each day of the festival at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. The Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre presents an action-packed show with knights in shining armor, weapons and costumed horses.
9. Meet a blacksmith, fairy, pirate king or beer maiden.
More than 100 characters can be found throughout the Renaissance park. These costumed entertainers bring to life the dress, the trades and the music of the time.
10. Attend the Royal Celebration.
The half-hour Royal Celebration begins each day at 6 p.m. in The Globe Theatre, featuring song, dance, comedy and magic with all of the festival's performers. The celebration is followed by a parade and fireworks at dusk at The Arena to conclude the day's festivities.
Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.