The Hat People's 45-year tenure at Texas Renaissance Festival comes to an end

Berthe Carp and her husband, Alan, have sold hats at the Texas Renaissance Festival for 45 years. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Berthe Carp and her husband, Alan, have sold hats at the Texas Renaissance Festival for 45 years. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)

Berthe Carp and her husband, Alan, have sold hats at the Texas Renaissance Festival for 45 years. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Just like its festival shop, The Hat People’s Old Town Spring shop has hats on display from floor to ceiling. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The Hat People will continue its business at its brick-and-mortar shop, located at 213 Main St., Spring. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Berthe Carp said she never thought hats would have such a big influence on her life.

“I grew up in New York. The shoes, purse and hat always had to match,” she said. “You could wear funky dungarees with holes in them; as long as you had nice shoes, a nice purse [and] a nice hat, you were in.”

Born in Paris and raised in Brooklyn, Carp, owner of The Hat People, began crafting hats as a hobby. She said it was never her intention to make a living selling hats, but when she sold out at her first folk festival—much to the surprise of Carp and her husband, Alan—the couple began selling hats all over the U.S.

After gaining a following in the early 1970s at art shows across the country, Carp said her hats came across the radar of Texas Renaissance Festival founder George Coulam, who invited her to Texas to partake in the inaugural Texas Renaissance Festival in 1974.

“He said, ‘If you come and do my show, I’ll give you one of the best spots in the festival,’ and he did,” Carp said. “We learned so much from him. He was our mentor.”


Being a vendor in the festival’s early days allowed the Carps to see it grow from humble beginnings to becoming one of the largest renaissance festivals in the country, Carp said.

“Back in 1974, there was nothing ... and, my God, look what happened,” she said.

As an extension of their festival shop, The Hat People expanded into a brick-and-mortar store in Old Town Spring in the late 1990s. The shop provides the same variety of hats showcased during the Texas Renaissance Festival, except year-round, Carp said. Some of the headwear options include feathered Cavaliers, leather Gatsbys and wool berets.

According to Carp, her hats can be found around the globe, whether they are on the heads of famous musicians like Willie Nelson or in competition at the Kentucky Derby.

“Our hats are everywhere,” Carp said. “It’s an oxymoron, but we are locally world famous.”

After 45 years of selling hats at the Texas Renaissance Festival, the Carps said they will retire from the festival at the conclusion of the 2019 season, turning their attention solely to their Old Town Spring storefront. According to Carp, hosting a spot at the festival became too laborious to maintain.

“It’s fun for all the people that come to play, but ... it’s not all fun and games,” she said. “I never sit, from the time I’m there to the time I go home.”

She said it would take two months prior to the festival to set up shop and 14 hours each following week to get ready for the festival weekend.

Still, Carp said their final year at the festival was bittersweet.

“I’m sad because [after] 45 years—it’s like watching your children grow up and sending them off,” she said. “There’s a hole there. ... Part of me is relieved because it’s so much work, but it was also a lot of fun, a lot of happiness.”

Hat Guide

The Hat People offers a variety of hats, including:

Cavalier: Popular in the 17th century, this wide-brimmed hat was traditionally decorated with ostrich feathers. Some hats have a lifted side along its base.

Panama: This straw hat of Ecuadorian origin was made to be lightweight for hot and humid weather.

Beret: Soft, flat and round, the European hat from the 19th century can be made from fabrics such as wool, cotton or felt.

The Hat People

213 Main St., Spring

281-288-4772

www.thehatpeople.com

Hours: Wed.-Fri. and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mon., Tue. appointment only
SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Twisted Fit to celebrate grand opening in Spring on Feb. 1

The business offers pole fitness classes in a variety of styles as well as yoga for all experience levels.

Houston-area hospitals to close include the Tomball, Spring, Heights and Bay Area locations of Kindred Hospital, according to the statement. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kindred Healthcare to close 6 Houston, Dallas locations

Four Houston-area locations of Kindred Hospital will close by March 17.

Adriatic Cafe & Italian Grill's menu includes a selection of specialty, gourmet and custom pizzas. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Adriatic Cafe & Italian Grill to celebrate one year anniversary at Spring location

The authentic Italian restaurant's menu includes options such as meatball subs, specialty pizzas and gluten-free pastas.

Abby's Bagels & More will serve a similar menu to the original, while still maintaining a focus New York style, kettle-boiled bagels. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Abby's Cafe and Bakery to change ownership, continue on as Abby's Bagels & More

The Stapletons said they plan to maintain the eatery's focus on New York-style, kettle-boiled bagels and sandwiches.

raveneaux country club
Official: Raveneaux Country Club deal expected to close in late January without further Commissioners Court action

According to the HCFCD, the action taken by Harris County Commissioners Court earlier this month both authorized and approved the acquisition, meaning the deal is expected to close by Jan. 30 without another vote.

The neighborhood features two play areas. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Check out this month's Spring, Klein featured neighborhood: Champion Springs, 77379

Champion Springs, a neighborhood comprising 259 single-family homes, is located near the intersection of Louetta Road and Champion Forest Drive in Spring.

(Courtesy Frassati Catholic High School)
GUIDE: 15 private schools to check out in the Spring, Klein area

Private schools around Spring and Klein offer a variety of specialized instruction, from different religious affiliations to various types of curriculum.

Arby’s opened a new location at 21310 Kuykendahl Road, Spring, in December. (Courtesy Arby's)
Arby's opens new location on Kuykendahl Road in Spring

The eatery is known for its roast beef sandwiches, curly fries and fruit turnovers.

leo's shelf lone star college university park food pantry
Lone Star College-University Park launches Leo’s Shelf, an on-site food pantry

The food pantry is designed to serve campus community members with free grab-and-go meals, snacks, nonperishable pantry items and personal hygiene products.

(Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Champion Drive upgrade on track for completion in April

Construction is underway on Champion Drive to upgrade the road from a two-lane asphalt roadway to a two-lane concrete paved section between FM 1960 and Cypress Creek.

These retailers either opened in Spring and Klein in 2019 or are coming soon. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
24 Spring, Klein shopping destinations that opened in 2019 or are coming soon

Check out what locally-owned retailers opened in the Spring and Klein area in 2019 or are coming soon in 2020, based on new and coming soon business announcements Community Impact Newspaper published throughout the year.

Back to top