Texas Renaissance Festival announces tentative modifications for 2020 season

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to return to Todd Mission for its 46th season Oct. 3, but some changes for festival operations and guests are anticipated following the coronavirus pandemic.

In a May 28 statement, General Manager Joseph Bailey said new safety measures are in the works to comply with governmental recommendations, and an operating plan is expected to be reviewed with officials in June.

Based on current government and industry recommendations, Bailey outlined how the festival season may look upon reopening in October.

"We have always had high standards for limiting lines and ensuring the cleanliness of our grounds, our privies, and our food and beverage facilities. Our patrons may expect no less this year, and we are implementing even more measures to serve an incredible experience in an environment that mitigates the risk of further spread of COVID-19," Bailey said in the statement.

Face coverings

TRF employees, entertainers and vendors at the festival and campgrounds will wear face masks. Festival participants will have thematic masks to match their attire, and staff members will wear a special TRF mask.

Guests to the festival are encouraged to wear masks. Daily competitions will be held for guests to display their creative masks with more contest information to follow.

Souvenir masks and low-cost disposable masks will be available for purchase.

If face masks are not practical for performers to wear, such as during stage acts, the performers will be at a greater distance from guests, according to the statement.

Hygiene, health screenings

According to the statement, TRF employees and festival participants—entertainers and vendors—will go through a temperature screening each day prior to opening. Bailey said the festival is still evaluating noninvasive temperature checks on guests to the festival.

Festival officials are also looking into third-party decontamination services for high-touch areas throughout the festival and campgrounds. Staff and vendors will also be sanitizing areas of the festival throughout the day.

Hand-washing and -sanitizing stations will also be added throughout the festival grounds, according to the statement.

Entry guidelines

As the festival attracts more than 450,000 guests every year across its nine weekends, a limited number of tickets may be issued each day to comply with potential capacity limits, according to the statement. Capacity limits may also be in place at shops and entertainment venues throughout the grounds.

Additionally, technology is being added to the festival gates to count attendees entering and exiting the festival in real time.

"Anticipating capacity limits, we may be implementing date-specific ticket sales this year to have the ability to limit the number of tickets issued for each day if required. We do not want to risk turning guests away at the gates or making them wait for entry," Bailey said.

TRF Marketing Manager Marlena Solomon said festival officials will determine whether to implement date-specific ticket sales prior to the "Sale of the Century" slated for July 18.

Discounted season passes are available through May 31 with regular prices resuming June 1. The 46th festival season runs Oct. 3-Nov. 29.

Participants will also be expected to follow social distancing guidelines, according to the statement.

"The above is only a short list of measures, but each has a significant impact to our operational plans and procedures as we adjust to meet the demands of this new environment," Bailey said.

Festival officials shared the possible changes to their operations in the Facebook post below.

By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

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.