Eight weeks of fun and mayhem…the 39th annual Texas Renaissance Festival is set to get underway the second weekend in Oct. With a theme for every weekend there’s fun to be had by everyone. This 16th century village comes to life each weekend with, strolling performers, live jousts, battle reenactments, costume contests, food eating contests, a daily fireworks show, plus live music, magic, dancing,and just plain FUN!

Dreams may start in a small space, but only grow with passion and time. Such is the story of the Texas Renaissance Festival now in it's 41th year. What started as a 15 acre parcel that was once an old strip mining site is now the nation's largest and most acclaimed Renaissance Festival theme park in the U.S.


What began in 1974 as a simple dream for visionary George Coulam has certainly blossomed into one of Texas premiere seasonal events. It's hard to imagine the quaint but simple beginnings on those 15 acres over 40 years ago, when you now see a magnificent recreation of a 16th Century village. That simple dream has become a 55 acre fantasy world for Texans each October and we are grateful to escape to it!


Coulam's creative genius and attention to detail has shaped a fantasy Kingdom like no other in the Land. Patrons escape back in time to the pleasures of a simpler age. Hundreds of pines and other native trees have been carefully planted beside permanent shoppes with turrets and deeply pitched roofs, all in keeping with the architectural styles of the Renaissance period. Entertainers, Shoppe keepers, even ticket takers all don 16th Century attire and speak the tongue of Lords and Ladies, paupers, and wenches.


Patrons encounter jugglers, minstrels, and fortunetellers as they stroll down shaded cobblestone pathways en route to works of pottery, sculpted metal, and woodcarvings inside over 350 shoppes. 55-acres of grassy meadows and meticulously maintained gardens dot the landscape providing the perfect backdrop for more than hundreds of daily performances on the streets and stages, performed by over 400 professional actors, one theater includes a Greco-Roman Amphitheatre. Patrons can feast on a variety of authentic international cuisine including Polish, Greek, Spanish, Scottish and English dishes. The Festival continues to grow each year and currently greets more than 600,000 patrons annually. Parking is always free, campsites are available for a nominal fee.


For eight weekends running this fall, 600,000-plus Texans will once again crowd into the faire-grounds of the Texas Renaissance Festival near Plantersville to celebrate 16th century life and merriment in what has turned out to be one of the largest events of its kind in the nation.


Weekend themes and dates include:

Oktoberfest - 10/10 & 10/11- The wafting smell of sausages, fine german beer and the swaying sounds of german polkas will greet revelers as Texas Renaissance Festival gets under way the second weekend of October. In true Oktoberfest style competitors come from around the world to vie for titles in world-famous yoddeling and polka contests. Grab your lederhosen and fraulein, the bier and fun will be waiting for you!


1001 Dreams -10/17-10/18 -Relive the magic of fantasy and walk among faeries, elves and magic folk all weekend! Fun activities for the weekend include a scavenger hunt throughout the village, fantasy costume contest and a dragon wing eating contest. Even if you don't want to come in costume of all the weekends at Renaissance Festival this weekend people watching and costume ogling are at their prime, and most beautiful!


All Hallows Eve -10/31-11/1-There is only one place in Texas to truly celebrate Halloween filled with ancient scary customs and mysterious ambiance, the Texas Renaissance Festival. The park will be filled with ghouls, goblins and creepy creatures from days of old. His majesty annually decrees the village throw a tricks or treats outing, come and admire the hundreds of carved Jack-o-lanterns in the misty moonlight. What Halloween festival would be complete without a costume contest? If ever there were a place for outstanding costumes to be seen, this is the place! And warm up those vocal chords for the annual "Scream Like a Banshee" contest. For those of you with big appetites and a hunger for competition join in the Kettle Corn Eating Contest. As always the village will be filled with the music and sounds of a thrilling, creepy All Hallows Eve!


Pirate Weekend -10/24-10/25- Seriously who hasn't wanted to relive the adventurous life of a pirate, here's your chance. This weekend is pure bawdy fun, hunting for treasure, drinking a pint or two, feasting, dancing,'s all included. Contests include, "Talk like a Pirate", "Best Dressed Pirate" and a "Fish and Chips Eating" Contest.


Roman Bacchanal -11/7 - 11/8- You know the saying, When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Which in this case means PARTY! Togas are the dress of the day, enjoy the bocce ball, a toga contest and save room for the spaghetti eating contest.


Barbarian Invasion – 11/14 - 11/15 - Pillaging and Plundering in the style of Conan and Genghis Khan are the rule of the day all weekend long...all in good fun. Let all your rage come forth in the Barbarian Battle Cry contest, and being the worst dressed barbarian will get you rewarded here. The favorite eating contest of the whole festival is this weekend, "The Turkey Leg Eating" contest!


Highland Fling –11/21-11/22-Who knew the Queen of Scotts had such a party attitude! Lads and lasses will enjoy the revelry of the highlands with bagpipes and Scottish kilts in full flair. Enjoy the "Great Sheep Hunt" throughout the village, kick up your heels at the "Highland Dance Contest", enjoy the humorous "Bonnie Knees Contest" and for the brave of heart stout stomach there is the "Haggis Eating Contest"


Celtic Christmas –11/27-11/29 - Kick off the Yuletide season the weekend after Thanksgiving by sharing a cup of hot spiced meade with Father Christmas. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas meander through the village as the true spirit of the season fills each visitor. Visitors are invited to enjoy the fun with a "Yuletide Costume Contest", adults and kids alike will enjoy the "The Candy Cane Hunt", Fun timew with Father Christmas and the elves playing "Guess the Present Contest", and the yummiest eating contest of all, "The Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest."


Tickets are available at Houston Area: Walgreen's and Randall's, as well as on-line at, by phone or by mail.


Gate prices: Adult - $26.00 (Ages 13 & up) Child - $13.00 (Ages 5 -12). Discount prices: Adult - $21.00 (Ages 13 & up) Child - $11.00 (Ages 5 -12) Children 4 and under are free.


The Texas Renaissance Festival is located on FM 1774 between Magnolia and Plantersville, 45 minutes northwest of Houston. The 2013 Festival will take place Saturdays, Sundays and the Friday after Thanksgiving through Dec. 1st. For more information, log on to or call 800-458-3435.


photos courtesy of Melanie Beeson and Texas Renaissance Festival


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