Texas Renaissance Festival

Texas Renaissance Festival 2016 is the largest by attendance of all the Renaissance festivals in the United States, followed by the fairs in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Shakopee, Minnesota. As such, Renaissance lords and ladies will find some of the best Ren faire revelry in the nation here.

Texas Renaissance Festival Facts and History

Texas Renaissance Festival goers will find themselves in a make believe sixteenth-century town called New Market Village that was established in 1974. The festival takes place on weekends over nearly two full months, beginning in early October and continuing through most of November. It usually ends the weekend after Thanksgiving. During that period of time, upwards of 500,000 will attend the Texas Ren Fair in this small town that offers few other attractions. Here you will find not only an amazing atmosphere, but also special events, concerts, performances, and an array of foods and beverages. Special events take place here too, and you can even get married right at the festival.

More than 500 costumed performers (who audition for spots on the cast) fill seventeen stages, engage in jousting matches, tend to beautiful gardens, serve trencherman feasts, and even perform wedding ceremonies. Blacksmiths make swords and other weapons; craftspeople fashion brooms, weave cloth, and make candles; and printing is done on a fifteenth-century Gutenberg press. Many attendees come dressed for the occasion in all manner of costumes. One restriction to remember is for weapons such as swords and rapiers that are part of your costume—they must be sheathed and peace tied at all times. You may not draw a weapon; if you wish to do so for an event like a wedding, it must be cleared in advance.

Directions to Texas Renaissance Festival

The Texas Renaissance Faire 2016 is an enchanting walk back in time set on more than 50 acres near the town of Plantersville, which is about 60 miles northwest of Houston. From Houston, take Interstate 45 north and exit on Highway 105 west. From here it's about 22 miles to Plantersville. In town, turn left of FM 1774 for six miles. The Texas Renaissance Festival 2016 is so large that it is advisable for you to get a map of the site on arrival.

Texas Renaissance Festival Tickets

Tickets for the Texas Renaissance Faire are quite reasonably priced, making this an excellent destination for family vacations. Advance tickets for the opening weekend are the cheapest of all, Children under four years of age are free.

Texas Renaissance Festival Lodging

There is an official Texas Renaissance Festival 2016 camping area open to both tents and camper vehicles. Reservations are not necessary, and space is on a first come, first serve basis. There are portable toilets, but no running water or electricity. No open fires and no pets allowed. The campground opens at 10:00 a.m on Fridays, and closes at 10:00 a.m. on Mondays. There is a market selling ice, drinks, and snacks.

One of the attractions near the Plantersville area is Lake Conroe and the wilderness of the Sam Houston National Forest. This is a popular recreation destination, and there a number of hotels, camping areas, cabins, and vacation rentals in the area. The beautiful and family-oriented La Toretta Lake Resort and Spa is the official Texas Renaissance Faire hotel, and offers vacation packages for those attending. It is located on the shores of the lake, and is about a 40-minute drive to the east of Plantersville. If the Texas Ren Fair isn't enough for you, the hotel offers golfing, a full-service spa, several dining options, a water park, and all the outdoor activity available on the lake from boating to fishing.

Image: texasrenfest (flickr)

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