Every year the Texas Renaissance Festival brings thousands of visitors from all over the state to Todd Mission, Texas just south of Plantersville in Grimes County. For some residents, it is the reason to re-route travel plans due to extraordinary traffic. For others, it is a huge source of income for their family. While for many, it is a source of seasonal fun. Regardless of your reasons, the Texas Renaissance Festival impacts the Lake Conroe Area. It runs every weekend from October 9th to November 28th. Today we will explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of this popular festival.
The Texas Renaissance Festival is the nation’s largest medieval-themed park on 70 acres of land and with over 500,000 guests each year. This year they are celebrating its 47th year. As you can imagine, the festival brings in large amounts of revenue to Grimes County. It is a main source of income for many of its vendors from food stands to artisans. There are over 400 shops to explore. The festival also offfers a place for one to dress up and pretend to be in the medieval times. There are also themed weekends. For example, this weekend is Oktoberfest.
There is a ton of different types of entertainment. In fact, there are over 200 performances a day. For example, jousting contests bring people into the stands to cheer for their favorite knight. Birds of prey is also a popular and educational show. Some shows are more kid-friendly than others. In addition, you can ride elephants, throw axes, hit the target with archery, and many other available activities. If you are not interested in paying for these added attractions, you can always have fun cheering on strangers.
The most popular food at the festival has to be the turkey leg. Smoked to perfection, the delicious turkey legs are the perfect portable cuisine as you walk around the festival. There are numerous other foods and drinks to enjoy, including Kettle Corn, another popular snack at RenFest.
If you are looking for an authentic medieval experience, the Texas Renaissance Festival is not for you. From historical inaccuracies to bad fake English accents, the festival is anything but accurate. However, it never pretends to be. The festival is designed for fun and entertainment, not to be a living history museum. I have heard of educators using the Texas Renaissance Festival in their high school or college classrooms as a way to find what was portrayed historically or culturally wrong and/or to find anachronisms. The latter is anything out of time or out of place. An example would be a wrist watch on a knight.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Of course, this ugly category depends on one’s perspective. For some it will be the reason they do not attend. For others, it will be why the do. The Texas Renaissance Festival allows guests and workers to dress up as scantily as they desire. If there is a dress code, I am unaware. Don’t be shocked if you see someone only wearing a coat of mail. So if you are expecting modestly dressed medieval wenches, they won’t be at RenFest.
Also they offer camping for over-night stays. In fact, there are about 230 campsites available for rent. These areas are notorious for partying and other non-family-friendly activities.
So now you’ve got it: the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Texas Renaissance Festival. If you want to come see what it is all about and support the local economy, click here for tickets. For more information, check out their website. It has everything you need to know from their COVID policy to where to park. Regardless how you feel about RenFest, it has helped put the little town of Plantersville on the map.