The Texas Renaissance festival was founded in 1974 by two brothers, George and David Coulam. At the inaugural festival, small theater groups performed on three stages, and merchants sent their goods on blankets laid on the ground. Despite such a modest program, the turnout was quite high. The first festival drew 33,000 attendees.
Over the years, the Texas Renaissance Festival has become one of the biggest events of its kind in North America. Each year, for eight fun-filled weekends in autumn, the festival presents an enchanted world full of fanciful Medieval characters.
Todd Mission is a very small town with the population of 107 as of the 2010 census. There’s not much going on here during most of the year. However, in early October the town and its surroundings transform into a large theme park full of Medieval spirit. Each year, the Texas Renaissance Festival welcomes about 500 stage performers including dancers, musicians, jugglers, acrobats and magicians. They are accompanied by hundreds of costumed characters who interact with visitors, helping the Medieval town come alive, and about 400 hundred craft vendors, merchants, artisans and food purveyors.
The festival consists of eight themed weekends. The theme of the weekend influences the costumes, performances, art, shops, food, drink, games, and contests throughout the festival grounds. If you don’t leave nearby and have to choose only one weekend to attend, here’s the list of the weekends for you to pick the one that you’re interested in the most: Oktoberfest (German theme), 1000 Dreams (fantasy theme), All Hallows Eve (Medieval Halloween theme), Pirate Adventure (pirate theme), Roman Bacchanal (Roman theme), Highland Fling (Scottish theme), and Celtic Christmas (Christmas theme). Each themed weekend provides a unique experience, and whichever weekend or weekends you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the festival’s main attractions is the Joust. This is a reenactment of a medieval joust performed by the Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre. It features armored knights, costumed horses, and authentic weapons. Other large performances include the School of Sword, the Clan Tynker Family Circus, the Fire Whip Show, and the Birds of Prey Show.
The Texas Renaissance Festival culminates in a Royal Finale that takes place in the main arena. It features performances from the best musicians and entertainers and closes with a Royal Fireworks presentation if the weather allows.
Photo: Texas Renaissance Festival