When's the last time you went to a really great festival that was more than just standing around eating and drinking? Of course that's a huge part of any festival...and some are solely devoted to food and beverage. But I mean like a great festival where you can go and spend hours and have tuns of good ole fashioned fun.
This past weekend I attended the Texas Renaissance Festival for the first time ever. Honestly, this one stood out as extraordinary if compared to the rest. For a few different reasons, which I'll enumerate for you.
First, you have to drive over an hour to get there. The festival is located in Todd Mission, Texas. I have never even heard of this place but it's on the other side of Harris County, past Montgomery County, past Waller County, through Magnolia...to grandmother's house we go....lol. The drive is uneventful...through really small towns, lots of open fields and down roads that are dark as hell at night lined with scary looking trees and really tall grass....all the makings of a good horror film. But...it was a really nice day so we road down with the sunroof back and listened to Houston's new classic hip-hop station, Boom 92.1. Fun times.
When you approach the festival grounds, there are all these friendly people directing traffic...the parking is free which is great because the entrance fee is expensive. At the gate, the ticket prices are $27 per person. Once you get inside, you'll see that it's worth it. There's so much to see and do. But the price was a little shocking.
The festival covers 55 acres of land in the middle of nowhere. On the website, it's referred to as an interactive theme park...and it really is just like a medieval theme park.
People take this festival very seriously. On the walk to the grounds, you will see people dressed in costumes that vary according to the themed weekends. Last weekend was pirate themed. So there was a mix between renaissance era costumes and pirate costumes. All of the workers are dressed up in these great outfits and speak in accents...I heard Irish...English and all sorts of things. They had men pulling buggies to carry people back and forth from the entrance to their parking spaces. They were dressed in costumes too.
If you paid any attention in history class, then you've heard about the Renaissance. As a quick refresher, the Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned from the 14th to the 17th centuries and affected all of Europe with regards to art, literature, politics and education. Of course there was way more involved but that's a very basic intro.
Since I didn't know what to expect, and can't remember a thing from history class about the time period myself, I was confused by the representation of the different countries such as Italy, Greece, France. There was actually a whole section dedicated to Greece which excited me since I was just there in September. Then my friend helped me to remember that the Renaissance took place all over Europe...which makes a lot more sense.
Here are some pictures I snapped with my iPhone when we walked it. I found myself wondering what this area is used for when it's not being used for the festival. Like, do they pick all this stuff up and carry it away at the end of November? It was literally like a little village....but not little at all.
My brother experimented with medieval weaponry.
I genuinely felt like I had stepped into a time machine.
So, in addition to all the food....ranging from turkey legs to fried alligator on a stick and crawfish ettouffee (which I also thought was weird b/c I doubt they had crawfish etouffee during the Renaissance Era), there was also lots of shops selling trinkets, costumes, hats, jewelry, blown glass vases...all sorts of interesting things. Including this table of random, colorful rocks.
We kept moving, trying to take it all in. It was overwhelming though...there was literally something new to see with every step we took.
My brother found a new friend...this creepy guy that haunted my dreams later that night.
Then I saw this cute little lady selling "honey sticks". When we asked her what they were, she said with a straight face, "they are sticks filled with honey"...oh. Basically her and the guy next to her infused real honey with all these flavors and piped it into these plastic sticks. I tried her best seller, the pink lemonade infused honey stick. I was pleasantly surprised and it was delicious.....we each got one but couldn't share because that would have been gross.
More random pics of the things we saw around the festival.
We got there kinda late on Sunday so most of the shows were done for the day. We did get a chance to walk into this area - like a scene straight out of A Knight's Tale. They were jousting and the crowd went nuts about 3 mins after this pic was taken.
This man was playing with torches:
Or course we had to get turkey legs....
Here's the Greek part. We also located a vendor that was selling mead wine and purchased a bottle to share. I took a video of the performers too:
Does anyone remember how obsessed I am with the sunsets, rises and the sky in general? We sat down to enjoy a glass of mead wine and my brother, the genius that he is, had us move onto the bench with him so that we could see this. This picture doesn't even do it justice...the variation of the colors in the sky were so beautiful. We just sat for a moment.
It got dark...since the time change my whole life is in shambles....but it was only like 6:15pm. The festival closed 7pm. It was harder to see what was going on as the sun went down, but I still got some pretty cool pictures...and that's really all that matters. Like this extra creepy house...which contained a torture museum...that we promptly passed up.
We decided that no festival is complete without some ridiculously fattening but oh so delicious sugary concoction. So we had funnel cake and beignets at one stand....and chocolate dipped cheesecake and chocolate dipped strawberries at another. Then I chased down the man that was selling kettle corn....as we exited the festival into a pretty dark and slightly terrifying parking area.
We sat in traffic for nearly an hour.....there was only one way home, down a dark two lane highway through Magnolia.
We declared that this would be an annual tradition from that day forward. We vowed to return next year in full costume as well.
Until next time! ~GEV