Review: 49th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival is a must-see experience

Texas Renaissance Festival
credit: Patrick Kneitz
*Disclosure: I was provided a comped experience in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This was my second year attending TRF, the Texas Renaissance Festival, in Todd Mission, TX (near Houston), and it was just as fabulous as the first.

If you're lucky enough to arrive right when the gates open, you'll hear the cannon go off, a tradition. We unfortunately made it right past 9am this year but they did shoot off the cannon later in the day.

Fire Whip show, Texas Renaissance Festival
Fire Whip show

Over the past few years I've become a fan of renaissance festivals (renfests) and this is one of the best ones I've been to. All of the shows were a lot of fun—off the top of my head, Tartanic (bagpipes); Saxon Moon (rock), although this is their last year touring; the Washing Well Wenches, who are baudy and hilarious ("good clean fun, wet dirty women" is their tagline); and a few "Fakespeare" shows, aka Shakespeare but different or improvised.

Review: 49th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival is a must-see experience

The Birds of Prey show (pictured above) introduces you to the world of rare and partially-extinct birds, including the owl pictured above, a few buzzards, and others. The Fire Whip show (also pictured above, two photos up), although I had seen it last year too, was also intriguing; Adam Crack is a Guinness World Records holder for most whips in a minute.

Texas Renaissance Festival

Most of our day was spent walking around and seeing shows, but we also ate a lot of good foods (and drank mead) and did a bit of shopping; I bought a ring that I really like. 

For lunch, we had some comped tickets so we headed to the Greek areas for gyros and baklava; the baklava was tasty and one of the largest I'd ever seen. For snacks, we later bought a two-foot-long (my estimate) corn dog, which made for a comical photo (and no, I will not be posting that one, haha! But it's up on my Facebook page). My fiance and I tried valiantly to finish the corn dog but could only get through about 3/4 of it. 

Saxon Moon
Saxon Moon. Credit: Patrick Kneitz

I'd be remiss if I didn't expand on the musical performances, too. This was my first time seeing Saxon Moon, and they were great; unfortunately, they commented that it's their last year touring/doing festivals. Tartanic, a bagpipe group, was here too, and we heard them while walking around. 

Festival-goers should also check out the joust, which takes place a few times daily—as an aside, I highly recommend buying the festival program when you enter the Ren Fest, as it has the schedules for every show in it. 

Joust at Texas Ren Fest
Joust at Texas Ren Fest

The best part of the night, however, is when it gets dark: I highly recommend doing the Pub Sing-a-long, which is a blast. We did this last year and also really enjoyed it; they have singers, a violinist, and a few other musicians there. The pub also has beers, mead, etc. for you to imbibe while attending the show.

If you stay until the very end of the night, you'll experience my favorite part of TRF: the fire show and the fireworks, both of which are amazing. Rain was predicted on the day we went (and also last year, weirdly) and thankfully it held off until we were walking to our rental car at the end of the night.

Review: 49th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival is a must-see experience

I also should mention that the Ren Fest does weddings (and before you ask, no, even though I'm engaged now I did not get married there, haha). There are four venues from you can choose, and they have a ton of different packages as well (for different price points, guest counts, and styles). 

We saw a few of the venues while walking around, this one in particular looked nice:

Review: 49th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival is a must-see experience

For anyone who loves Ren Fests, I could see this being a really unique way to tie the knot. From the promo materials:

"Experience a truly enchanting wedding ceremony as the King and Queen cordially invite you to say 'I Do' at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Step into a world of magic and create the royal wedding of your dreams in a charming 16th-century English village. With our exclusive wedding packages, add an extra dose of romance and royalty to your special day and be swept away into a world of everlasting memories."

TRF actually has its own wedding website, too, which I've linked above. 

Review: 49th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival is a must-see experience
credit: Patrick Kneitz

Overall I had a great time at TRF, and I can't wait to attend next year, too. There is ONE more weekend to attend this, if you live in the area or feel like traveling; this weekend's (Nov. 24/25/26) theme is Celtic Christmas, which sounds like a lot of fun.

Have you ever been to a Ren Fest before? If so, which one, and how was your experience?

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