As the largest Renaissance-themed park in the United States, the Texas Renaissance Festival offers something for everyone. From fried "dragon wings" to jousting, RenFest dishes out the fun in an enchanting rural setting.
Every Autumn, the Texas Renaissance Festival (aka RenFest) brings thousands of enthusiastic folk from all over the state to a small rural town called Magnolia. Running from October 8th through November 27th, RenFest occurs during that magical time of year when leaves turn from green to orange and the sweltering Texas heat finally gives way to a much welcomed breeziness. The remoteness of the festival coupled with the short-lived Texas autumn preserves a special atmosphere and adds authenticity.
There are numerous sights to see and activities to engage in at RenFest. Actors play every part, from kings to merchants. Shows are performed on schedule a few times a day. Highlights include the Clan Tynker Family Circus, where one can observe stunts such as fire juggling and slight-of-hand tricks; the Ded Bob Show, a puppet comedy act that incorporates audience members, just clean enough for children yet full of naughty jokes for the parents; a falconer presents an astonishing bird show; musicians and bands perform throughout the festival. Last but not least, there is the jousting, which has audience members of all ages cheering for their favorite knight.
The costumes alone provide eye-candy for any lomographer, as both actors and patrons dress in elaborate get-ups. Themed weekends provide further costume inspiration – I happened to be there on Pirate Weekend, and the popularity of the theme shined through. Not much of a costume enthusiast? No need to worry – plenty of people choose to enjoy RenFest in their regular clothes…and trust me, the local flavor can at times be even more interesting than the elaborately-clad enthusiasts!
Shops and eateries are abundant at RenFest, with artisans from all over the country selling their handmade goods. At any turn, one may find fried alligator, turkey, steak, and sausage served on a stick and ready to devour. Traditional English, French, and Greek dishes can be found in different areas. The beer flows freely, as well as the wine, and you can be sure that the prices are fair. Additionally, shops provide hours of endless browsing, and many accept credit and debit cards if you are low on cash.
My favorite part of RenFest is the Magic Garden. Here, you can walk through an Eastern-Asian inspired, low-lit enclave with gorgeous landscaping. I shot most of my Magic Garden photos with my Fuji Natura Classica due to the low-light conditions. Yet every once in a while, a beam of sunlight will break through the canopy of trees, and there you have an enchanting lomo moment for any camera.
If one day at RenFest isn’t enough to quench your never-ending thirst for food, fun, entertainment, and rural beauty, you can camp out on the festival grounds and enjoy an entire weekend! The Texas Renaissance Festival provides the perfect escape from the nonstop high-speed city life of Houston, DFW, and Austin. Next time you’re in the Lone Star State for an autumn visit, check out everything that RenFest has to offer! You won’t be disappointed.