Saturday, my wife and I attended the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia, about an hour outside of Houston. Mind blown.
I’ve been to renaissance festivals. This is no ordinary Ren Fest. First of all, it’s permanent. Second, it’s like walking around a small town. The site covers 55 acres. We made a mistake by not buying the program/map because it took us 20 minutes to find our way out after a few hours walking around. And I’m still pretty sure we didn’t see every part of the park.
There were the usual medieval costumes, crusaders, barbarians, kings, queens, dandies, and pirates. Since it was also Halloween weekend, there were plenty of scary costumes as well. I saw a centaur and multiple men wearing nothing but a loincloth (and judging by the length of the cloth, I’m not sure they wore underwear either). So many people were dressed up and acting of their time period that I don’t know who worked there and who was just visiting.
What really got me were the permanent buildings. If only there were more mud and wild animals on the ground, I felt like I was in a real renaissance era village. Well, maybe not renaissance era. Certain parts of the park represent ancient Greece, pirates, England, Germany, etc. We walked through a large magical garden cut out of the woods, where I almost walked through the middle of a bridal photo. Oh yes, you can get married at the chapel.
No surprise, I didn’t go into the petting zoo, but we did spend a few minutes watching kids ride the camels and elephants. You heard that right, camels and elephant rides.
Not to mention the usual type of fair rides and carousels. I especially enjoyed the drench the wench dunking booth, where two drunk cackling harpies were more annoying than the wench. Another nice touch was the stockade where you could throw tomatoes at the village nuisance.
It wouldn’t be a renaissance festival review without mention of the food. For better or worse, I didn’t eat the infamous festival turkey leg, opting instead for the shorter line with chicken pot pies–King Henry sold those. We also shared a very medieval brownie a la mode. Everything looked good except for the steak on a stick and the Greek noodles, which I’m pretty sure was veggie lo mein.
I didn’t buy anything, but I was awfully tempted by the wooden mugs. Shopping consists of four major categories: drinking utensils, weaponry, jewelry, and clothing. My wife wasn’t into the leather corsets.
All in all, it was quite an extravaganza, and much more than I ever expected. I highly recommend a trip out to Magnolia if you’ve got the chance. And if you want to stay all day, eat, drink, and be merry, you can even set up a campsite on the property. Now that’s a full service Renaissance Festival!