Texas Renaissance Festival is a magical place that’s a great day or weekend destination for the entire family, even during our current pandemic situation! Just as it has for the past 45 years, the woods North of Houston will come alive with the sounds of merriment and cheer this October and November, as the Texas Renaissance Festival returns with knights, fair maidens, entertainers and even the King and Queen themselves! Over 60 acres are filled with entertainers, artisans and shops, characters and amazing food and drink!
The Texas Renaissance Festival is the largest renaissance festival in the nation, and in a pre-Covid world, drew over 500,000 visitors each year! 2020 will definitely be different, but TRF is working to ensure limited capacity, social distancing, and every sanitation effort possible!
While the Renaissance period was definitely not without it’s plagues, the Black Death of the Late Middle Ages was starting to wain during this period, and the sadness and depression it had brought was lightened by the love of art, music and culture during the Renaissance! Lighten your burdens and come out for a day of fanciful fun where you can let your imagination soar!
Thank You to the Texas Renaissance Festival who has provided myself and my family with tickets for several years to the TRF, as well as tickets for giveways on my social media sites. I was not financially compensated for this post, and as always, all opinions are my own.
1. Buy Your Tickets Online In 2020, tickets will not be sold at the gate, except for student and military discounts, which require proof at the point of sale, or can be purchased over the phone at 800-458-3435. Ticket sales will be limited this year due to capacity limits. Please go online to purchase your tickets, or you can purchase at HEB Grocery Stores beginning September 1st, and check Groupon for discounted tickets. There are also Group Discounts for 15+, and must be purchased in advance. Keep in mind that all tickets are weekend specific, so you’ll want to decide which weekend you are going, and check that week’s themes! You can purchase preferred or valet parking online, but if you don’t mind a short walk, General Parking is FREE!
Here’s a Tip: Opening Weekend is a LITTLE CHEAPER than the rest of the weekends!
2. Plan Your Day Before You Go There are so many amazing shows and things to do at the Texas Renaissance Festival that it really helps to plan out, or at least look at, the schedule before you go! If there’s something that you definitely DO NOT want to miss, like The Joust, then you need to work your schedule around it! Once you start planning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at all there is to do, so I suggest just picking a couple things you can’t miss, and then arranging your visit based on that schedule. We usually let everyone in our family pick one thing that they most want to see or do!
Here’s a Tip: The Grande Marche Parade takes place daily at noon in the New Market Village and is a fun and festive
3. What To Bring Hand Sanitizer, Antibacterial or regular wipes, cash for tipping the entertainment, sunscreen, an umbrella (TRF is a rain or shine event!)
Outside food and drinks are not allowed. You can bring in one unopened bottle of water per guest, but there are not water fountains to refill your bottle.
Here’s a Tip: Don’t forget your best Huzzah! Huzzah is a joyful exclamation commonly used during the 15th and 16th century, even by the Bard!
4. Go Early Crowds are just going to be so much more manageable early in the mornings, and traffic is much lighter! Plus, it’s cooler!
The TRF starts each day with the Greeting from the King and Queen at 8:45am at the Main Gate, followed by the opening cannon at 9am! Some people would never dream of missing the Opening Cannon!
5. Getting There Traffic to the Festival can be overwhelming, too! It’s another great reason to go EARLY! The Festival opens at 9am. A couple of our favorite restaurants in the area are The Toasted Yolk Cafe in Conroe or the Magnolia Diner in Magnolia.
Traffic is heaviest coming from Houston, so we usually come up to Conroe on I-45, exit 105 East, and head to Plantersville, then turn left onto FM 1774. There’s still traffic, but not near as much!
6. What To Wear DRESS UP!!! Really, it’s so much more fun when you’re all dressed up, or even a little dressed up! Check the theme weekend you’re going, but the greatness of a Renaissance Festival is it really doesn’t matter how you dress up, just dress up! Be a Mermaid! Be a Pirate! Wear a Kilt, or your Lederhosen. Be a Fairy, an Elf or a Unicorn! Dress like an Arabian Princess! Grab the sheet off your bed and wear a toga! Dress up as Death coming in on the Black Plague! Or Dracula! In the true spirit of the Renaissance, it’s not what you wear but how artistically and expressively you wear it! There are Costume Contest every weekend, too! Unlike years past, there will not be costume rentals for 2020.
But for comfort, dress lightly on hot days, and wear comfortable, closed toe shoes.
7. What About Covid-19? Will I Need a Mask? The short answer is YES! Bring your mask! You may not need to wear it all the time, but you need to bring it! Mask will be required in lines for food, in shops and anytime social distancing is not possible! There will be prizes throughout the day for the most creative mask, too!
Here’s a Tip: Don’t let your mask stop you from interacting with the characters! While they will be maintaining 6′ social distancing, you can still have a great time talking and posing for pictures which will hopefully be always remembered as the 2020 Tex Ren Faire!
8. Food and Dining
The food at the TRF is amazing! We all pick something we really love. Don’t miss the scotch eggs! The food can be expensive, so plan ahead.
No outside food or drinks are allowed inside, however you can get your hand stamped and go back to your car for a picnic lunch/dinner. If you are spending all day (and you should) I’d recommend eating one meal plus snacks at the festival and another as a picnic. Each section of the park offers different fare.
While many of the vendors take credit cards, especially not, it never hurts to have cash on hand. There are ATMs on site, as well.
New for 2020, TRF will have more table seating, so visitors can spread out to eat. Since eating is a mask-free activity, they are asking patrons to enjoy their food more while seated. Of course, you’re still going to walk around with a soda and kettle corn, but for those big, meaty turkey legs, Get A Table!
There are also 190 hand sanitizing stations throughout the 60 acre park, too!
9. Shopping Where else can you buy a tiara off a skull? There is so much to see and purchase. Many of the shops will hold for you until you are heading home.
Here’s a Tip: Bring a big bag to carry small purchases.
10. Rides and Games Bring cash for the rides and games, too!
11. The Royal Joust
The Joust is one of the highlights for us, and you need to be sure to schedule yourself plenty of time to get there and get a good seat! Afterwards, you can go back to see the knights and horses, who will even pose with you for $5 picture!
12. The Fire Show
Held in The Arena, to me this is the highlight of the festival! The Fire Show is amazing, but plan your day so you arrive in plenty of time to get good seats. We sat down 30 minutes before the show on the first row, stage right. If possible, I think the best seating is in the center, though. The Fireworks show takes place immediately afterwards, which also signals the end of the Festival day! We were all very pleased with the fireworks, as well!
13. Special Events
The King’s Feast Described to me as Dinner with Cinderella at Disney World, except for adults. For 2020, it is part of the Golden Ticket, and at $299/person, it’s pricey! It’s even more expensive when you can only purchase them in quantities of 4, 5 or 6. Purchase your tickets well in advance!
Airy Botter & the Sorcery School Headmaster’s Office Escape Room Escape into this fun, air-conditioned challenge that the whole family will enjoy! A playful parody of the popular characters, you’ll have fun racing the clock to escape the room! Purchase online in advance.
14. TRF After Dark Due to Covid-19, TRF After Dark will not take place this year! For 21 and over, and while we didn’t go, we watched! Guest arrive dressed in amazing costumes, and almost everyone wears a mask! We did get to go inside the TRF ballroom the next morning, which feels like you are walking into a dream!
TRF has over 200 acres for camping, including tent, RV and even glamping tents and cabins!
You MUST have a ticket to the festival to enter the campgrounds. We had planned to set up our campsite first, but by the time we parked, walked up and purchased our ticket, the kids just wanted to go to the festival! We didn’t go back tot he campground until the festival was over. We still had a really nice campsite, but we missed the really best ones!
There are 2 camping areas, the family/quiet and the “party” area. They suggested to us that we camp in the family area, and walk over to the party/main campground for the bonfire, etc. The BEST campsites are in the family area, and this is where most of the performers camp, too. Try to get a site near the trees, far away from the downside being you are right near the road, but far away from the TRF After Dark. We were able to hear the very loud music at the TRF After Dark until 1am, and then we could still hear the music from the bonfire hours later!
Once we had our camp ready, we walked up to the bonfire, which was just incredible! Thousands of people camp, so you never get that close to the fire, but the entertainers from the Fire Show came out and put on another show, just for fun, around the bonfire, which was incredible! There were lots of kids running around, but I’m sure it became less and less family friendly as the night progressed. A food vendor sold pizza, burgers and chicken, as well as plenty of beer! We had almost as much fun looking as the decorated campsites around the fire as we did the entertainers and party-goers!
There is a store at the front of the campground that sells essentials, including tents and chairs, and some pre-packaged breakfast items.
There was a burn ban on open ground fires, a common thing in October. The store sells fire rings, or bring one from home.
RESTROOMS are located near the store and around the camping grounds, and there is a main shower house, too.
Texas Renaissance Festival
21778 FM 1774, Todd Mission
Click HERE to visit their website.
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