The day my husband bought his first kilt at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, I knew we would be a Renn Faire family! Since then, we have never missed a year of visiting the fun, family-friendly festival! Here’s my 15 tips for visiting the Festival! Huzzah!
Scarborough is one of those places you can spend ALL day, but you need to come prepared!
Enjoy my tips and pictures through the years!
Know Before You Go
- Parking is FREE!
- Wear close-toed shoes, really. I love my sandals but you’ll appreciate the advice.
- Don’t forget sunscreen
- It’s a big place, bring a stroller or wagon for younger children.
- Dress in layers. They are open rain or shine, so check the forecast.
- SRF doesn’t allow outside food and drinks, but be sure to leave an ice chest in the car with cold water, you’ll want it when you leave!
- Pack some baby wipes, even if you don’t have a baby. You’ll be surprised how many times you just want to wipe down your hands from all the delicious food.
- Yes, you can purchase tickets at the door, but they are significantly less expensive online!
- Parking is FREE.
3. Traffic There’s nothing you can do about the long lines of traffic to get into Scarborough, but planning ahead will help you. Come early, leave late, and pack your patience. The good news is that the traffic really does keep moving, and the line isn’t as bad as it looks!
4. Plan Your Day Check the Daily Schedule and plan your day around the shows you really want to see! The Joust is my favorite, and we plan everything around it!
5. Take Cash
While most of the vendors accept credit cards, almost all the food, drink and games are cash only.
Also, remember to tip the performers you really enjoy! For most, this is the only way they make money.
6. Don’t Miss the Opening Cannon
Of course, it’s also great to meet King Henry VIII and his Queen! They spend the day walking about, meeting visitors! They do open the festival each morning at the gates, and preside over the Jousting Tournament.
7. There’s No GPS in the Middle Ages
Be sure you get a map to find your way around the festival, and be sure to arrive early to the shows you want to see so you get a good seat!
8. Dress for the Occasion
When you visit SRF, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the guest from the festival performers, because LOTS of people go all out dressing up! You can even rent a costume when you arrive. I like to make it easy and the kids get to purchase one new thing to add to their costume, because it’s so much fun to go in the shops and try on the different clothing, hats, scarves, etc. However, most of the vendors DO NOT allow photos unless you purchase.
Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, either. Younger children will love wearing last year’s Princess or Pirate costume! We even spotted a Mario this year.
9. Birds of Prey
We NEVER miss the Birds of Prey Show! It’s a terrific show with great birds and it’s fun and educational with a strong dose of conservation! John Karger is a wonderful speaker! Arrive early to sit close to the front for the best views!
The Birds of Prey Show is brought by Last Chance Forever, a non-profit organization based in San Antonio that travels the state and country educating the public about these incredible raptors! LCF also works to rehabilitate about 300 injured birds that they receive each year! Click HERE to visit their website.
10. The Joust
What I came to see was the jousting, because of the horses…? Anyway, the knights were GREAT! I love when the swords clash and sparks fly! The fight was tremendous, as they rolled on the ground and in the mud! Afterwards, the knights came out to say hello, and when I asked for a picture with my daughter, they gathered round very close, covering her in mud! It was great!
Arrive early to get a good seat for the Joust!
There are over 200 shops and vendors at the festival! From costume shops to toys, there is something for everyone! In fact, there are so many it’s almost overwhelming. Do yourself a favor and check out the list of shops online at their website, so you know the ones you DO NOT want to miss!
Many of the shops offer opportunities to watch the artisans at work! There are over 20 vendors that offer demonstrations. We love watching the glass blowers!
Most of the shops will hold your purchases until the end of the day.
Casteel Galleries has beautiful fountains. My husband calls it the Dragon Garden and we stop to see his new works every year.
You might find something you NEVER knew you needed!
12, Activities and Games
While your ticket does get you into the shows, there are lots of things that cost additional money. I always find it works best to give the kids each some spending money, and let them decide how and where to spend it. They understand that when it’s gone, they aren’t going to get anything else from me.
My boys always look forward to fighting each other!
They fight with soft swords, and the winner is who can pop all 3 balloons. It’s so much fun to cheer them on!
One of my kids highlights was getting to ride an elephant!
Not only do they have elephants and camels you can ride, but there are also ponies and even llamas! My son was thrilled to get to ride the llama!
Cost was not included in ticket price.
From turkey legs to Scotch Eggs, there are amazing things to eat at the festival! We absolutely LOVE the Scotch Eggs, a hard boiled eggs wrapped with sausage, breaded and deep-fried! The chicken on a stick is grilled, slightly spicy and very good.
Outside food and drinks are not allowed, but there are picnic tables near the parking lot if you want to pack a picnic lunch.
You are allowed to bring water and food for infants/toddlers.
A big thanks to Scarborough Renaissance Festival for providing tickets for myself and my family to visit! I was not financially compensated for this review, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Scarborough Renaissance Festival
2511 FM 56 Waxahachie, TX.
Click HERE to visit their website
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