The Texas Renaissance Festival, or TRF, is a yearly fair that takes place in Todd Mission, Texas. A large multi-acre venue is transformed into the country's largest theme park where all the festivities take place.
It was started in 1974 when a group of locals converged at an abandoned strip-mining site. Back then, performances were put on by small theatre groups on three stages. There were no stalls or stands put up, and all the vendors sold their goods on blankets. Since its humble beginnings, the fair has grown exponentially. The venue now covers 55 acres of land, and the event is attended by over 500,000 guests every year.
TRF takes place on consecutive weekends, which are each given a different theme. These themes such as "All Hallows Eve," "Heroes and Villains," "Return to the Renaissance," and "Oktoberfest" are brought alive through the performances, games, food, and costumes featured that weekend.
There are over 20 stages set up all over the venue, where more than 500 actors in elaborate costumes perform. In addition to the stage shows, there are dozens of other entertainment options like carnival rides, food vendors, and a grand finale featuring fireworks.
General admission tickets go on sale a few months before the event. These are priced around $35 for adults and $20 for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Admission is free for children under the age of 12 on certain days.
You can get the tickets at discounted rates if you commit to the festival early and purchase them online. Once you've bought your tickets, no refunds or exchanges will be given. For more information and updates, check out the official festival website. Camping passes can also be purchased on the Texas Renaissance Festival website.
Todd Mission is about 55 miles away from Houston. Motorists may find the best routes from the north via Hwy TX-105, even if you begin in Houston. The Texas Renaissance Festival site rests along FM 1774 south of Plantersville in the City of Todd Mission.
If you plan on camping in your RV at the event, you'll need to head directly to the Fields of New Market Campground entrance, which is adjacent to the venue. Festival officials advise against following GPS directions once you near the event site but do offer the TRF app to help with current traffic conditions in the area.
Free general parking is available at the site, but these spots tend to fill up fast. It's a good idea to purchase a valet or preferred parking spot online in advance. Prices will be higher if you decide to buy a parking pass at the festival gates. ADA parking spots will be available close to the main entrance.
Most people choose to drive to the fair since the area doesn't have well-connected public transportation options. There will be plenty of private operators offering shuttles from Houston and other surrounding areas to the venue. You can also get there using a car rental service or a ride-hailing app.
RV camping is available at the 200 acre Fields of New Market Campground. You'll need an individual festival pass as well as a vehicle pass in order to camp here. There are no electrical or water hookups available on site, but campers will have access to a sewage pump station and potable water stations.
If having conveniences like hookups is important to you, you may want to consider one of the other campgrounds in the area. RV campers will find plenty of options to choose from within a 15-mile radius of the venue, and the nearest one is less than a mile away. The area is no stranger to guests taking an RV trip, and many facilities do come with full-hookups, big rig access, pull-thru sites, and Wifi.
Strollers, kid's wagons, electric scooters, and wheelchairs are allowed on the venue and are also available for rent at the front gate. If you plan on renting one of these, it's a good idea to do so early to avoid missing out on what you will need. The venue is fully accessible, and the terrain is hard-packed. This makes the grounds easy to navigate by wheelchairs and strollers.
Texas Renaissance Festival guests are encouraged to dress up in costumes that fit the theme of the weekend they choose. Child and adult costumes are also available for rent at the front gate. Get into the spirit of the fair by donning some Renaissance attire that strikes your interest and personality. Wear comfortable shoes or boots that go with your costume or rent these out as well.
You're likely to be strolling around outdoors for several hours, so pack a small bag with essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin. Most of the vendors accept credit cards, but it's a good idea to carry some cash as well. Peasants and kings will find plenty of ATMs located throughout the grounds.
The venue will be crowded since thousands of people visit the fair every day. Keep close to your group and stay alert, especially if you're with children. Designate a common meeting point and use the buddy system. It's also important to stay hydrated, so fill up your bottle at one of the drinking water stations present throughout the site.
Only fires lit in off the ground containers such as metal barrels or portable grills will be allowed in the camping areas. Fires must be supervised at all times, and officials request that campers avoid dumping any fire remains in the trash bins. If you plan on cooking on the stove in your RV, ensure that you have enough fuel and the right utensils before starting on your trip.
There are some quaint family-owned diners and cafes in the area. By dining at these, you'll not only enjoy a great meal and friendly service but also support small local businesses. If Mexican food, gourmet pizza, or creative comfort food are more up your alley, there some great eateries serving these as well in the Todd Mission community.
The quality and quantity of the food on offer is definitely one of the highlights of the Texas Renaissance Festival. There is something to suit every taste and budget. Apart from typical fair snacks like turkey legs and corn dogs, you'll also find more exotic offerings like Greek, Spanish, German, Polish, and Italian food.
Uniformed law enforcement personnel, as well as private officers, will be providing security at the event. Texas Renaissance Festival camping areas will be patrolled by officers around the clock. If you're with children, it's a good idea to give them a note or sticker with your contact information. This can come in handy if they get separated from your group.
The weather is often warm and sunny in the fall. If it does rain, official Texas Renaissance Festival ponchos will be sold throughout the venue, and there are a few covered areas for shelter. Be sure to download the TRF app for up to date information on the weather and road or traffic alerts. Alerts are also shared on the event's Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages.
Two first aid stations will be present on the festival grounds. These will be staffed with trained medical services teams. In the event of an emergency, you can ask for assistance at the nearest vendor stall. They will use their radios to get in touch with emergency personnel. Patrons with disabilities can get support and help at the information booth on site. Pharmacy and emergency medicine services may be harder to access in the nearby community due to increased traffic and the remote nature of the area.