Out of all 268,597 sprawling square miles of Texas, the biggest city closest to our state’s Renaissance Festival is Houston (sorry to our beloved frenemies, Austin and Dallas). Not to brag, but the Texas Renaissance Festival is Texas-sized — it’s the largest Renaissance Festival in the entire country. The Renaissance Festival is basically an excuse to nerd out as hard as possible and celebrate all things fantastical. Were dragons and fairies real parts of history? No. Have queer people, trans people, and gender non-conforming people always existed throughout history? Yup! And it is of the utmost importance to add even more queens to the festival population henceforth.

Pick a Theme

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Every weekend has a different theme, like Pirate Adventure (October 19 & 20th), All Hallows Eve (26th & 27th), and Barbarian Invasion (November 16th & 17th —  bring your hottest sheepskin loincloth and prepare to plunder). Some loosely correspond with holidays (Celtic Christmas, November 29th & 30th) and some are just for funsies. You can take that theme as a starting point for a costume or just throw on your favorite weekday beer wench dress and head out. Just try to dress for the weather, because Ren Fest is on rain or shine!

Plan Ahead

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The more recent trend is glamping on the festival grounds over the weekend. With over 55 acres of pure festival, there’s also over 200 acres of camping facilities. This is a cleaner, cuter, dorkier Woodstock situation. Houston may be the closest big city to the festival, but it is definitely still in the boonies, so a little staycation adventure can be wise. Groups of 15 or more get discounted tickets, and if kids are in tow, they have a ton of awesome things to do that are fun for the whole family. People literally get married here, so if you’re wary of a bit of camp, just know that the biggest Renaissance Festival in the country is well-prepared for visitors — they’ve been at this for 45 years now!

Activities

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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There are over 400 food items served at the festival, along with shops, performances, games, rides, and sometimes even celebs (rumor has it that the Budweiser Clydesdale horses are currently being hounded by ye olde paparazzi) so whether your itinerary is packed or if you’re just game to explore the grounds and see what you find, you won’t be disappointed. The setup is almost Disney-Land-esque with small carts frying up funnel cakes (absolutely necessary) and entire inns with full menus. Looking to drink? There are pub crawls and Scotch tastings. Looking to cosplay? You can rent a costume. Looking to grub down? There are literally eating contests. Catch live music, theatrical performances, dancers, live combat like at Medieval Times, plus ice cream. So go forth, ye brave adventurers, and get yourselves a turkey leg.