Texas Renaissance Festival
The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) started in 1974 on the location of an old strip mining site. The Texas Festival claims to be “the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park.” The festival sits on 55 acres of land and offers camping facilities to patrons. The festival welcomes half a million guests annually.
The Festival was founded in 1974 by George Coulam and his brother David Coulam. At the time, it spanned only fifteen acres, with three stages featuring small improv theatre groups, and merchants selling their goods on blankets. The opening year saw a turn-out of 33,000, nearly a twentieth of the turnout of 2012.
Each of the eight weekends of the festival takes on a different theme, influencing the performances, costumes, food, drink, art, shops, contests, and games throughout the festival grounds.
- Oktoberfest: German theme, including polka music and dancing, and the serving of traditional German beer.
- 1001 Dreams: Fantasy theme, encouraging lavish costumes of wizards, fairies, and elves and including several fantastical contests, such as scavenger hunts and costume contests.
- All Hallows Eve: Medieval Halloween theme, including spooky decorations and contests, such as jack-o-lantern carving contests, to celebrate the holiday.
- Pirate Adventure: Pirate theme, encouraging pirate costumes and including several sea-related games and contests.
- Roman Bacchanal: Roman theme, encouraging Roman costumes and hosting several Roman-themed contests and games such as toga contests and spaghetti eating contests.
- Barbarian Invasion: Medieval Barbarian theme, encouraging costumes of medieval barbarians and including “barbaric” contests such as the “Barbarian Battle Cry” contest and eating contests.
- Highland Fling: Scottish theme, encouraging traditional Scottish costumes and including bagpipe-playing and traditional Scottish food and drink.
- Celtic Christmas: Christmas theme, including Christmas decorations and music, and featuring Christmas-themed contests such as “Candy Cane Hunt” and “Guess the Present” contests.