For eight weekends in the fall, a troupe of performing fairies, knights, royal personas, and jugging fools set up camp on the 55-acre grounds of the Texas Renaissance Faire. For 38 years, the Festival has re-created the 16th century’s appealing combination of simplicity and grandeur with more than 200 daily performances of live music, acrobatic comedies, and jousting. Actors portraying different levels of society—such as the English court and the pirates—roam the lolling landscape in character while performing comedic and informative bits including “Sound and Fury,” a Shakespearean vaudeville. At noon the Grande Marche parade catapults performers from the Globe Stage for a stroll throughout the park as they advertise their acts in a high-toned procession.
On a less precise schedule, craftsmen concoct tangible marvels with skills of glassblowing and blacksmithing, while food purveyors wander the beaten paths or call from their booths, selling fare that ranges from sugar-coated nuts to roasted turkey legs. At close of day, fireworks light the sky to celebrate the festival's victory over time.
With tented performance areas throughout downtown Houston, this year's fest features a lineup of hundreds of performances from around the globe. Music acts include big names (Ozomatli, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic) alongside other talented musicians. Check out the entire schedule of events here. An abundant bounty of global cuisine with everything from Japanese to Jamaican fare, highlighted by vast offerings from this year's spotlighted Caribbean nations, will nourish the hungry crowds. The festival and the performances will proceed rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if it rains, and ride in on an umbrella if it doesn't.
If you want to find catfish, alligator, and frog legs all in one place, your best bet is the swamp. But if you want to find all three animals plus carnival rides and live music, then you'd be better off heading to Conroe in October. For 25 years, the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival has celebrated cooking traditions from the Lone Star State and its adjacent bayous, with gumbo and sausage to complement crispy fillets of its namesake fish.
Songs are almost as plentiful as snacks. On three stages and a performance space for kid-friendly shows, the fest showcases beloved bands playing sets that range from country to Beatles covers. Carnival rides, craft booths, and contests fill the rest of the fest with family-friendly activities, such as mechanical-bull rides and a non-mechanical petting zoo.
It all started with one Girl Scout. Demme Durrett was just a freshman when she founded the Human Rights Walk & Festival, a gathering that would eventually turn into her Gold Award project and draw more than 2,000 people. At the event's heart is an all-ages and handicapped-accessible walk that gives participants fresh air and an education in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights via an outdoor exhibit of artwork, posters, and essays that illustrate the U.N.'s 30 Basic Human Rights. But the walk is only the beginning of this outing, which also features live music, guest speakers sharing inspiring stories, and festival activities for the entire family.
The annual Texas Crawfish and Music Festival draws musicians as well as, per its name, plenty of expert crawfish boilers. They serve their piping hot crawdads to the crowd, along with barbecue, pizza, and other classic festival foods. When patrons aren't dancing or washing down seafood with cold beer, they're shrieking with glee on the grounds' carnival rides, a pleasant alternative to the world's oldest ride, crowd-surfing.