Renaissance festivals honor the unsung souls who competed in jousting tournaments for honor, glory, and feature-length film roles. Cheer on yesterday’s action heroes with today’s Groupon: for $18, you get one Saturday and one Sunday pass to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville (up to a $35 value). The fest takes place every weekend from October 8 to November 27. Children ages 4 and younger are admitted free, and those ages 5–12 are admitted with children's passes, which start at $6 plus an online ticket fee for a single-day entrance.
For eight weekends, the Texas Renaissance Festival transforms a 60-acre piece of Plantersville into a bustling 16th century community replete with live entertainment, hefty platters of international fare, and more than 340 stores that line cobblestone walkways. The regal toot-toots of a brass ensemble evoke the pomp of the royal court, and the Sturdy Beggars’ mud-slathered antics can cause both raucous laughter and soft, exfoliated skin. Lance-wielding knights and colorfully costumed steeds thunder through the arena during bouts of jousting, between which customers may try brandishing their own blades during a workshop with the Dresden-based School of Sword. After a long day of past-inspired revelry, visit a merchant stand to peruse pottery, metalwork, and other memorabilia before kicking up the galoshes to take in the royal fireworks.
To honor the diversity of the epoch known as the Renaissance, each weekend of the festival plays on a different theme. Frosty tankards froth at Oktoberfest (October 8–9), and patterned kilts, bagpipes, and burst barometric-pressure gauges bedeck the Highland Fling (November 12–13). Use your separate Saturday and Sunday passes to taste-test the delights of two separate weekends or double-dip with two consecutive days of revelry. While not included in this deal, hotel packages and shuttle service are also available.
Though the Texas Renaissance Festival features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available for an adult weekend pass.
Texas Renaissance Festival
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.