On Friday of Halloween weekend ’09, five of us piled into a van and drove for about 8 hours (counting frequent rest stops) from the southern border area of Texas to the town of Tom Ball, where we had motel rooms reserved. It would be another 30-minute drive to Plantersville, outside the Houston metro area, where the Texas Renaissance Festival has been located for the past 35 years. The idea was to get there early the next morning for Opening Ceremonies–and to get a parking place within a half-mile of the entrance!
My daughter and our friends had decided to treat me, as a late birthday present, to the King’s Feast, a 2-hour 6-course meal with live entertainment upon the stage in the castle. I had brought my costume–a wizard’s robe and pointed hat over what passed for a peasant dress and short black boots. Everyone else chickened out and did not bring their Renaissance garb, but they thought I looked good in mine, and I was happy to finally have a chance to wear it.
I had brought along my walking buddy, a 4-wheel walker with a seat. I had been training for several weeks for this weekend by walking with the 4WW for a mile in my neighborhood every day that I could. And on Halloween Saturday, my training paid off. Although I must have looked a bit odd pushing this modern device, I was able to walk for 2 or 3 miles without getting a backache or becoming short of breath, as I would have done without it.
It is not possible to see everything on the 42-acre Texas Renaissance Festival grounds in one day, and I did not try. I took a few pictures of the building fronts and the people, both of festival performers and vendors, and of the strolling attendees, most of whom were in costume–some of which were both intricate and elaborate in their authenticity. I did enjoy the King’s Feast, served by very pleasant wenches, with plenty of good food and an abundance of ale. We banged our forks on the edges of the pewter plates to show our appreciation for the gypsy and belly dancers, and the one young ballet master whose leaps and pirouettes could not be tamed to the minuet style.
Later at a leather shoppe, I bought a circlet to wear around my head, and I put away the pointed hat for the rest of the day.
The day ended with a fireworks show, and we were already making plans to come again next year. Stiff and bone-tired, I made it to the van, which actually was at least a half-mile from the entrance, I swear!