From the beginning of April to the end of May, a dusty Texas pasture in Waxahachie is awoken from its year-long slumber to 'throw wide the gates' to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. The setting is the 16th century with King Henry XIII on the throne, and the Festival offers continuous entertainment, unusual arts and crafts, fabulous food, and family fun.
Families will want to arrive early in the day to take advantage of the cooler weather and get a front row seat for the opening ceremony. King Henry and his court give a pronunciation filled with fun and humor and then with a loud cannon boom the gates are thrown open to let the merriment begin. The opening ceremony sets a jovial tone for the day and kids enjoy the spectacle.
Other not to be missed festivities includes the Grande Parade and the Joust. The Grande Parade, complete with the entire cast of characters parades through the center of the festival. The parade can be viewed easily anywhere along the parade route, but the best viewing is near Carillion Stage where you can listen to the bells as you wait for the parade.
Games and Rides
If you have an animal lover, you will find something at the Faire to delight and entertain. The Royal Falconer offers a regal and amazing introduction to falconry. If that’s a bit too serious for your taste, check out the Turtle Races, where you are guaranteed a giggle. After watching the animals, you may want to get up close and personal. A petting zoo is perfect for the little ones, while older kids may enjoy a ride on a camel or gallant war horse. If you want a truly unique experience, head over to elephants for an opportunity to ride a gentle giant.
Take any food, skewer it with a stick and it is not just food, but Renaissance victuals. In fact, the Scarborough Renaissance Festival has the most food on a stick of any venue in Texas. It is impossible to go hungry at the Festival. If you are watching your budget, bring along a sack lunch, but if you would like to sample the Renaissance fare, check out the Royal Kitchens. Enjoy your meal under the shade trees as the kids play on the playground or take a turn with the juggling sticks.
~ Ye Olde Giant Slab of Meat~
Family Fun Entertainment
You could attend the faire for days and never see all the performances available. Families will find many performances that are perfect for a day of entertainment, but be aware that some shows are not family friendly. In years past, families were on their own to discover the appropriateness, or lack thereof in the various shows. Many a family would wander unknowingly into a show and soon be seen scurrying away while covering their kids ears. Now, the show program very clearly lists the shows that are PG-13. Families can assume that all other shows will be PG, which means that there may be some adult humor that will go right over most kid's heads.
Here are some of our favorites:
Don Juan and Miguel have been performing at Scarborough as long as we have been attending, which is close to two decades. They are the main stage performers and are a must see for whip cracking, sword fighting, side splitting action.
Adam Crack and the Fire Whip Show is an award winning show that features whips and fire. Adam Crack is as quick with his whip as he is with his wit, and his show is top notch amazing. He also holds several world records for various whip cracking displays. This is a limited engagement and does not show throughout the entire fair, but is not to be missed.
Daniel Duke of Danger entertains with self deprecating humor and unbelievable stunts without a net. From the kids, this performance earns two thumbs up for funny and extra side of just plain weird.
Just for Kids
Scarborough has plenty to offer that is just for the wee ones. Nature of Mercy is a highly energetic and interactive sword fighting comedy show that teaches children the power of honor and compassion. At the end of the festival, your lords and ladies will delight in the knighting ceremony by King Henry XIII and Queen Margaret. Don't miss the Maypole dancing midday for a unique, although hilariously complicated Renaissance pastime.
Wacky and Weird
The Mythical and Monster Museum is filled with all manner of monsters from tiny fairies to unicorns and krakens. The monsters and the weapons used for capture are displayed in an intriguing, but slightly creepy manner. If you are an eight year old boy the best part is when mom goes screaming from the exhibit because she is caught off guard by the shaking box. Every single time.
~A Few of the Relics in the Mythlogical Monsters Musuem~
Scarborough Renaissance Festival begins in April and runs every weekend through Memorial Day from 10am-7pm. Visit the website for more information on the schedule of events.