Sunday, October 11, 2015

The 2015 Texas Renaissance Festival has Begun! Huzzah!

Yep, it's been awhile. I took a break from blogging due to academic duties getting in the way. Published a paper, wrote a grant, grant was funded (meaning it's now time to do the work), hosted an international conference, and all the normal day to day duties of administration, curriculum development, and mentoring research fellows. Blogging took a back seat to it all.

Not new for this year, but still my TRF breakfast of choice: a nutella, strawberry, and banana crepe. To find the vendor, when you enter the festival go to the left and walk along the left-most side of shops. You'll find them just before you get to the brewery. Also, the crepe pairs beautifully with the Brigadoon Brewery Black Plague Imperial Stout. Brewed on-site at the festival. If strong stouts aren't your thing, they have other beers, as well as exceptional craft beer from around Texas.
I've just now gotten caught up on almost All The Things and have a wee bit o' time to post on some of the things I've seen and done since June. Starting with the beginning of Texas Renaissance Festival season!  I've blogged before on the festival. It's a lot of fun. And this year I'm experiencing the ren fest with a playtron group (playtrons are ren fest fans). I'll blog on them only if they're okay with it. As of yet I haven't asked 'em.

Belly dancing might seem like a strange thing to have at a Renaissance festival, but it has become a modern tradition due to the inclusiveness of ren fests around the US and around the world to all kinds of artists. 
So what's new at TRF for 2015? The Greek area now has really nice concrete tables and chairs. You might also notice the baklava is now $7, but it's also supersized (sorry the picture didn't turn out). It's 3 times the size of previous years. I prefer mine with pistachios, but the ones at TRF this year were quite delicious.

New tables replace the wooden ones that were rotting.

New benches. 

Signs! Always helpful things to have.  And, yes, the biergarten remains.
There's a new area for retail that also includes a new pizzeria.  This is now the Florence Market and can be found where the mud pit used to be, near the wedding chapels and water gardens.

The Florence Market has tent-like structures. Most of the vendors are artists and craft-persons. 

Ogres toes.

Ask this person about the ogres toes. There's a story involved.

The new Florentine stage.
With so much amazing food elsewhere in the festival I wasn't in the mood for pizza. But there's a new pizzeria in the Florence Market if you get the hankerin'.

I noticed a new structure near the Florence Market. They sell magic wands.

Inside I was actually surprised at the really nice workmanship. Some of them even have compartments for "inner cores" of "phoenix feathers"and other items. No one tell my niece and nephew about this until after Christmas. :-) 
Not new, but awesome every year are the gardens. I suppose you could consider them new because many of the plants are the high-maintenance annual variety. And new planters and arrangements were added for this year. There are quiet spots throughout if you wish to get away from the crowds in a shade-filled area.

An orchid garden. I can't even keep orchids alive in my house. They must have some people with mad gardening skillz on staff.
Also not new is the Prince of Wales Pub. This is another place to cool off if it's hot out. They have air conditioning.

You can get food in addition to drinks at the Prince of Wales Pub, including the prime rib trencher, which is not available anywhere else at the festival. 

I tried a new to me beer. This was brewed in Germany and imported. It was alright. Not my favorite hefe or German beer. But it was refreshing.

No trip to TRF is complete without seeing at least one of Tartanic's shows. 

Do not wear wings if you intend on doing a lot of shopping. It's really hard to turn around without smacking people or knocking over displays. However they do look wicked cool.
Most ren fests have an evening Pub Sing. The one at TRF is at the Sea Devil Tavern and is presided over by the pirates. Yaaarrrrrr! Get your drink on and belt out some tunes before the fireworks start.
The 2015 Texas Renaissance Festival carries on the tradition of a great time out in Todd Mission, Texas. If you go, please check out my previously blogged pointers. Additionally:

1. Make sure you stay hydrated. That means for every alcoholic beverage you down, drink an entire bottle of water. If you don't want to pay $3.50 a bottle for water, bring a water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountains outside each restroom.

2. This year kids 12 and under are admitted free on Sundays. There are many kid-friendly activities, including games and kid-friendly shows. There are also kid-friendly foods like pasta, pizza, fruit juice, etc.

3. The festival doesn't end until the final 3 booms of the fireworks show. It looks completely different after dark and most of the shops stay open until those final 3 booms.

4. If you drink, designate a driver and get home safely.