The Scarborough Renaissance Festival returns to Waxahachie
On Saturday, April 10, the Scarborough Renaissance Festival reopened its doors in celebration of its 40th anniversary for opening weekend.
Last year, the festival was unable to open its doors to celebrate its big 4-0 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We closed down two weeks before are scheduled opening. It could not have been worst timing for us. Initially, we had postponed it for four weeks, hoping that we could run it in May at the time, and then as we got closer to April, we realized, 'OK this thing is getting worse and there's just no way we could do it'. So we completely closed down."
This year, in its return, the 35 acres of land are filled with many characters, visitors and shops with items found from the Renaissance era.
The Scarborough Renaissance Festival will run Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day Monday, April 10 – May 31, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at its grounds at 2511 FM 66 in Waxahachie.
Helaine Thompson, director of marketing and communications, guided the Daily Light around the festival to see the variety in shops and shows.
"We just have a different array of entertainment that takes place. And you'll also see we have over 200 shops we have laid out throughout the entire festival site," shared Thompson.
The festival is made up of three parts: Holly Field, Crown Meadow and Pecan Grove.
Styling and Dressing Up
One of the many things the festival is known for is the style of dressing, which includes corsets.
Scarlet's Corset, a corset shop, is now under new ownership with Kitty Vinson running the business this season.
"I am the new owner. This is my first weekend out here. I am extremely excited. So whenever someone comes in we give them the rundown, like, have you worn a steel corset before, because it is a new experience for many people," Vinson said. "We do measurements per person. We figure out what their corset size is based on their measurement, do a fitting so we can play around and see. Everyone has a different squish on their bodies. We play dress up, and we can figure out what someone needs for their body types."
The price ranges from each corset, starting at $139 and going up to $280 for a leather corset.
"Scarlet's Corset is based around high quality silk corsetry. Our specialty is under-bussed corsets and varying silks and we also have some cottons and leathers. We also have our chemises and the camisoles and Renaissance skirts that coordinate with our corsets," stated Vinson. "Chemises are the old word for blouses. The chemise goes underneath your corset, and you also have the Renaissance skirts to go with that as well."
The festival has a themed weekend every weekend it's live. The first weekend, the theme was Travel Back in Time/Kid’s Free. This next weekend coming up, the theme is Artisan’s Showcase Weekend.
In the festival, there are easily more than 200 shops made up of artisans who have unique hand-made items.
One artisan in particular, Stephen Bennett, has been a part of the festival since 1982.
He hand makes each item for his shop called Stephen-Bennett Pottery. From mugs to vases to bowls, the shop includes a diverse selection.
Some items that were in the process of being complete were visible toward the back of his shop. Bennett stated, "They'll be ready next weekend."
There are many sword and glass creations, each carefully crafted to create a unique piece of art.
According to Thompson, new artisan pieces have to go through a jury process to see if they will be accepted for the festival.
Performances and entertainment
Throughout the six weeks of the festival, there are many live shows available for visitors to attend.
"From a performance standpoint, we have jugglers, we have dancers, we have musicians, we have belly dancers. We have a brand new performer this year, a sword swallow, which is really wild to see," Thompson said.
One of the more well known performers is Adam Winrich, known for his fire whipping show. He has been a part of the festival for 10 seasons.
Winrich goes by his stage name, Adam Crack, and holds the record for most fire whip cracks with two whips in one minute, which is 314, according to the Guinness world records. He completed this in Todd Mission, Texas, on Nov. 16, 2019.
Performers come from all over the country to be a part of this festival, according to Thompson.
"I ran into (one of) our performers a little while ago and asked him how his first show had gone, and he said, 'Unbelievable. The first time somebody clapped I started tearing up.' ... They've been missing the audience so much, and the fact that we come in and do this has been amazing," Thompson said. "Everyone has been super excited, and they also feel like they're out of shape for this, because normally we go from Scarborough to Screams to Scarborough. We finish one up, we spend three to four weeks wrapping up, and we turn around and start working on the other one."
In Pecan Grove, the jousting occurs three times a day, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Joust Arena.
Additionally there are unique showings, such as a rat circus and a mermaid lagoon.
The festival also includes rides, however these rides are unique as opposed to others in amusement parks. These are Renaissance rides, which means they're all human powered. Each ride is operated by people who push spin.
Food for Foodies
"We have also have five food courts. Our specialty of course are our turkey legs. We also have our own bakery that is handmade pastries. They get up at 3:30 in the morning and start baking. We also have a pasta palace. He makes handmade pasta every week, and each week there's a different selection of pasta," Thompson shared.
If the turkey leg is unappealing to some, folks can take a chance on the copious choices of food on a stick the festival has to offer.
"We have the largest food on a stick selection in Texas. If you can put it on a stick, we put it on a stick. We have everything from chicken to sausage, we have macaroni and cheese, we have fruit, we have vegetables ... we do peanut butter pie on a stick and key lime pie on a stick," Thompson said.
For adults in attendance, the festival has 12 pubs and taverns accessible. Twice a day everyday, there are full beer and wine tastings.
Food booths and games are cash only.
For any first-timers deciding to take on the festival, Thompson recommends people wander around rather than planning to go from event to event because they'll miss many of the details the festival has to offer.
"What I recommend is to actually roam the site because that's when you discover different types of entertainers. It really makes it more fun when you kind of stumble upon this one and this one, instead of running back and forth across this site," Thompson explained. "For the most part, there's really no way you could do everything in this festival in one day. A single weekend is a stretch."
There are many ticket options available to be purchased.
Advance One Day Tickets:
Adult (ages 13+):
$30 plus taxes & fees
$37 at the gate
Child (ages 5-12):
$14 plus taxes & fees
$17 at the gate
Children age 4 and under are always free.
Weekend Two Day Pass
Attendees will receive two tickets with the pass. One will be valid Saturday only and the other for Sunday only. The tickets are not available on Memorial Day Monday.
Adult (ages 13+):
$53.65 plus taxes & fees
$61 at the gate
Child Season Pass
Child (Ages 5-12):
$34 plus taxes & fees
$40 at the gate
For more ticket information or details in general, visit https://www.srfestival.com/ .