Our Timeless Journey Through Scarborough Renaissance Festival – 2018 Review

The Medieval era has returned to Waxahachie as Scarborough Renaissance Festival continues its annual spring session. There is something for everyone, whether you have never been or are a yearly visitor. This year Scarborough Renaissance Festival added tons of new content and vendors to their usual lineup. My family and I traveled there last week to see if it is as entertaining the second time around; after all keeping the attention of two toddlers is rather tricky.

A word to the wise, get there early and follow your GPS. We made the mistake of getting there about an hour after it opened and also took one exit too early, a mistake that would cost me about an hour of sitting on service road traffic. It was not necessarily a great start to the day but it is a testament to the festival’s popularity.

When we got here we happened upon the Birds of Prey demonstration as it was beginning. There is something about watching these amazing birds that makes it mesmerizing. The handlers told some facts about the birds, demonstrated falconry skills, and had several soar above the crowd in flight. My girls’ favorite part of the program was when they let the audience come up at the end to get a close look at the birds, take pictures, and ask the handlers questions.

The show ended just in time for us to catch the parade. Music played as dancers, royalty, executioners, and jesters all marched through the streets in their costumed glory. It was fun watching the diverse costumes and characters that made their way down the path.

While my intend was to focus on the new shows offered, our itinerary was a bit useless due to our late arrival so we just decided to play it all by ear. This is obviously not the best way to see everything but sometimes you just have to roll with it, especially when you have two active toddlers. We stopped to listen to a hard player for a bit then made our way over to some of the carnival style games. The kids threw beanbags at bottles, landing nowhere near the intended targets even after being moved up. However, the lady running the games encouraged them on and gave each a tiny trinket before we left. Nearby there was also a booth to throw tomatoes at a heckling target. We didn’t participate in it but I must admit that there was something enthralling about watching a loud-mouthed annoyance take a tomato to the face.

After our visit last year the girls insisted that we go see the mermaids again. We met up with several mermaids set in different scenes. My girls were eager to take pictures with them, talk, and even touch their magical tails. Each mermaid had her own persona and backstory that they were happy to share. The first mermaid gave each visitor a small seashell, something worth as much as buried treasure to a child.

The petting zoo was next on our list. Any time there are live unicorns little ones have to take a look. The petting zoo was actually pretty extensive. It included goats, rabbits, cows, chickens, bison, emus, llamas, and even a “zonkie” (zebra/donkey hybrid). The best part is that access allows you to enter the area as much as you would like throughout the day.

We had some time to kill before the final joust of the day so we wandered aimlessly around for a bit. We watched a stone carver explain his techniques and tools and walked over to the troll bridge where my children made necklaces with the trolls. This is definitely an area that you don’t want to miss if you have kids. They have tons of fun picking out their designs and the best part of it all is that it is free!

At this point we decided to let them have free reign of our schedule until the jousting match. We rode camels, elephants, a llama carousel, and even participated in a wooden horse joust. Our final destination before the last show was the crow favorite Cirque Du Sewer. For those unfamiliar with Scarborough Renaissance Festival this is a circus comprised of rats, cats, and a comedic human duo. I have to admit that I had almost no interest in the idea when we first came. However after seeing the show it has become one of our favorites, if not the most. We sat down with our orange Italian ice cream, served in an orange peel, and watched the spectacle. The show had actually changed from the previous year. While it still had a lot of the same guidelines they also introduced flaming hoop obstacles and fire swallowing.

The premiere match was set to begin shortly following the end of the show. Luckily we claimed a seat rather early because people were lining the fences and standing behind the seats by the time the jousting began. We were particularly excited about this portion since we were only able to make it to the first portion of the jousting games last time. After some displays of skill the chivalrous and evil knights faced one another in a fight to the death. Luckily for us, the good guys prevailed. When the match had concluded my girls were able to meet their new hero and take some pictures.

Time was dwindling and we searched to make a few final stops. The girls wanted to go to the petting zoo one final time and also take a spin on the man-powered gliding swings. This ride actually rivaled the mermaids as their favorite part of the day. With that, we trekked back to the entrance to conclude this year’s visit.

Yet again, Scarborough Renaissance Festival failed to lose its luster. We barely scratched the surface of all there is to do yet we spent almost an entire day exploring the grounds. That is probably what sets it apart from so many other events. Unlike the State Fair or traveling carnivals, they do not nickel and dime you. There are countless free activities for people of any age. Don’t get me wrong; you could definitely drop a fortune between all of the amazing crafts and extra experiences. Nevertheless, you will not feel the least bit disappointed if you choose not to. The workers and avid festival attendees known as “Friends of the Faire” are also top notch. Random people interacted with us throughout the day of their own accord. When my oldest was getting testy, Peter Piper came over to play a few games of hide and seek. When my youngest fell down on the way out, a member gave her a flower for being brave. Things like this are what make Scarborough Renaissance Festival so memorable. We are already looking forward to next year.

While our experience at the festival may be over this year, you still have time to attend before its seasonal conclusion. There are special events for Mother’s Day, a “Legends of the Seas” themed weekend, and of course The Last Huzzah on the final weekend. To learn more about these events or get tickets check out srfestival.com. Also, be sure to take a look at the photo gallery from our visit below!