Growing Up Rennie: Return To Plantersville

As promised, some friends and I went to the Texas Renaissance Festival last weekend, including my soon-to-say-sayonara BF. The good news: I didn't pee myself. The bad news: I'm not six years old anymore (but good because there's a much smaller likelihood I'll pee myself in general). What's bad is I don't enjoy things like I used to.

One thing that never gets old in any environment is people watching, and there's plenty of that to be had. There was lots of public intoxication (at 3:30 in the afternoon no less!), public displays of boobies, and various other strange things. For instance, we saw a guy wearing antlers, and he carried around a giant stick with a big collection of (contemporary) bras hanging from it. Sadly, I didn't get a photo. But I DID get a photo of random person in a blue body suit.

All the shows are exactly the same as they were when I was a kid. First we watched the Ded Bob Show, which I feel pretty meh about, and later we went to the Mud Show, which is still the shit. I can't hate on a couple of dudes who get paid to play in the mud and make people laugh; that sounds like a good time to me.

We drank and ate a lot throughout the day, but I never got really full or truly drunk. I recently started eating meat again after many years of vegetarianism, so of course we had to get a turkey leg. It was pretty gross. It started to get cold as it got dark, so we got cider and spiked it (yes we brought a flask ssshhhh). That was delicious.

The best part of Ren Fest is by far the fireworks. (They didn't have this when I was a kid.) I love fireworks, and the TRF has some of the best. It's completely worth hanging around until after dusk and having to sit through the horrible traffic when leaving. Don't ask me why (I know it's cheesy), but fireworks are thrilling and beautiful and remind me of how tiny I am in this incomprehensibly large universe and how very easily my time on this planet could end.

Conclusion: The place was a lot cooler when I was a kid--we didn't have to pay, we got to camp and play dress up and we didn't worry about anything. It must have been a giant money suck for our parents. Now it just seems like a place adults go to play dress up and drink all day. Good people watching, but it's just not worth the ticket price. In my childhood it was magical, and part of me resents growing up and growing out of it. I guess some people don't, bless their hearts. Wish I could go there.

(Emily Hynds is the artistic director and co-founder of Bootown, a Houston-based, non-profit theater group dedicated to creating fun, original, collaborative theatre using interdisciplinary methods in non-traditional settings.)

(The Texas Renaissance Festival continues weekends through November 28.)

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