It's that time of year again, time for the Texas Renaissance Festival. — nine fun-filled weekends of visitors going to a rural area of Texas and pretending they live in another century. Although come to think of it, the early years of the Renaissance in Europe had a plague too (Black Death) so with us all used to living with the threat of COVID-19 these days, it should feel not all that different when the gates open this Saturday.
This year for the first time we'll get to see how many of the visitors so keen to dress up in all sorts of costumes will top that off with a different kind of mask — one that covers their nose and mouth.
Thanks to Gov. Abbott's statewide order, everyone on the grounds (with certain exemptions such as for children under 10) is supposed to wear masks. While the RenFest folks can certainly make sure that their staff, performers and vendors will be suitably attired, it's a little more questionable whether the festival organizers want to launch into full bore enforcement mode of their patrons. Extra masks will be on hand so if someone arrives without one, they can quickly acquire protective garb. And there will be mask free break zones to give mask wearers a rest.
How much the promise of a daily face mask contest will inspire anyone to mask up is still to be seen. The good news is that with most activities occurring outside, it may make it safer for people to be there. And RenFest folks promise constant cleaning of their facilities. After all, the last thing they want are reports that there have been a swell of positive coronavirus cases among people who've attended RenFest.
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Organizers, who are indeed anticipating a lot of festival traffic, recommend once again that visitors approach from the north.
As they counsel:
I-45: Northbound I-45, exit at SH 105 West in Conroe. Follow 105 to FM 1774 in Plantersville where you will turn left at the traffic light and head south. This will bring you to the festival gates for parking on your right.
SH 290: When traveling north on SH 290, Exit at SH 6 West towards Bryan/College Station, Exit at SH 105 East towards Plantersville. At FM 1774 in Plantersville turn right at the light to head south and you will arrive at the festival!
Once you are on the main roads do not follow alternate routes suggested by Google Maps, Waze, or other travel apps. Many local roads are closed to through traffic, and traffic attempting to get back onto the main roads creates additional congestion to the festival.
The 46th season of the Texas Renaissance Festival will open on October 3 and run through November 29, open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving Friday. Tickets are available at texrenfest.com, Groupon and H-E-B business centers. There will be no ticket sales at the gate except for members of the military, first responders, and those qualifying for student and senior discounts. Kids 12 and under will continue to get in free on Sundays.