Life + Arts

Medieval magic at the Texas Renaissance Festival

Musical merriment and 16th century enchantment greeted visitors who traveled from all across the nation to celebrate Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

The annual festival recreates a 53-acre English village, and plays host to all sorts of performers, artisans and shopkeepers, making it one of the largest renaissance festivals in the nation.

Clan Tynker, a group of traveling performers who take their family-friendly act that includes juggling, tight rope walking and sword swallowing across the country, performed at the festival.’

‘ ‘We always heard about the Texas (Renaissance Festival), and we always wanted to come here,’ Sam Tynker, a performer with the group, said.

‘We’re very excited to be here just because it’s one of the biggest (renaissance festivals) in the country,’ Rebekah Tynker said.

Each themed weekend brings different contests and performances, which is partially why the festival is so successful.’

Oktoberfest, which took place during the festival’s opening weekend, featured three contests to help get people in the mood for the German celebration.

A polka contest allowed visitors to dance to authentic Oktoberfest music. Later, visitors yelled until they were hoarse at the yodeling contest. After screaming their lungs out, visitors attempted to bust their belts at the bratwurst eating contest.

In addition to the themed contests each weekend, the Texas Renaissance Festival features many performing artists that run the gamut from family affair to purely adult entertainment.

Clan Tynker has performed at the Arizona Renaissance Festival for six years. This is their first year at the Texas Renaissance Festival, but they hope to participate in the festivities for years to come.

‘We love the interaction with different audiences,’ Sam said. ‘Every place we go and perform, it’s always a different feel to the show and to the people.’

For a more adult-oriented show, the performance put on by Sound & Fury had audiences rolling with laughter from the crude humor and parodies of Shakespearean plays they call ‘Fakespearean.”

Sound & Fury is a group that has been performing worldwide for about 10 years, and it has made nine appearances at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

‘ ‘Everyone recommended Texas as being the best festival because it’s the biggest,’ Sound & Fury member Shelby Bond said.’

‘And the naughtiest,’ fellow member Vinny Cardinale added.

Sound & Fury’s performance is for mature audiences, but the content did not seem to put off festival crowds, as The Odeon venue where the group performed was full.’

‘What we like about Texas is the enthusiasm of the audience,’ Cardinale said. ‘They’re totally with us. They want to support us. They want to laugh. They want to have a good time. Texas audiences are totally involved. It’s really awesome.’

Sound & Fury draws inspiration from Monty Python, the Marx Brothers, British comedy and Vaudeville-types of entertainment. The show itself interacts with the audience and includes them in the jokes.

‘We just like to go out there and have a good time,’ Richard Maritzer, the third member of Sound & Fury, said.

With an additional seven themed weekends to come-including All Hallows Eve, where a costume contest will be held for guests-visitors to the largest renaissance festival in the nation will have dozens of shows to watch and over 340 shops to choose from.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is located in Plantersville and is open every Saturday and Sunday through Nov. 29. They will also be open the Friday after Thanksgiving. Tickets cost $23 at the gate, but discount tickets are available in select locations. For more information on prices and themed weekends, visit

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