We have many, many faithful patrons who visit our fair village every year, some of them even visit multiple times within a single season. We love those folks!
But we also have many, many guests who will be visiting for the first time this year. We asked our “repeat offenders” to give their advice on how to make the very most out of your first Festival visit, and here is what they have to say to you:
- On a big attendance weekend, traffic can be a challenge. It is strongly advised that if you’re coming from the south, go ahead and drive the extra miles it takes to come in from the north. Highway 105 can be reached from east or west, and consistently has less traffic, both at arrival and exit times. It will save you time. Trust us on this.
- Wear comfortable shoes. We continue to be amazed at women who try to wear stilettos or high heeled sandals, or just people in general who don’t wear shoes that are really suited to walking in dust, pebbles, or heat. This park is really big. Really. Do yourself a favor and wear supportive, protective shoes.
- Plan ahead! We suggest you go to the website and check the entertainment schedule. Find the times and locations for the shows you want to see and make a plan. Don’t forget to leave time for games, rides, and shopping, if those are activities you want to participate in. Our app will also have the schedules, but cell phone service can be unreliable. So buy a program! It has a map and a list of all shows, shoppes, and menu items.
- Hydrate and wear sunscreen. Look, we know lots of folks come out to have a good time, and that might mean drinking alcoholic beverages. We do have a lot of great ones! But remember to hydrate, whether drinking alcohol or not. Whether it’s hot or not, but especially if it’s hot, drink a lot of water. Or try a pickle juice popsicle.
- Bring cash. While some of the food booths now take cards, cell service can, as we mentioned before, be spotty. It’s good to have cash as a back up. We have ATMs, but the fees are a little steep. Tip the entertainers. While they do have a base salary, they, like waiters in Texas, really do depend on those tips for rent and groceries. But if you can’t tip the entertainers, at least smile and say “Thanks.”
- Buy your tickets ahead of time. It’s cheaper and you get in the gate quicker.
- If you’re coming with kids: check show ratings in the program. Some shows are not appropriate for youngsters or those who are easily offended. A wagon is easier to maneuver than a stroller. There’s a little quiet, grassy space near the gardens at the center of faire, where you can take a breath and put the littles down for some crawl time. Put your child’s identifying info on them somewhere, or stop at the Info Booth for a tag.
- Many shoppes will hold your purchases for you until just before fireworks, or may even deliver them to the Info Booth, where you can pick them up on your way out.
- After a day of walking, stop at the massage booth near the joust arena (#501/502) and get a foot massage!
- Designate a driver.
- Take any ribbing that may come your way in good fun! Some of our performers are especially talented at poking a little harmless fun- kick back and have a laugh!
- And finally, a word from a one of our loyal patrons: “Slow down. Take in everything. So much sensory overload for first timers makes it easy to miss the special moments. Catch shows that interest you, but don’t rush to get from one to the other. There is so much going on around you that you’ll miss it in the rush. Get there early for a good parking spot and opening cannon. And stay as late as you can to watch the fireworks and take a Ghost Walk. And, if you feel it, camp and take it all in. Take in every moment.” Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good philosophy for every moment of every day, isn’t it: Take in every moment.
We hope to see lots of new faces this year. Feel free to stop and say hi to the folks in the Media Center, the Info Booth, the shoppes, or even the crowd of garbed up regulars in front of the pubs. I promise, we’ll give you a warm welcome and a hearty “Huzzah!”