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The North Pole is absolutely bustling with activity as Father Christmas, Mother Christmas, and all the elves get ready for the big day. But it’s Celtic Christmas at the Texas Renaissance festival, so they are taking time out to visit and finalize last minute Christmas wishes. Here are a few of the jolly elves you might find as you enter the village this weekend!

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Maria Christina Kringle Christmas (Mother Christmas) is the CMO (Chief Magical Operating Officer) and Sr. Vice President, Elf Relations for Christmas Town Inc., a division of North Pole Enterprises.  A scion of the famous Kringle family, one of the last toy makers to the king, she and her husband Nicholas are well-known in holiday circles and oversee the vast North Pole Enterprises holdings. While Nicholas is the face of the company, it is Maria Christina who keeps the empire running smoothly.

Moishe Menorawitz is New Market’s resident small miracle worker, here at the festival with his wife/lovely assistant Golda. They are taking a break from their usual miracle working to help their good friends and bridge partners, Mother and Father Christmas. Moishe and Golda love getting in the holiday spirit, even if they are having a hard time getting “Celtic Chanukah” to catch on.

Stich works hard all day long making spectacular clothing for all the children. She makes sure to visit all the centers of culture and the hottest runway shows to make sure all her designs are on fleek. Make sure you bring your favorite costume to the contest at 2 of the clock at the arena!

Agnes works in research and development. She helps to design everything from toys to sleigh enhancements. She prefers to be called Aggie as she is only called Agnes when she is in trouble, which is often. If you have any great ideas for toys be sure to find Agnes and she will sketch it out to take back and prototype at the North Pole!

Sugar and Spice make everything nice!! They are in charge of the production and distribution of all the candy here in New Market Village. They love to sing, dance and tell stories in their free time.

Crayon is a thoughtful artist who has a keen eye for detail and illustrates each Christmas card with passion. She can be found accompanied with her ferret friend, Cinnamon. Crayon also loves to play and sometimes dance.

Ichipop is a boisterous elf who loves wrapping paper and ribbons. This makes her perfect for making sure all of the Christmas presents are expertly wrapped. You will likely find her ribbons all over the festival. Her influence reaches from Italy to Spain and even England. The “secret” underground candy cartel is her true passion, though. Exotic chocolates and strange taffies find their way into Christmas presents all around the world….the first one is free…

Snail spends her days tending to the gardens and nurseries of the North Pole, ensuring all the poinsettias are the pointiest and the Christmas trees are in tip top shape for the season. Unfortunately, she has severe allergies to the the plants she works with so she always seems to be sniffling. But she always makes the best of it and hopes everyone will enjoy the work that her and her green thumbs have done to make Christmas the best time of the year!

Yukon Cornwilliam is the greatest prospector of the North! He has stumbled his way to New Market Village with his rag-tag band of Sled Dogs and his very own Baby Bumble! Together they are all here to strike it rich for Silver and Gold, but now he also assisting Mother Christmas and the elves with their peppermint mine operation.

Sparkle DeGlitter is finally in charge of decorations after so many years on probation. But when you’re a Transylvanian elf, you’re expected to be on the naughty list.

Peppy is like totally the cheerleader in the group. I mean she like spreads the Christmas cheer. You can totally come join and be part of her cheer squad we are always looking for noise-makers and woo girls to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in everyone’s hearts!

And Jingles…well…Jingles is just herself.

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All photos by Steven David, Houston Event Photos

It’s time to don your plaids and replenish your whiskey- Highland Fling is this weekend! And whether you can claim Scots heritage in truth or whether you claim it because it’s uamhnach (that’s awesome in the Gaelic) matters not, because we’re all ready for a ceilidh!

Meet the characters who will be ready to greet you and make your day the best:

The Bonnie Prince Charlie calls to arms all Scots to rise up for his father’s rightful place on the throne of England, Scotland, Ireland, and everywhere else that’s important. Prince Charles Edward Stuart is frequently referred to as “The Bonnie Prince” as he is well known for his charm, ambition, and ability to convince others to assist him, even against their better judgement. Charles acts from his heart, when he makes a decision there is nobody that can convince him otherwise. As a head-strong, tactical, man of nobility Charles plans to lead the Scottish Jacobite rebellion and make his name known in the future.

At his lordship’s side be the Countess Aylth Frasier, long time friend of the crown and independent business owner, who’s very proud of all her ladies.

A 007 spy and assassin for the Jacobite cause, Isabella MacKenzie, is a spirited young lass who has a overall hatred for love and all things girly, including her dress, and definitely doesn’t understand the overall concept of etiquette.

Robert Elspeth, Laird Toombs, has never been defeated on the field of honor, for he is a superior swordsman (and a dirty fighter.) He serves Prince Charles as his champion and trouble-shooter as a man of parts and many talents.

Clementina Walkinshaw has her eye on the prize: the Bonnie Prince Charles. She will do anything to stay on his arm as his mistress. Flirtatious, witty, and cute, Clementina knows how to use her feminine wiles to get what she wants.

Hamish (Haggis) MacGregor, piper to the House of Stuart, Hamish, likes long walks in the park, bagpipes, whisky and sheep, in that order. We don’t know where he came from; he either just showed up one day or came with the castle….we’re just not sure.

Lady Marian Ferguson, a huge Jacobite supporter, has her eye on the Bonnie Prince. However, her beauty, wit, and wealth mask a dark past which includes many deceased husbands (all who have died via “horrible accidents”…or so she claims).

Cael Leslie is an excommunicated Priest who has found his place on the battlefield. He was summoned specially by King James Stuart to recruit forces, train soldiers and otherwise aid Prince Charles and the Jacobite cause by any means necessary. Unfortunately, Cael’s uncontrollable thirst and excessive drinking thwarts any real success.

Kenneth Mackenzie has been appointed to Lord of the Grounds. He spends his time making sure that his guests are enjoying their leisure. Kenneth loves to dance! When he hears a fitting tune, he will happily join in the revelry.

Prince Henry, the Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brother, is a very bitter young man )even though he’s not interested in the crown) and takes an active part in the church. He feels that the bonny Prince gets too much attention and any chance he gets to challenge his brother the fight is always accepted.

Flora Margaret Rose MacKenzie MacDonald, Master at Arms for Bonnie Prince Charlie, is a close Family friend to the Bonnie Prince Charles and the Jacobite cause.

Katharine Wallace is the descendent of William Wallace and the royal seamstress to the Bonnie prince Charlie. She hopes to do her ancestor proud by helping the Stuarts take the English throne, and making clothes for kings and queens .

 

Photos by Steven David, Houston Event Photography

Heroes

Photo Credit Steven David

Our deepest apologies, those meddlesome villains somehow got the drop on this blog post, but they got caught up monologuing and were easily dispatched.

His Royal Majesty and his Queen have summoned some of the most powerful Heroes and Villains to do battle at the Texas Renaissance Festival for your enjoyment. Each team must compete daily in a Best of Five series for supremacy. The team that comes out on top will have their every wish granted. Choose your side.

–Heroes–

Bat

Photo Credit Clay Parker

Team Captain Black Knight is the best hero ever and definitely not Bruce Wayne

Merlin

Photo Credit Steven David

Merlin the Magnificent was summoned to advise the Black Knight and guide his team toward victory. His experience advising kings like Arthur have prepared him for all the worst the Villains have in store.

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Photo Credit Robert Self

Alice is still unsure why she’s here, where here is, and even occasionally who she is. Today (because she was a different person yesterday) she is the wandering whimsy that in the last moment comes out victorious, if entirely accidental. In the meantime, she will continue her research on dimensions existing outside of time and maybe trip on air and kill a monster or two.

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Photo Credit Steven David

Peter Pan is the boy who never grew up! Growing up is a trap! He would much rather go on adventures with his lost boys allied with the free people of Neverland to fight the pirates.

Dorothy

Photo Credit Steven David

Dorothy Gale is no stranger to foreign lands. She is excited to explore New Market and looks forward to making lots of new friends on this journey!

–Villains–

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Photo Credit Color Palette Photography

Team captain The Cat – The Queen of Crime, the Princess of Plunder, the femme fatale herself, in the fur. She’s no ordinary thief, she’s a spectacular one.

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Photo Credit Color Palette Photography

The Queen of Hearts is here to take heads and eat tarts, and someone stole her tarts! Listen for her screaming if you dare to seek her out.

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Photo Credit Michael Falgoust

Morgana Le Fay is High Priestess of Avalon, queen, wielder of great and powerful magic, sorceress of the highest pedigree. If you don’t like her, remember it is all Merlin’s fault.

Elphaba

Photo Credit Color Palette Photography

Elphaba Thropp ruler of Western Oz, widely and inaccurately known as the Wicked Witch of the West, is only seeking justice and what is by all rights her inheritance. She often wonders in what world are people who steal considered the Hero?

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Photo Credit Jeff Cohen

Captain James Hook is a gentleman pirate, summoned to bring a sharp wit and even sharper hook to the already formidable cadre of villainy. If you’re looking for a seafaring scoundrel with class, look no further.

H and V

Photo Credit Steven David

Villains 2

Photo Credit Steven David

His Royal Majesty and his Queen have summoned a representative sample of the most powerful Antagonists and ‘Heroes’ to do battle at the Texas Renaissance Festival for your enjoyment. Each team must compete daily in a Best of Five series for supremacy. The team that comes out on top will have their every wish granted. Choose your side.

–The Antagonists–

Dark Knight and Cat

Photo Credit Steven David

Team captain The Cat – The Queen of Crime, the Princess of Plunder, the femme fatale herself, in the fur. She’s no ordinary thief, she’s a spectacular one.

Red Queen

Photo Credit Steven David

The Queen of Hearts is here to take heads and eat tarts, and someone stole her tarts! Listen for her screaming if you dare to seek her out.

Morgan La Fey Captain Hook

Photo Credit Steven David

Morgana Le Fay is High Priestess of Avalon, queen, wielder of great and powerful magic, sorceress of the highest pedigree. If you don’t like her, remember it is all Merlin’s fault.

Captain James Hook is a gentleman pirate, summoned to bring a sharp wit and even sharper hook to the already formidable cadre of villainy. If you’re looking for a seafaring scoundrel with class, look no further.

Wicked Witch

Photo Credit Steven David

Elphaba Thropp ruler of Western Oz, widely and inaccurately known as the Wicked Witch of the West, is only seeking justice and what is by all rights her inheritance. She often wonders in what world are people who steal considered the Hero?

–The Meddlers ‘Heroes’–

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Photo Credit Color Palette Photography

Team Captain Black Knight, his sigil being a black bat on a yellow field, is nothing more than a rat with wings. It will be all too easy for The Cat to control this little pest problem.

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Photo Credit Jeff Cohen

Merlin the Magnificent is physically incapable of leaving well enough alone unless he is encased in a boulder. His involvement is the cause of innumerable catastrophes, proving that it is indeed all his fault.

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Photo Credit Pedro Mata III

Alice is the epitome of everything wrong with today’s youth. She is so entitled that she doesn’t even think of working hard to accomplish her goals, she simply waits to be presented with food and or drink to solve her problems!

Peter Pan

Photo Credit Steven David

Peter Pan is, perhaps, the most annoying child ever to have existed. After meeting this Pan, you will wonder how you ever thought Captain Hook was the Villain, and you might extend that same pattern of thought to other stories.

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Photo Credit Steven David

Dorothy Gale is no stranger to foreign lands. Watch out for your valuables and keep in close contact with your loved ones as she is a known criminal throughout Oz.

MEET THE GERMAN COURT

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Waiting to welcome you to a fantastic Octoberfest, the German Court will be hosting our first weekend of the season.

The long-suffering head of the German Court, Duke Johann von Cleves III is a loving husband and doting father. He is a fair-minded ruler who always seeks the via media in any dispute. He is frequently seen chatting with his chief adviser: the eagle head on his staff.

His wife, the Duchess Maria von Cleves is a quirky, inquisitive lady who loves to sing. Sibylle von Cleves is their eldest daughter. Although a princess,she is more likely to be found out in the garden, helping make her native Bavaria more beautiful. Princess Anne von Cleves is not content with merely being royal; she has set her signs on becoming a queen, no matter what it takes. Her ambition is matched only by her fierce competitiveness, which can be seen as she leads cheers at the Jousting Arena.

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The most outrageous, beautiful,talented, and crazy of her sisters, Princess Amalia von Cleves is madly in love with her jousting knight Sir Otto, but can still be seen stealing the heart of every man who crosses her path. Prince Wilhelm von Cleves is the Duke and Duchess’ only son. He is a studious soul with his head often stuck in the clouds. Princess Liesl Scharlachrot von Cleves is the youngest, and obsessed with finding the wolf she believes killed her grandmother.

 

 

Rounding out the court is Baronness Bernadine Munchausen, a vivacious, out-going teller of tales who has led a very adventurous life, which she will eagerly share. Helga von Ballbrech is a cousin to the von Cleeves, outgoing and sweet, but not  all there. She tends to live in her own little world. World-famous (at least in her own mind) opera soprano Gretchen Webber can often be heard with her beautiful voice raised in song.

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Finally, and very importantly, Hans is the renowned maker of Zeigenbock and winner of the annual “Hold My Stein, Watch This” competition and a master of the drunken martial art of Beer Chi. Come celebrate a Sparkle Party with him and his pladdle squad.

All of the Royal German Court are eager to welcome you to the “Best Octoberfest EVER” the weekend of September 30th and October 1st. Lift up your cares, and your stein!

 

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The most timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly court you will meet in New Market is undoubtedly the English. Um, French. Er, Frenglish? Englance? When you have the Doctor in your court, anything can happen! As a Time Lord, the Doctor has proven to be a very interesting addition to the festivities, and although desperate to find his Tardis, manages to entertain the court in his role as chief alchemist.

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Thanks to losing a bet to the king of France, King Henry VIII is taking care of several French princesses. The Princesses Madeleine and Margaret of Valois have come, with Madeleine sharing her love of dance in the lane near The Globe, and Margaret showing her martial spirit as she encourages her knight at the joust. They are accompanied by the beautiful (and rich!) Lady Vivienne LeBouff, who also enthusiastically leads her fellow Frenchies in supporting their side at the joust when not gossiping or spreading fashion advice.

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The English court of course revolves around their adored (or else!) sovereign, Henry VIII, by the grace of God King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the faith, and of the Church of England and Ireland in Earth supreme head. Whew. Having lost his beloved Jane, Henry finds himself once again a single man. Henry’s eldest child, Princess Mary, is once again in her father’s good graces, and is a gracious ornament to the court. Time will tell if she is able to stay in favor with her volatile father.

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His former in-laws, Sir John and Lady Margaret Seymour, keep a close eye on all the court doings, with John ever-ready to tell a tale of his exploits, and Margaret busy with planning for tea and watching their grandson Prince Edward. Alas, lacking a title, they will enlist visitors in their quest to receive one from Henry. Henry’s niece, Lady Margaret Douglas, has joined the court from her home in Scotland in order to spread her love of haggis, whiskey, and making fun of the French. She and  Henry’s former sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochford, will cheer for the English champion at the joust. Lady Rochford is well known for her love of merriment, and is always up for, how do you say, a good time.

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Lovely and ambitious, Lady Lucy Somerset  seems particularly interested in Henry’s search for a new wife. The wife of Henry’s physician, Lady Margaret Bacon-Butts, is an enthusiastic lover of all things bacon, and can be seen having a chin wag with Lady Seymour as they discuss the scandals of the day.

Clad in scarlet and busily marrying happy couples, the jovial  Bishop of Bath and Wells is often in procession with the joyful wedding parties as they parade to their marriage venue.

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Although most often found at Dance School, the brothers Howard, His Grace Thomas,  Duke of Norfolk, and his younger brother Edward come to visit their friends and family in the English court as often as they can. As Lord of the Dance, Thomas is called upon to help with court dances, while Edward is always up for a romp with his old buddy “Hank”, as he calls him.

Barring their attendance at a wedding, the hospitable English serve tea at 3:30 and invite all and sundry to come and sip some Earl Grey and nibble a Jammie Dodger.

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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.

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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!”